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ROAD TO RECOVERY

LAURA BLACK


MELBOURNE PET AMUBULANCE

ROAD TO RECOVERY

Laura Black


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Melbourne Pet Ambulance:

Road to Recovery Introduction This is Julie Flint and her husband Ken; together they own and operate a 24-hour 7-day a week service called Melbourne Pet Ambulance (MPA) providing emergency transport for sick or injured animals. Julie is a qualified emergency veterinary nurse and prior to starting MPA worked for over ten years in private practice. As well as the pet ambulance, Julie also runs a charity called MPA Rescue and Rehab which is a rescue, rehabilitation and adoption service for dumped, orphaned and unwanted companion pets. Julie dedicates her life to rescuing these animals so that they are not euthanized in shelters and have a chance to find their forever homes. Julie could not do this without the unconditional support of her husband Ken who works a nine to five job as well as helping with the ambulance and rescue and rehabilitation service. This book documents just some of the amazing work that Melbourne Pet Ambulance and the MPA Rescue and Rehab rehabilitation service does in a week. It also gives you a glimpse into the lives of the selfless couple behind these organisations.

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On Monday morning at 4am Ken arrives home after a fourteen hour drive to Mildura and back to collect twelve puppies from two different litters that have been surrendered by farmers. The puppies, four kelpie crosses and eight labrador crosses would most likely have been shot if they had not been rescued. Thanks to the efforts of Julie and Ken they will have a chance of being adopted to loving families

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Once the puppies arrive they are transferred to a quarantine area where they will spend the next two weeks. This is a because there is a chance they could have viruses like Caine Parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that can result in the death of puppies. Julie is very diligent about quarantine protocol. A virus like parvo can stay in the ground for seven years and this would have dire repercussions for MPA Rescue and Rehab and their ability to rescue dogs. Scrub gowns, pants, gloves and gumboots are worn and disposed of or washed in bleach each time you enter the area. It is very like scrubbing up for a surgery at a hospital.


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Profile: Kayla

Breed: English Staffordshire Terrier Sex: Female Age: approx. 5 Years Old Kayla is an English Staffordshire Terrier around five years of age. Sadly, her owners surrendered her to the Mildura Pound after they failed to treat her chronic ear infections and her ears were dripping blood on their carpet. The pound contacted Julie and she instructed them to take her straight to the vet to get treated and she would pay the bill. The news was not good. Because Kayla’s owners had failed to treat the ear infections she was now facing surgery. Since then, Kayla has come down to Melbourne to live with Julie and her family and has undergone a bilateral ear ablation. A bilateral ear ablation is a surgical procedure involving the complete removal of the diseased ear canal. Kayla’s entire right ear has been surgically removed and closed due to the severity of the infection.


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Kayla required medication everyday mixed in with her food and SuperHeal topical ointment from Augustine Approved applied to her ears. She has recently seen her specialist at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital and it was feared that she might have to undergo another major surgery to remove and close her left ear. The news was good however and she has been given the all clear for the time being. Kayla is a sweet and affectionate dog despite everything she has been through and now that she is not in pain she is happy and playful. Currently she is in foster care with some of the Melbourne Pet Ambulance volunteers and she is seeking a forever home.

Š JULIE FLINT

Š JULIE FLINT


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Every morning at around 11am the twenty or so cats and kittens who reside at Melbourne Pet Ambulance need to be fed, watered and their litter trays and pens cleaned. There are three large cat pens located away from the house as well as dog pens in a quiet area of the property. Each of these pens holds between four to six cats or older kittens that are all looking for their forever homes. These cats have come from pounds all over Victoria, such as Mornington and Mildura and some have even come from hoarding situations. They range in age from as young as three to four months and up six to seven years. MPA Rescue and Rehab also has another fifteen or so cats in foster care with MPA carers.


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Monday afternoon Julie has a call out to transport a twelve year old German shepherd called Monty. Monty and his owner need to get from their home to the vet at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital. Monty’s owner does not have a car and used to walk Monty everywhere however now this beautiful old dog is suffering from arthritis and can no longer walk to the vet. He has a check up every month and is on medications to help with the arthritis.


