It really is a dog's life

Puppy love: Seniors are pampering their canine companions

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'PART OF THE FAMILY': Geelong retirement village resident Halina Eadie with her miniature dachshund Tilly.

'PART OF THE FAMILY': Geelong retirement village resident Halina Eadie with her miniature dachshund Tilly.

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BIRTHDAY parties, beach getaways and a spot in our beds. We Aussies sure do love our dogs.

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BIRTHDAY parties, beach getaways and a spot in our beds. We Aussies sure do love our canine companions.

As dog lovers around the world celebrated International Dog Day this week, research shows our four-legged fur babies really are a pampered lot, with nearly half older Australians taking their hounds on holiday with them.

The research by animal health company Elanco found 45 per cent of baby boomers take their pet on holiday with them once a year, 42 per cent celebrate their dog's birthday with a party and one in three make home-cooked meals for their hungry hound.

Pet owners over the age of 74 are also most likely to get a dog for company and companionship, and they're also most likely to exercise their dog every day compared to younger dog-owners.

The survey also found seven out of 10 dog owners view their dog as part of the family and that more dogs are sleeping in their owners' bed at night (27 per cent) that are sleeping outside the home (21 per cent) - that's more than a million Australians sleeping with their dog every night.

Part of the family

Geelong animal lover Halina Eadie is dog-mum to six-month-old miniature dachshund Tilly.

"I believe having the companionship of a pet is incredibly important and has so many health benefits for older people, like myself. Tilly is now a part of my family - I can't imagine life without her," said Mrs Eadie who lives at Ingenia Gardens Grovedale retirement village with her friend Barbara May, mum to rescue poodle Pepper.

The pair recently put their baking skills to good use to raise vital funds for animals who have had a ruff start to life - hosting an RSPCA Cupcake Day afternoon tea to raise money for the charity.

"The RSPCA help to save and rehome so many animals in need and this fundraiser was the perfect opportunity for our community to come together and show its support," said Mrs Eadie.

Adopt not shop

Prospective dog owners are being urged to 'adopt not shop' for their new pet.

The NSW Government and RSPCA have joined forces to urge people to consider adopting a rescue dog from a shelter or council pound.

State Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock, said the worldwide celebration of man's best friend was the perfect time to welcome a rescue dog into your home.

"I encourage anyone thinking about welcoming a dog into their lives to visit an RSPCA shelter, a NSW council pound, or one of the many approved rehoming organisations across the State to rescue an animal in desperate need of a home," Mrs Hancock said.

"As an incentive for people to adopt rescue pets, the NSW Government continues to provide half-price lifetime pet registration fees.

"Since 2015, 43,000 pet owners have saved a total of nearly $1.2 million in reduced pet registration fees."

Mr Coleman said the RSPCA cares for more than 45,000 animals across NSW each year with its Yagoona facility alone responsible for 15,000 cat and dog adoptions annually.

"If you have decided that you have the time in your life to care for a fur baby, then consider adopting from an RSPCA shelter first," Mr Coleman said.

"By doing this, you are not only giving a dog or puppy a second chance but we can match you with the perfect pet for your family situation."

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