Opening Hours

  • Most Days: 9am - 5pm
  • Wednesdays: 10am - 5pm
  • Viewing of Animals - Daily: 9am - 4pm      
  • Sundays and Public Holidays: CLOSED

Lochie's Story

lochie on day 1 covered in matted hair

standing lochie scared dog with matted hair just newly brought to the shelter after being seized by the inspectors

matted hair showing the neglect lochie had endured

lochie's claws were so long they curled inside his paws

his eye had been irritated for so long it was causing infection and blindness

large facial matts hung heavily from his eyes

after his haircut the pile of hair was as large as lochie

My name is Sarah Pilbeam, and I’m a Veterinarian for RSPCA ACT.

Thank you for saving the lives of innocent animals. As a valued supporter, you have ensured that RSPCA ACT is here to help unwanted, abused and neglected animals.

Your ongoing support is vital for our Shelter to continue to assist the thousands of animals we see each year. You help us keep our gates and arms open to those in need. We’d like to invite you to become an Animal Ambassador by becoming a monthly donor. Ongoing donations mean that we can focus our attention where it needs to be the most – the welfare of animals in our community and their ongoing care.  

As a Veterinarian at RSPCA ACT I can tell you exactly how important the gift of a donation is. When I arrive at the Weston Vet Clinic each day, I never know what my work will entail. What I do know is that it’s only because of people like you that I can walk into the clinic every day and make a difference. You are a vital member of our team.

The purpose of this letter is to ask for your ongoing support. Can you make an ongoing donation to help us continue our work?

But, this story isn’t about me – it’s about the animals in our care. It’s about animals like Lochie.

Our Inspectors received a call regarding a badly matted dog living in an unkempt and overgrown yard. Lochie was essentially discarded - an apparent inconvenience and an embarrassment for his current owner.

He was surrendered into the care of our Inspectors and brought straight to the RSPCA ACT Vet Clinic. Before I ever met Lochie I smelt him. His giant mop of dirty hair oozed a strong repugnant smell. He was placed upon the stainless steel examination room table where he tried to roll his body into a small defensive ball - frightened and hiding from the world. With gentle hands and reassuring words I examined him.

Animals like Lochie require a significant amount of treatment. Ongoing donations allow us to continue to care for animals no matter how long they’re in our care.

He hung his head and looked at his small paws. He looked exactly how you would expect. Like the weight of his sadness was so heavy he could barely move. His matted fur was some of the worst I had ever seen. So severe, that the fur around his eyes caused him extreme pain and to lose vision in his left eye.

Severe matting can be extremely painful and can even cut off blood supply to extremities. In extreme cases like Lochie’s, matted fur prevents moisture and oxygen from reaching the skin and can even create open sores - the perfect environment for parasites to grow. He desperately needed to be shaved. There was no doubt that it was going to be an immense job.

Without your support, animals desperately in need of care would continue to suffer.

It took nearly an hour to untangle and shave Lochie from the build-up of years of dirt, grass seeds and faeces embedded in his fur. The procedure to remove his matted fur was difficult and tiring for all involved. Thanks to the help of our wonderful vet nurses, Lochie started to look like a dog again. He needed some time to recover from his massive makeover before we could further exam his eyes.

A few days passed and already we could tell that he was feeling better. Although our goal was to try and do everything to save Lochie’s painful and blinded left eye, we determined that removing it was the only reasonable solution to avoid ongoing pain for the rest of his life. Finally the time came to perform the surgery. It took approximately an hour and a half to perform the much-needed removal.

During his recovery I could instantly tell that he was slowly becoming the dog he was always meant to be. Without the pain of his eye and the weight of his fur, this once cowering dog was coming out of his shell. His exuberance and smile was utterly infectious.

An ongoing donation helps us continue to treat severely neglected animals in the ACT like Lochie.

Lochie’s condition would have continued to deteriorate. His health and welfare, already poor, would have eventually lead to his death

...until we stepped in, supported by you.

Lochie recovered from his surgery under the loving care of RSPCA ACT staff. Its stories like his that make the long hours and the sometimes heartbreaking moments worth it. We’re doing more than just saving lives – we’re transforming them.

Your donation will make it possible for us to transform the lives of many animals, not just Lochie’s.

Our job is never done. We see so many animals come into the Shelter needing care. What keeps us going back each morning is the knowledge that everyday we’re making an impact. You allow us to create happy endings. Everyday we’re changing the lives of animals and the lives of the people that adopt them.

You already do so much, and we are so thankful for your support. Can we ask you to become an Animal Ambassador by donating regularly? Can we continue to rely on you to help us change the lives of Canberra’s unwanted, abused and neglected animals?

Please don’t delay. Donate today. I can’t tell you how much it will mean to the animals we treat every day of the year.

With warmest thanks in advance for all that you already do to keep us going,

Sarah Pilbeam

RSPCA ACT Veterinarian


lochie and sarah after his eye surgey was a success