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Later on monday afternoon when Julie returns home from transporting Monty she has to clean out the pens of the twelve puppies that are in quarantine. These puppies get fed and the pens cleaned out at least four times a day. Each time the quarantine shed is entered scrub gowns; pants, gloves and gumboots are worn to prevent the spread of any viruses that may be present. This time spent in the quarantine shed also gives Julie a chance to get to know the new puppies. The four kelpie cross siblings are around seven weeks old and are bigger and more boisterous than the Labrador cross puppies of which there are three girls and one boy. The smaller Labrador cross puppies are around six weeks old and all look very similar. They all have their own personalities however, there are three boys and five girls.

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Profile: Brodie

Breed: Bullarab X Pointer Sex: Male Age: approx. 5 Years Old Julie adopted Brodie from a dog rescue group called Starting Over Dog Rescue about three years ago when he was around two years old. At the time Julie was looking for another dog for herself as her great dane had passed away. She came across Brodie’s profile online and even though she was told he was dog aggressive and that the rescue group where having trouble placing him in a home Julie still wanted to give him a home. Brodie is now a gentle giant but is very much the top dog at MPA. He is the boss of all the dogs but really he is just a big softy who can often be found lounging on his trampoline, taking up most of the couch inside or curled up on the smallest dog bed he can find. Brodie was one of the first rescue dogs Julie ever owned and he was part of the inspiration that sparked Julie’s ambitions to start her own rescue group.


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The twelve Pups from Mildura have now completed their two weeks in quarantine and have now been let loose in the garden. They will be living in Ken and Julie’s house until they are able to find their forever homes. These are the Kelpie cross puppies from left to right Mango, Gidget, Cooper and Coco.

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The Lab cross puppies are also happy to be out of quarantine There are eight pups that look very similar so they have colour coded paper collars with their names and puppy number on them. Their names are Brax, Beau, Rex, Angle, Jessie, Heaven, Cleo and Nell. Melbourne Pet Ambulance Facebook followers who donated a $25 sponsorship fee were able to name a puppy. This money helps out with the cost of mirochipping, de-sexing and vaccinating each puppy before they can be rehomed.


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After a good play it is time for dinner and a puppy nap!


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Tuesday afternoon brings another ambulance call out to a cat that has hurt its hind leg and needs to be transported to the vet for an owner who cannot drive. The vets at Casey and Cranborne Veterinary hospital attend to the seven year old cat “Mimmi� She has a torn cruciate ligament and will need to rest in a crate for at least two weeks to try and allow the ligament to heal on its own otherwise she may have to have surgery to repair the ligament or worse still, amputate the leg.


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Profile: Chase

Breed: Great Dane cross Mastiff Sex: Male Age: 8 months Chase was a puppy that came to MPA in November 2013 at around six weeks old with his seven siblings. They were all desexed, microchipped and vaccinated and in December they were all adopted out to loving forever homes. Unfortunately for Chase his family decided to surrender him to the Mornington Pound after only four and a half months of ownership. This is the first time this had happened to one of over 250 animals Julie has adopted out and she was understandably very upset by this. The adoption contract Chase’s family signed at the time of adoption stated that if for any reason they needed to surrender the dog that he must come back to MPA. Thankfully, Chase was surrendered to the Pound with his MPA adoption paperwork and the pound contacted Julie and she was able to collect him. Chase has since found an amazing forever home with a new family who love him to bits and regularly update Julie on Chase’s adventures. He even has a fur sister!


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It is Tuesday evening and Julie has started to prepare the paperwork for an upcoming adoption.


Š Casey & Cranborne Veterinary Hospital

Lamb Chop Before Resuce:

This is Lamb Chop, possibly a poodle maltese cross; she was surrendered to MPA by her owners in a terrible state. Her fur was completely matted, dirty, covered in fleas and had been left out on the street all day.

Lamb Chop After Resuce:

She was clipped and washed and having now been de-sexed, mirochipped and vaccinated is ready to be adopted! This little cutie had over ten meet and greets with potential families. Julie picked the most appropriate family for her where she is now loved to bits and very spoilt!

