With its premiere on Channel Nine at 4pm, Saturday 6 March, The Pet Rescuersoffers a perfectly timed boost to flagging morale. This 10-part doco seriespromises to melt hearts, raise spirits and restore faith in humanity as itfollows the daily adventures of a team on a mission to give abandoned pets asecond chance at a happy life.

“Each year in Australia, a quarter of a million dogs and cats are put down,due to overcrowded pounds and shelters”, says Marisa Debattista, who leads theteam at Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCAR) in Melbourne. “It’s a tragic cyclethat we’re determined to end.”

Rescuing cats on death row, bottle-feeding kittens, performing life-savingsurgery and rehabilitating neglected dogs, before finding them new homes areall in a day’s work, at the outer suburban shelter, where no fur baby in needis ever forsaken. “As long as there’s a chance they can be nursed through to ahealthy, happy life, we won’t give up on them,” assures Marisa.

Not even a global pandemic could slow down these champions of the underdog(and cat). “They became Covid-safe warriors overnight,” says producer EuanJones. “Taking surrenders in the car park, doing outdoor vet consults,delivering free pet food to owners in need .”

Filming during Victoria’s second lockdown brought an unexpected upside to theproduction by Silverfox Network. “We had to scale down so much that manyscenes featured just one person and an animal and had to be shot on a gopro,”explains producer Gillian Bartlett. “The result is fabulously intimate. Eachcharacter (both two- and four-legged) shines through and every interactionbeautifully illustrates the warmth and depth of the bond between them.

While The Pet Rescuers title may seem to refer to the humans in the story,SCAR member Megan insists it could be read another way. “I think animals aremuch more resilient than we are,” she explains. “As long as they’re loved, aslong as there’s food, animals bounce back so quickly. They teach us so muchabout survival, sometimes it feels as though they are actually rescuingus.”

The Pet Rescuers Premieres on Channel Nine Saturday 6 March at 4pm

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