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Entries Open from 3 May to 31 July 2021

We have 10 categories in the Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2021.  Categories 1 – 8 are for the industry, that is, rescue groups, animal shelters, council-run animal shelters, and other organisations that are improving companion animal outcomes and welfare.  Category 9, the People’s Rescue Story is for pet adopters and category 10, the Foster Carer Story is for foster carers. Each category is listed below.

You can edit your submission for categories 1-8 anytime even after you click on ‘submit’ until midnight on 31 July AEST.  Check out Get prepared with our sample questions and our tips for a winning entry for industry categories.  Please note the entrant submitting an entry for industry categories 1 – 8 must be a representative of your organisation who has sufficient knowledge of its operations, such as a manager or senior employee. Entries will be assessed by our panel of judges. Please note there is NO VOTING. For more information about the Rescue Awards, check out our FAQs. Check out the fabulous prizes for each category!

1. Outstanding Rescue Group

This is for Rescue Groups also known as Community Foster Care Networks who have been operating for over 36 months.  The Judges are looking for Rescue Groups who have made a positive impact on the outcomes of the animals in their care. Rescue Groups provide temporary care for pets from shelters, council pounds, or surrenders in people’s homes.  A Rescue Group may have an overflow facility such as a kennel or cattery to hold animals temporarily.  Rescue Groups may use a third party for example pet retailers and cafes to offer animals for adoption.  Rescue Groups seek permanent homes for pets in their care.  Foster carers have a very important role in providing rehabilitation and care for animals ensuring they have the best chance at being rehomed.  Entry is by Rescue Group self-nomination.  The person submitting the nomination should be a manager or senior employee/volunteer from the Rescue Group who has sufficient knowledge of its operations.  Terms and Conditions. Get inspired and check out the 2020 winner of the Outstanding Rescue Group award, Greyhound Rescue NSW.  All valid entries receive one FREE membership to Vet Product Direct VPD Club valued at $64.95 and enjoys up to 40% off.

The judging criteria covers these areas:

  1. Governance and Compliance
  2. Animal adoption and Customer Service
  3. Animal intake prevention and Rehabilitation
  4. Planning and Sustainability
  5. Staff and Volunteers
  6. Collaboration

2. Outstanding New Rescue Group

This is for Rescue Groups who have been operating 12 – 36 months who have made a positive impact on the outcomes of the animals in their care.  Also known as Community Foster Care Networks, Rescue Groups provide temporary care for pets from shelters, council pounds or surrenders in people’s homes.  A Rescue Group may have an overflow facility such as a kennel or cattery to hold animals temporarily.  Rescue Groups may use a third party for example pet retailers and cafes to offer animals for adoption.  Rescue Groups seek permanent homes for pets in their care.  Foster carers have a very important role in providing rehabilitation and care for animals ensuring they have the best chance at being rehomed.  Entry is by Rescue Group self-nomination.  The person submitting the nomination should be a manager or senior employee/volunteer from the Rescue Group who has sufficient knowledge of its operations.  Terms and Conditions. Get inspired and check out our 2020 winner, Liberty Foundation. All valid entries receive one FREE membership to Vet Product Direct VPD Club valued at $64.95 and enjoy up to 40% off.

The judging criteria cover these areas:

  1. Governance and Compliance
  2. Animal adoption and Customer Service
  3. Animal intake prevention and Rehabilitation
  4. Planning and Sustainability
  5. Staff and Volunteers
  6. Collaboration

3. Outstanding Animal Shelter

This is for charitable animal shelters that have made a significant positive impact on the outcomes of the healthy and treatable animals in their care as well as proactively implemented strategies to reduce intake. Animal shelters take in and care for surrendered, lost, injured, stray or unowned companion animals for the purpose of rehabilitation and rehoming.  A shelter is likely to be located on a single site with room to house multiple animals and must have all relevant Council permits. Entry is by Animal Shelter self-nomination.  The person submitting the nomination should be a manager or senior employee/volunteer from the Animal Shelter who has sufficient knowledge of its operations.  Terms and Conditions. Check out the 2020 winner of this award, Cat Haven WA. All valid entries receive one FREE membership to Vet Product Direct VPD Club valued at $64.95 and enjoy up to 40% off.

The judging criteria cover these areas:

  1. Governance and Compliance
  2. Animal adoption and Customer Service
  3. Animal intake prevention and Rehabilitation
  4. Operations planning and Sustainability
  5. Staff and Volunteers
  6. Collaboration

4. Outstanding Council Animal Shelter

This is for council-run animal shelters/pounds who have made a positive impact on the outcomes of the healthy and treatable animals in their care as well as proactively implemented strategies to reduce intake. Council run animal shelters adopt out animals in their care to the community.  Entry is by Council Animal Shelter self-nomination.  The person submitting the nomination should be a manager or senior employee/volunteer from the Council Animal Shelter who has sufficient knowledge on its operations. Terms and Conditions. Get inspired and check out the 2020 winner, Shoalhaven Animal Shelter. All valid entries receive one FREE membership to Vet Product Direct VPD Club valued at $64.95 and enjoy up to 40% off.

The judging criteria cover these areas:

  1. Governance and Compliance
  2. Animal adoption and Customer Service
  3. Impounded animals, Intake prevention, and Rehabilitation
  4. Operations planning and Sustainability
  5. Staff and Volunteers
  6. Collaboration

5. Innovation in Companion Animal Welfare and Management

This category has changed its name from ‘Innovation in Rescue’ to ‘Innovation in Companion Animal Welfare and Management’.  This category is open to Rescue Groups, Animal Shelters, Council Animal Shelters, Veterinary Clinics, and other organisations/individuals who are doing things differently to improve animal welfare and outcomes. You may be an organisation that supports rescue groups and animal shelters by providing donated products and services. You may be an organisation that provides crisis foster care or an organisation that provides veterinary support for the disadvantaged/homeless people. Entry is by self-nomination.  The person submitting the nomination should be a manager or senior employee/volunteer who has sufficient knowledge of its operations.  Terms and Conditions. Get inspired and check out our 2020 winner of this category, Central Coast Animal Care Facility. All valid entries receive one FREE membership to Vet Product Direct VPD Club valued at $64.95 and enjoy up to 40% off.