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Dinnertime at MPA. Everyone helps when it comes to the rescue animals including Julie, Ken and their daughter Britney.


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It is Tuesday Night and there is just enough time for a quick sit down after dinner before the ambulance phone rings again for another transport. This time it is a young male beagle.


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Profile: Riley

Breed: Domestic Short Hair Sex: Male Age: 2 years Riley was rescued from the Mornington Pound with his mother who has since been adopted. He is a beautiful grey tabby cat and loves other cats. He is a little shy around people and takes a while to get used to you but would be very happy to find his forever home.


Profile: Rusty

Breed: Domestic Medium Hair Sex: Male Age: 7 months Rusty was born in the Mildura pound and came to MPA with his mother and siblings when he was six days old. He is a sweet, playful and cheeky kitten and loves nothing more than a good cuddle. He is always purring and is happiest to see you in the morning when he and the other cats get fed and have their pens cleaned. Rusty along with his brother Garfield and mother Pam are still looking for their forever homes. Julie likes her cats to be adopted in to indoor only homes as they are less likely to get lost or hurt.

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Wednesday morning is an early start at MPA as the lab puppies are getting de-sexed. They are dropped off at Casey and Cranborne Veterinary hospital.


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The nurses look after them until they are prepped for the surgery. Dr. David Guest performs a flawless and very quick spaying on Heaven while vet nurse Kim monitors her and implants her with a microchip. After the surgery is complete Heaven is moved to a pen where Kim waits for her to wake up from the anaesthetic before they can take the breathing tube out of her throat.


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Wednesday afternoon and Julie returns to Casey and Cranborne Veterinary hospital to collect the Lab Puppies after their de-sexing. They are sleepy and very hungry, as they were fasting prior to the surgery.


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Š JULIE FLINT

Julie arrives home in time to feed the puppies before a family visits to adopt one of the bigger kelpie pups, Coco. She will have a loving home with lots of attention, exercise and a fur brother!


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© JULIE FLINT

Profile: Pete

Breed: American staffordshire terrier Sex: Male Age: 20 months This is Pete, also known as “Little Pete”, he is an American Staffordshire Terrier that was found dumped in a plastic bag in a dumpster at Box Hill TAFE when he was only a few hours old. Cleaners at Box Hill TAFE heard noises coming from the dumpster and would not give up looking for the tiny pup. They called MPA and Julie rushed to come and help, eventually they found him with the placenta still attached. Little Pete just after he was found Pete was freezing and Julie tried to keep him warm down her top while she rushed him to the emergency vet where he was warmed up. He was given very little chance of survival due to his rough start to life. But just look at him now! Julie hand raised him feeding him every few hours for weeks on end. Pete is now just over one and a half years old and has just come back from 21 days of doggy boot camp training where he learnt some manners. Pete can now sit and drop until he is told he is allowed to move and is also learning to ignore other dogs.

Little Pete is now 18 months old and not so little


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Pete can now sit and drop until he is told he is allowed to move and is also learning to ignore other dogs.


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Thursday morning is puppy playtime at MPA. The labrador puppies are quieter than their older kelpie friends.

Julie is teaching the kelpie pups some manners and treats are given to those who have learnt to sit.

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A good feed and lots of playtime results in very sleepy labrador puppies.


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On Thursday afternoon the farrier visits to trim the horses’ hooves to make sure they don’t get overgrown and painful.


Julie has two horses at MPA and before she started MPA she would ride everyday and participate in competitions. Unfortunately, being on call with the ambulance 24 hours a day leaves very little time for anything else but Julie still loves her horses and enjoys looking after them.

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It is Friday morning and Julie has an unpleasant job to do. Julie has to scan a deceased dog that was found on the road for a microchip. This poor papillon is found to have a chip so Julie has the hard task of notifying his owners so they have closure and are able to make arrangements for his cremation or burial.

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Ken arrives home from work and gives his personal dog Bella, the blue healer cuddles when the ambulance phone rings yet again. This time it is an emergency, a greyhound with a suspected broken neck in a park.

