It goes without saying that we are passionate about animal welfare at Heads & Tails Pet Care Services!
We're very conscious of the fact that, while we spend our days caring for Australia's most well-loved dogs, there are thousands of cuddly canines (and fabulous felines) sleeping rough in shelters, awaiting a better life with their forever families, as they richly deserve. During their time in the pound, these animals often go without the supplies our dogs take for granted: toys, treats, and cushy bedding to name a few.
Put simply, impounded creatures don't "live" - they merely "exist".
Many people turn a blind eye to homeless animals because they are simply too heartbreaking to think about... which is why it is so inspiring to meet someone who stares this issue down the barrel, and vows to take it on as their very own personal mission.
We were so excited to chat to RSPCA Ambassador, fundraising legend, and all-round canine crusader, Poppy Frances, who is making waves in the pet industry and changing it for the better!
Hi Poppy! Great to meet you. Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Poppy Frances, I’m 20 years old and live in Melbourne, Australia. I am originally from rural Victoria so growing up on a farm definitely encouraged my love for animals. I am currently studying Health Science at university and have been a commercial model since I was 13 years old.
Now tell us a little about your pets!
I have a beautiful Shetland Sheepdog named Bree. She is 9 years old and I adopted her a year ago when she retired as a show dog. She is absolutely adorable, so loyal and just the best thing that ever entered my life! She is like my shadow and follows me everywhere. I am hoping to adopt another pup around her age in the next coming months to give her a friend. Adopting older dogs is really important to me as puppies are always adopted as they are small and super cute- however people forget that older dogs can still love you just the same- perhaps even more.
We couldn't agree more! How old were you when you realised you were an animal-lover?
Growing up on a farm, I was always around animals. I have memories from when I was younger, collecting the baby lambs and holding them in the back of the ute as my Dad mustered the the sheep up the road, and waking up before it was light to feed the orphaned calves whose mothers died at birth. My first dog was a Jack Russell named Buster followed by a Border Collie named Heidi- who were both gorgeous!
What's your favourite activity to do with Bree?
Bree loves doing absolutely anything as long as it’s with me- whether that be going to the dog park or beach.
All animals are individual - tell us something unusual about Bree!
Bree sneezes when she gets excited- so as soon as I grab the lead and we begin walking out the door she starts her continuous sneezing fit and it’s adorably hilarious.
Give us your top 5 must-have items for every dog owner?
A Sebastian Says lead or collar: if you haven’t seen this brand, check them out on Instagram. They make the most beautiful macrame leads and personalised collars- I cannot get enough!
Greenies Dental Chews to ensure your pups teeth and gums are clean and healthy!
A Kong Toy: Bree doesn’t really like toys, but dogs I’ve had previously would go crazy for these and occupy them for hours.
Nootie Daily Spritz for Dogs: oh my gosh! This spray smells AMAZING. I use the Japanese Cherry Blossom on Bree every day and people always comment on it!
Portable water bottle so that you can hydrate your pup wherever and whenever!
What inspired you to start fundraising for the RSPCA?
When I was 11 years old I witnessed an horrific and traumatising act of animal cruelty towards my two German Koolie pups by my next-door neighbours! I adopted the pups from the RSPCA and I knew they were massive advocates for putting an end to animal cruelty so I thought it was the perfect organisation to collaborate with and raise funds for.
That's terrible - but so amazing that you were inspired to make such a positive difference. How did your fundraising efforts go?
A month after the cruelty incident against my pups, I fundraised for the RSPCA Cupcake Day and to my surprise I actually raised the most money in Victoria! It was really rewarding to turn a negative experience into something that was going to help make a change. This year though, I collaborated with Flowers By Brett Matthew John and Nine Bakery on a cake stall for Easter for the RSPCA which was incredible! As well as Cupcake Day in August, where I sold cupcakes with Deploy The Sprinkles at Long Story Short Cafe in Port Melbourne.
What a brilliant effort! Ok, this might be our hardest question so far: what are your top 3 favourite cupcake flavours?
This is soooo hard! Perhaps Chocolate, Vanilla, and Red Velvet.
What's your vision for animal welfare in Australia?
I believe that all animals deserve love, affection and care. It really breaks my heart when I hear horrendous stories of animal cruelty and puppy farms. I would love to put a stop to animal cruelty altogether and I honestly believe this can only be done through awareness and stronger punishments placed on people who do so. I strongly believe that pet shops should be banned from selling animals. The conditions in which I’ve seen some of those facilities are disgusting and the animals are generally purchased from puppy farms/mills, who leave the animals unvaccinated, unsocialised, underfed and without clean sleeping areas. They are basically bred for reproduction without any love or care and I think that’s devastating.
How can other people help animals in need, like you have?
The RSPCA does an excellent job in raising awareness and funds for animals in need as well as rehoming thousands and thousands of animals great and small every year. You can donate by heading to their website.
The RSPCA also holds many fun events throughout the year such as The Million Paws Walk and Cupcake Day!
This festive season I am running a Christmas Toy Drive, where I am collecting toys and other pet supplies for the animals still waiting to be adopted and find their forever homes. For cats we are collecting small soft toys, mice, balls - anything that moves really! For dogs we are collecting squeaky toys and plush toys.
Thanks so much for your time, Poppy! We'll be sure to share your contact details so that our readers know where to send their toy donations!
Best of luck for your Christmas Toy Drive and keep up the wonderful work!
To donate to the RSPCA Christmas Toy Drive, please contact Poppy on email@example.com or phone 0477 555 852 to organise the items to be picked up or sent to the closest drop off point.