The judging criteria cover these areas:

  1. About your organisation/initiative
  2. Issue that needed to be addressed
  3. Aims/goals of your program or campaign
  4. Methods used to implement your program or campaign
  5. Outcomes achieved including evidence

6. Community Education and/or Outreach program

This is for Rescue Groups, Animal Shelters, or Council Animal Shelters that have made a significant impact on implementing a new education or outreach program that changes behaviour and improves animal welfare and outcomes in the community.  Entry is by Rehoming organisation self-nomination.  The person submitting the nomination should be a manager or senior employee/volunteer from the Rehoming organisation who has sufficient knowledge of its operations. Here are helpful hints for this category.  Terms and Conditions. Get inspired and check out the 2020 winner of this category, Camden Council. All valid entries receive one FREE membership to Vet Product Direct VPD Club valued at $64.95 and enjoy up to 40% off.

The judging criteria cover these areas:

  1. About your organisation
  2. Your program’s focus, the issue that needed to be addressed
  3. Your Program aims/goals
  4. Your Program methods
  5. Your Program outcomes and evidence to support your answers

7. Volunteer of the Year

This is for an outstanding team member who volunteers for a rehoming organisation (Rescue Group, Animal Shelter or Council run Animal Shelter). The volunteer must reside in Australia and be 18 years or over. A self-nomination by the volunteer is ineligible. The nominator and the nominee (volunteer) must have been working at the rehoming organisation for 12 months as of 3 May 2021.  One volunteer per entry. You can enter more than one volunteer from your organisation for this award but they must be individual entries. The Judges are looking for a volunteer who is well supported by their organisation. Find out more about the judging criteria for Volunteer of the Year.  Terms and Conditions. Get inspired and check out the 2020 winner of this award, Shelley Tinworth, Greyhound Rescue NSW. All valid entries receive one FREE membership to Vet Product Direct VPD Club valued at $64.95 and enjoy up to 40% off.

The judging criteria cover these areas:

  1. Volunteer’s role and motivation for joining the Rehoming organisation
  2. Rescue/shelter or personal challenges overcome by the volunteer
  3. How the volunteer collaborates with internal and external stakeholders
  4. The volunteer’s personal contribution to the Rehoming organisation

8. Refuel Creative Digital Marketing Award

The name of this award has changed from last year to better reflect the focus is on digital marketing. This award sponsored by Gold Rescue Partner, Refuel Creative is for Rescue Groups and Animal Shelters.  These organisations improve the welfare outcomes of companion animals in their community. They use digital marketing (website, eDMs, social media) in creative, effective and innovative ways.  They have incorporated digital marketing in their operations to improve efficiency and sustainability, for example, using their website and social media to increase fundraising and drive pet adoptions.  You must be able to demonstrate not just the reach of your digital marketing, but also effectiveness. It’s not about the size of your followers.   Your organisation may have thousands of followers, but the judges are looking for evidence of a positive impact of digital marketing on your operations including pet adoptions.  Entry is by self-nomination. The person submitting the entry should be a manager or senior employee/volunteer who has sufficient knowledge of its operations. Terms and Conditions. All valid entries receive one FREE membership to Vet Product Direct VPD Club valued at $64.95 and enjoy up to 40% off. 

The judging criteria cover these areas:

  1. About your organisation
  2. Use of digital marketing to manage your operations
  3. Use of digital marketing to drive pet adoptions
  4. How you have used digital marketing to improve animal welfare outcomes in the community
  5. Overview of one digital marketing program/campaign that has made the biggest, positive impact

9. People’s Rescue Story

Have you adopted a pet? Share your story with the nation, and show Australia how pet adoption changes lives for the better! This award is for Aussie pet guardians aged 18 years and over who have adopted a companion animal such as a cat, dog, or another pet. Include a photo or a 1 – 2 minute video.  Please read the Terms and Conditions.  Get inspired and check out the 2020 winner of this award, Kate O’Donnell and her remarkable dog, Wolf. Every entry receives a 3 months FREE pet insurance offer from Pet Insurance Australia and a $20 gift voucher from Vet Products Direct.

10. Foster Carer Story

Have you foster or do you foster a pet? Share your story with the nation, and show Australia how foster care changes lives for the better! This award is for Aussie pet guardians aged 18 years and over who foster a companion animal such as a cat, dog, or another pet for a rescue group, animal shelter, or veterinary clinic. Include a photo or a 1 – 2 minute video of your foster pet.  Please read the Terms and Conditions. Get inspired when you read the story of our 2020 winner, Rachel and Sass. Every entry receives a 3-month FREE pet insurance offer from Pet Insurance Australia, and a  $20 gift voucher to purchase Bayer products from Vet Products Direct.

Does your organisation meet the criteria for categories 1 – 8?

  • Entrant is 18 years or over
  • Entrant should be a manager or senior employee/volunteer from your organisation who has sufficient knowledge of its operations
  • Reside in Australia
  • Have been operating for at least 12 months (as of 3 May 2021)
  • Must be able to demonstrate a not for profit purpose (except for Council run animal shelters)
  • Rescue, rehabilitate, rehome or support companion animals. These animals include but not limited to: cats, dogs, horses, guinea pigs, chickens, rabbits, rodents, ferrets, reptiles, and birds.

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