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Friday night Julie and Ken rush to attend a greyhound that has run into a fence at a park and has a suspected broken neck. Ken will come to these sorts of cases when he can as Julie needs someone to help keep the animal still when it is being carried and to drive the ambulance while she monitors the animal in the rear of the ambulance.


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After arriving at an animal emergency centre Julie and Ken very carefully unload the injured greyhound from the ambulance. It is very important to keep his neck still incase he has a broken or damaged neck.


Julie talks to the veterinary staff at the emergency centre about what happened and what the dogs’ heart rate was on the way in. She then talks to the owners and fills out paperwork while the vets run tests and take x-rays of the greyhound.

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Saturday mornings involves a trip to Pakenham to visit Pakenham Produce and Saddlery. They are a great support to MPA as they run an account for Julie and allow her to pay it off with donations from the MPA donation tin in store. They also have a donations basket so people can drop donations off instore. Julie sets up a stand and spends the morning talking to people about the ambulance services. The animals never go without the things they need thanks to Pakenham Produce and Saddlery and while Julie answers ambulance calls Ken is on standby to go to any call outs.


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Saturday afternoons are busy and Julie and Ken attend to call out after call out. Most of them are just transports, the first of which is a young female bull arab cross. With just enough time for a quick coffee before the drive home. The next call is a small Pomeranian cross


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Saturday night is an exciting night at MPA. Another of the twelve Mildura puppies is off to their forever home. Heaven, one of the labrador cross puppies is off to live with a mother and son where she will be sleeping on their beds. She will be part of the family in no time!

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Sunday morning is another early start at MPA. The Dog Lovers Show is on at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton and MPA has had a stand at the three day show. Julie uses the show to showcase one of the two ambulances and educates the public about the services they provide.


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Julie and Ken worked very hard in preparation for the show. Volunteers needed to be organised, the second ambulance had to be at the ready for callouts and arrangements were made for the animals to be looked after back at at MPA.


Here are some of the wonderful volunteers manning the ambulance for the weekend. Sharon and Gary are not only volunteers but also foster carers for around fifteen of MPA’s younger cats. Kayla has come along to the show too!

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It is Sunday evening after a long day at the Dog Lovers Show and there is no time to rest, as there is another ambulance call out to attend to. This time a member of the public has called about a feral cat with a suspected broken leg caused by a catfight. Julie and Ken have to be very careful as the cat is in pain and completely feral. Large gloves and a crush cage are used to make sure Julie, Ken and the cat itself are safe. It is a hard task to catch a feral cat so Ken is very pleased with himself. Unfortunately as the cat was feral and it was found to have a badly broken hind leg it was humanely euthanised at an animal emergency center.


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Š JULIE FLINT

After arriving home at 2am there isn’t even room for Julie in her own bed. And before you know it is Monday morning and the week starts all over again.


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Acknowledgements:

Firstly I would like to thank Julie and Ken Flint as well as their daughter Britney for welcoming me into their lives and allowing me to document the Melbourne Pet Ambulance. They have put up with me hanging around their family home for the greater part of three months and arriving at various times of the day and night. I would like to thank my RMIT tutors Rob and Jessie for their input into this book and their guidance along this journey. I would also like to thank all of the MPA clients, volunteers and foster carers who let me photograph themselves and their animals. I would also like to make mention of and thank Casey and Cranbourne Veterinary Hospital who are a wonderful support to Julie and Melbourne Pet Ambulance and allowed me to photograph the surgeries of some of the MPA puppies. Thank you also to Pakenham Produce and Saddlery who let me photograph their store and staff. They provide Julie and MPA with everything they need for the animals and without this help Julie would struggle to run Melbourne Pet Ambulance and MPA Rescue and Rehab. Without this assistance it would be very difficult for Melbourne Pet Ambulance and MPA Rescue and Rehab to help all the animals they do. Thank You.

Please note: Some of the five of the photos in this book are archival photos and were not taken by myself but taken by Julie Flint or members of staff at Casey and Cranbourne Veterinary Hospital. ŠLaura Black 2014


ŠLaura Black 2014


Melbourne Pet Ambulance - Road to Recovery