SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: 3 May 2021: Coronavirus isolation led to a surge in pet adoptions over the past year, saving thousands of animal lives. The Companion Animal Rescue Awards returns for its fourth year to celebrate and inspire rescue groups and animal shelters who have made an impact and continue their efforts in saving companion animals.

The Rescue Awards is Australia’s first and only national awards program for hard working rescues, shelters, foster carers and passionate pet adopters. The program is managed by Pets4Life, an independent education resource for cat and dog guardians and those thinking of getting a pet.

At a celebration with guests from Greyhound Rescue, 2020 Outstanding Rescue Group winner, the Rescue Awards welcomed Pet Insurance Australia as the new Platinum Rescue Hero and Naming Partner. The program is now called the ‘Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2021’.

“The Rescue Awards is absolutely delighted to welcome Pet Insurance Australia as our new Naming Partner,” said Cathy Beer, pet adoption advocate and founder of the Rescue Awards and Pets4Life.

“Pet Insurance Australia is one of our wonderful founding Supporters, right from the start in 2018. Pet insurance is critical to ensure pets receive top quality veterinary treatment and care. This fine Australian family-owned business brings an international reputation for excellence and a caring approach to their customers seeking pet insurance.”

The mission of the Rescue Awards is to celebrate and acknowledge achievements in the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of companion animals in Australia. It is the platform to showcase excellence and innovation, thereby raising the standards of rescue groups and animals shelters nation-wide.

“The Rescue Awards shines the spotlight on thousands of heart-warming stories from pet adopters and foster carers about how their adopted/foster pet has transformed and changed lives,” said Cathy.

Every year, approximately 190,000 pets remain unclaimed in Australia’s pounds and shelters, and thousands of volunteers support over 1,000 rescue groups and animal shelters across Australia¹. The Rescue Awards recognises the dedication of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to help rescue pets find homes.

“Our past winners and finalists say the recognition by the Rescue Awards gives their staff and volunteers the motivation to ‘keep calm and carry on’ re-homing surrendered and abandoned pets every day in a challenging environment,” said Cathy.

In 2021, the Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards is building on the success of 2020 when over 1,000 entries were received.

Returning as the Rescue Awards Ambassador is Lara Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer, Animal Welfare Advocate, author of ‘Eat, Play Love your Dog’, Host of Channel 10’s Pooches at Play and features in Channel 9s The Pet Rescuers. Lara shares her enthusiasm for the Rescue Awards in her video message.

Pet Insurance Australia Spokesperson Nadia Crighton said, “Pet Insurance Australia is thrilled to be the Platinum Rescue Hero and Naming Partner for the Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards for 2021.”

Ali Osmani, Pet Insurance Australia CEO, said, “After supporting these important awards for the past four years, it’s a great honour to continue our support in a larger capacity. We encourage Australian rescues and shelters who work tirelessly to rehome, rehabilitate and foster pets of all shapes and sizes to enter and get the recognition they deserve.”

Cathy also revealed this year’s Judges, Categories, Supporters and Prizes, and thanks animal lovers across the country for helping to make a difference by adopting or fostering a pet.


 The Rescue Awards 2021 has 10 Categories with one winner for each category.

Award categories 1 – 8 are for industry. Category 9, the People’s Rescue Story’ is for Aussie pet guardians who have adopted a pet and category 10 is the Foster Carer Story’ for foster carers of companion animals waiting for their forever home.


  1. Outstanding Rescue Group
  2. Outstanding New Rescue Group
  3. Outstanding Animal Shelter
  4. Outstanding Council Animal Shelter
  5. Innovation in Companion Animal Welfare and Management
  6. Community Education and Outreach Program
  7. Volunteer of the Year
  8. Refuel Creative Digital Marketing
  9. People’s Rescue Story
  10. Foster Carer Story


 The Rescue Awards is thrilled to announce 21 judges who bring expertise in companion animal welfare, rescue and sheltering, veterinarians, compassion fatigue, digital marketing and animal behaviour.

The Rescue Awards wishes to thank the judges for donating their time and expertise.

  1.   Tim Vasudeva, Director of Corporate Affairs at Animals Australia
  2.   Nell Thompson, Coordinator for Getting 2 Zero
  3. Emeritus Professor Jacquie Rand, Executive Director & Chief Scientist, Australian Pet Welfare Foundation
  4.   Vickie Davy, Co-Founder & joint CEO of PetRescue
  5.   Dr Anthony Bennett, Veterinarian, Equine Dentist & Royal Easter Show panelist
  6. Dr Joanne Righetti, PhD Animal Behaviourist, Pet Problems Solved
  7.   Dr Vanessa Rolf, Compassion Fatigue Therapist
  8. Brooke Rankmore, CEO at Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC)
  9.   Jona Osmani, Operational Manager, Pet Insurance Australia
  10. Dr Anne Quain, Animal Welfare Veterinarian
  11. Anne Boxhall, Animal Welfare Advocate with 28 years’ experience in sheltering and rescue
  12. Barbara Hodel, President of the Pet Professional Guild Australia
  13. Diana Rayment, Shelter Supervisor at Second Chance Animal Rescue
  14. Ryan Jones, Founder and CEO of Refuel Creative
  15. Brittany Bloomer, International TV Presenter and Founder of charity Pound Paws
  16. Annette Hughes, Publisher of Where Pets Are Found
  17. Stacey Gadway, The Pet Diaries Managing Director
  18. Andrew Grill, Pragmatic Futurist, technology trends and the digital world expert
  19. John Kim, Founder and CEO of Silverquest Consulting, Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) Board Member
  20. Nadia Crighton, Pet Insurance Australia spokesperson
  21. Cathy Beer, Founder of Pets4Life and the Companion Animal Rescue Awards

Full bios and photos of the judges can be found here.


Enter online from 9am on 3 May to close midnight on 31 July 2021 AEST.

To enter, visit and follow the links.

Here are what some of our 2020 winners and 2021 judges have to say.  Watch here.

For updates on the Rescue Awards program, please visit, sign up to the e-newsletter or follow the Rescue Awards on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.