It was a freezing cold day at Rochford Winery in Coldstream. It was quite ironic that we were there to remember the one million plus animals that were lost in the bushfire’s that started on the hottest day on record for Victoria.
I was met by some RSPCA workers and a couple of very friendly Labradors when I arrived. I was surprised to see quite a few people had brought their dogs along for the day, a lot of whom were wearing their own Drizabones and Weatherbeeta jackets.
As we were shown to our seats and were waiting for the ceremony to start, a woman called Bridget A’Beckett sang as she played the piano, and some photos of the animals affected by the bushfire’s were shown on the screen. I was, as usual, struggling to contain my tears, and was extremely grateful when a lady from Dogs Victoria sat next to me. We started chatting, allowing me to regain some composure.
Tracey Bartram was the MC for the event and did a fantastic job, even while her dog, (whose name eludes me), called out for her from the lap of his babysitter in the front row.
We were officially welcomed by Maria Mercurio, CEO RSPCA Victoria, and there were quite a number of speakers, the majority of whom had lost a lot in the bushfire’s, including their animals, and were reading beautiful poems as tributes to them.
Dr Hugh Wirth was next with his speech, thanking all those involved with the Bushfire Relief Effort. TREW was mentioned, as well as TREW Secretary Tanya, for her fantastic work in helping owners relocate their horses to safety. Dr. Jude was also given a lovely mention, and the RSPCA thanked her for her dedication and professionalism. Sammi also received acknowledgement for her work at the TREW Whittlesea Relief Centre.
One highlight for me was the photo slide show presentation with New Zealand singer – Tu Ua Houkamau singing “You raise me up”, as a tribute to all the welfare organisations and volunteers who did all they could in helping the animals and their owners affected by the bushfire’s. During the song there was literally not a dry eye in the house, the song combined with the photos of some of the animals being helped by volunteers just tugged at all our animal loving heart strings.
The RSPCA had also set up two native trees on the stage, and everyone was invited to write their messages of support to those who lost their animals. The cards that were written on contained seeds of some native trees which were going to be planted in the bushfire areas to help restore some of the trees that were burnt out in the fires.
It was a lovely tribute to the animals lost and I was very glad I went on behalf of TREW.
Vice President – T.R.E.W