A true animal hero

A true animal hero

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Burt Volunteer Youth Award winner Dean Morris with his dogs, Hooch and Otis. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen.

The passion for animal welfare and the energy he has to do something about it, has seen 17-year-old Dean Morris receive another accolade at this year’s Burt Volunteer Awards.

The local founder of Give Our Strays A Chance (GOSAC) – an organisation that raises awareness and donations for stray animals and rescue groups, didn’t even know he was nominated for the Youth Award.

But it turns out one of his followers, Jean Wilson, nominated Dean earlier last month and it was member for Burt Matt Keogh who shared the good news.

“At the award ceremony there were so many amazing volunteers and deserving people and I was honoured to be amongst them,” he said.

“It actually makes me quite proud to have so many incredible volunteers in our communities.

“For me, it means that I get more opportunities to raise awareness of rescuing animals and animal welfare.”

Dean Morris was the first person Ms Wilson said she thought about when nominating him for the award, as he has been really busy with operations at GOSAC.

He has also helped at RSPCA’s “pets at risk” program, assisting homeless people feed and care for their pets.

And since the Thornlie boy never stops, he also took part in numerous fundraisers, markets and events – all to raise awareness and provide help to rescue groups.

“GOSAC is snowballing and has become multifaceted,” Dean said.

“I have been collecting and transporting more donations than ever.

“My crate at Forest Lakes has been very successful thanks to people leaving some food for the strays while they shop.”

While COVID-19 was at its peak, Dean partnered with Animal Rescue Cooperative (ARC) and Petbarn Foundation for the Act of Kindness project.

They delivered pet food, pet beds and medicine for struggling families throughout WA. And while the health crisis brought much uncertainty to the local community, Dean said it had a mixed effect on animal rescue groups.

“Many animals were rescued which was awesome, people who were homebound adopted companions and the kennels were pretty empty,” he said.

“On the other hand, remote rescue organisations were stranded and needed urgent help.

“So, I had to come up with a plan, and I started Operation Narrogin- where I found an amazing family with a special permission to cross the borders.

“So many were involved and donated, so we could get the help needed for the remote communities.

“It literally saved so many strays lives.”