The tireless efforts of a local handmade dog treat charity has helped make a significant difference for animal shelters in the Shoalhaven.
Donating 100 per cent of the proceeds to the Shoalhaven Animal Shelter and the Almost Home Rescue for Animals with Special Needs in Sussex Inlet, Amanda Mackay makes the healthy dog treats from her own kitchen.
"I've got a lot of friends in rescues and there's so many dogs and animals in need out there, and the majority of rescues just run out of donations," said Amanda.
"So whatever I sell, I donate 100 per cent back to the shelters."
Selling most of the treats at local markets, Amanda uses the proceeds to pay a portion of dogs adoption fees, and also takes them on "spoil days."
"We go down quite often and pay off $200 off the adoption fees of three or four dogs, then we take one out to the beach for the day and we go get them a new lead and collar," she said.
"I've had people message my Facebook page and say 'thank you so much, the donation enabled us to adopt this dog.'
"And that's what it's all about. You're saving a dog from the shelter and helping them get their new forever home."
The supervisor of the Shoalhaven Animal Shelter Jody Parnell said Amanda has contributed around $6000 towards adoption fees.
"I worked out the other day she has paid nearly $6000 towards animal adoptions," Ms Parnell said.
"She's made a difference for so many people, as well as the animals. People who may not be able to afford a $354 adoption fee, she's given them the ability to adopt and then put the money back into the animal they've adopted."
On top of working three jobs, Amanda said she makes the treats whenever she can find time, and that it feels more like a passion instead of another job.
"After working three jobs, I've got to try and find the time to do all the baking. And I always go to the markets which usually fall on a Sunday and I always do night shift on Saturdays, so I usually go along having no sleep," she said.
"My jobs help fund paying for the ingredients so that I can do my true passions, which is this on the weekends."
"Some weeks I think, 'oh my goodness, how am I going to squeeze in this baking?'
"There's been a few all nighters and really early mornings, but it's definitely worth it."
The director of the Almost Home Rescue for Animals with Special Needs Jools Becket said the charity has helped her take on more animals.
"I truly don't know what I would do without her now. Her help means I've been able to take on more rescue dogs into care than I normally would," Ms Becket said.
"She is one of the most beautiful, humble, and absolutely selfless people I have met."
Having volunteered at an animal shelters herself, Amanda said the idea for her natural dog treat charity came to her at a market.
"I used to volunteer for another rescue and one day, we were at a dog event. There were some cupcakes for sale at our stall and people asked if they were for dogs," she said.
"And I thought to myself, 'there's obviously a market for it, maybe I could do some for the next event and help raise some money that way.'"
A win-win for all parties - the natural treats are a healthy alternative to store bought food for pooches, made with ingredients like peanut butter, pumpkin, tuna and eggs.
All Natural Home Made Dog Treats by Amanda can be found at the Kiama Seaside Markets and the Huskisson Markets, or on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/allnaturalhomemadedogtreatsbyamanda/
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