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Northcott Pet Day bridges divides 

Hosted by the Surry Hills Public Tenants Association and sponsored by the RSPCA NSW, the City of Sydney, Crookwell Veterinary Hospital, University of Sydney Veterinary Science Faculty and Family and Community Services, Northcott Pet Day is held in recognition of the importance of companion animals in people’s lives.

Over 700 people attended the day, drawn in by the colourful flags and bunting, the smell of the BBQ and the sight of hundreds of creatures large and small.

Volunteer veterinary students, with oversight from qualified vets, provided free pet health checks, worming and flea treatments to over 264 animals, including 236 dogs, 25 cats, one budgie and two rats. There were also opportunities through the City of Sydney for pets to receive free microchipping and bookings for de-sexing. This record crowd takes the number of pets receiving free pet health checks over the past nine years to over 1,700.

As well as health checks, there were goodie bags, pet tag engraving, a dress up photo booth, stalls and even flyball demonstrations – a canine team sport where dogs of any breed, shape or size compete by leaping over hurdles to grab a ball against the clock.

While Northcott Pet Day was established to support the social housing tenants whose low income may have made access to vet checks difficult, the day has always been open to the whole community and is seen as a wonderful way to bridge the divide that sometimes exists between the estate and the rest of Surry Hills. “I believe pets are the universal equaliser,” said one attendee on the day.

There is uncertainty around next year’s event as Ward Park won’t be available. The park will be used as a CBD and Eastern Suburbs Light Rail construction compound for the next four years.

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