Jayne Hooper’s car was full to the brim this week after the Yass Community banded together to donate large amounts of pet food, winter dog coats, and pet linen to a rural dog rescue shelter. “It was a bit like playing Tetris packing it all into the car, but we did it,’ said Jayne. As of last month, the rescue shelter has 34 puppies in its care and will accept any pet food, especially puppy food, that can be donated. The shelter rescues dogs from dangerous rural situations such as backyard breeders and is run by a mother and her son team who do everything out of their own pocket. Backed by the Yass Community, Jayne donated 400kg of dog food to this shelter and paid off their $4,500 vet bill.

A fraction of the food donated by the community

Jayne Hooper described what first motivated her to start collecting for homeless or rescued pets. ‘It was cold, I was lying in bed at night thinking about homeless people, and their pets. I’ve always collected for different things and I thought about pets of the homeless people in Canberra, so I decided to put out a request on Facebook for some dog coats,’ she explained.

Many coats were distributed at Pets in the Park events

Alongside Bev Rose, Chelsea Rose, and Charlotte Darby, Jayne has spurred the Yass Community into action for various animal-related causes, including making donations to Vinnie’s Night Patrol, Iron Dog rescue, Rainbow Paws, and Vine Food Bank Yass.

“I didn’t know Bev when I first started this and now she’s become a really good friend, we are so, so alike and I couldn’t have done it without her,” said Jayne.

During one appeal for donations, approximately 150 dog coats were collected to be distributed to dogs owned by the homeless in Canberra. Many of them were distributed at Pets in the Park; an event run once a month where homeless people or people on a low income can go to receive vet treatment, pet food, dog coats, and many other things needed for their pets.

All warmed up – coats, leads, bedding and food distributed at Pets in the Park

“Yass and Murrumbateman people are amazing, I’ve lived here 17 years now, and they just always step up,” Jayne said.

“We had blankets, towels, endless amounts of puppy food, additional dog food, we had a really big dog crate donated to us— they’re really expensive— flat pack crates for dogs and cats, pet toys, it was endless.”

On Saturday, Jayne and her team also donated dog coats and food to Helping Hands for Heroes, who help the refugee community and others in the community who are struggling. One of the donations Jayne received included baby items, which she donated to this organisation as well.

Jayne has been raising money, collecting donations, and helping people and animals for a very long time. Over the past year, she ran barbecues at the Murrumbateman Rural Store to raise money for local horse rescue and, during the drought, to aid farmers in buying feed for their animals. 

‘We’ve always rescued dogs, especially dogs that have had a hard life. I’ve had a couple of rescued horses. I think if you have an affinity with them, that’s it, you can’t help yourself,’ said Jayne. ‘I do like helping people, and I’m very, very grateful that we have the life that we do to be able to help people, especially right now with how many people are doing it hard.’

As well as providing practical help to the animals of Yass, Canberra and surrounding areas, Jayne regularly reminds locals on social media to contain pets, ensure contact numbers are on collars, and keep pets safe during storms or firework events in order to reduce instances of lost, frightened, or injured domestic animals. Jayne Hooper encourages community members to reach out to her on Facebook or call her on +61 408 369 525 to learn more about her work or donate pet supplies or money. 

Southerly Jones