The three trolley-loads of pet food and toys which awaited Tina Pacey outside Big W on Tuesday provided her with one of the few moments of relief in recent weeks.
It had been an exhausting year for the local branch of Animal Welfare League NSW (AWLN), and things were only expected to get worse.
"We're at capacity now. We're saying to people 'We can't help you'. We've got foster carers going away, our welfare officer is going away, so during that week [over Christmas and New Year] it's going to be tough," Ms Pacey said.
Despite the fact they were overflowing with animals, the rescue was so short on volunteer numbers they couldn't start processing adoption applications until the new year.
"In the last week we've had 19 puppies surrendered. We've had two adult [dog] surrenders. We have people ringing us saying they can't find anywhere for their animals and want us to take them," the president said.
"We've had to suspend all surrenders until we get [more] foster carers... We need more foster [carers].. We can't even help people who are homeless."
The hundreds of dollars worth of food and toys from Big W's animal-loving staff would help the small charity in their uphill battle to get through the Christmas period though. The three trolleys which were all overflowing with donations left Ms Pacey feeling "warm and fuzzy and a bit teary".
The huge annual donation to the rescue was spearheaded by the Orange store's manager, Rodney Cole, and came entirely from Big W's animal-loving staff who contributed out of their own pockets. One employee alone donated $200 to the cause, Mr Cole said.
"He does this every year for us. He's a big dog-lover," Ms Pacey said. "We're at full capacity now so this [donation] means a lot."
Mr Cole said the store's Christmas drive for the local charity started several years ago over concerns he had that animal charities tended to be overlooked at this financially trialling time of year.
"There's a lot of charities you hear about who [look after people] but our furry friends are forgotten about sometimes," Mr Cole said.
"I don't know why people get animals if they're going to give them away," he added. "They're family members."
For more information about volunteering or donating to AWLN Orange visit the charity's Facebook page or contact 0420 758 607.
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