The Rescue and Rehoming service has been a core part of the Association's work since inception.  In 2011, a special fund called the Bess Fund was established to be able to help Murray River Retrievers in need.  (You can read the Bess story further down this page)

It is run as part of the work of the Association as set out in the purposes of the assocation to operate on the following four principles:

a. Prevention: This includes the promotion of responsible breeding practices to limit the potential for dogs and puppies being discarded.
b. Supporting owners in enabling them to keep their dogs.
c. Providing a matching service. Matching dogs who are in need with people who are looking for MRR’s.
d. Rescuing dogs in kill shelters

Over the years there have been many dogs who have lived a wonderful life due to the volunteer efforts of the Committee and the Rescue/Rehome Officers. We work hard to ensure every rehome has a fairy tale ending (or at least a dog-waggy-tail ending).


Part 1 – All about the Dog

For all rescue/rehomes, as much information is found out about the dog, its condition and the reasons for the surrender.

The dog is assessed for any health, well-being and training requirements and any necessary treatment is provided. 

A different program is then determined for each dog depending on their assessed needs. The rehoming program undertaken is determined by the behaviour, mannerism and personality of each dog to establish the best outcomes.


Part 2 – Identifying the New Fur-Ever Home

If rehoming a dog is something that you are interested in doing, we encourage you to register using the form below. There are quite a few questions to answer which we use to assist us to match the right dog to the best new family possible. – I am sure you understand.

Some dogs do better in homes on their own, while others are happy with the company of other pets, some are good with children, others prefer a quieter time. Some dogs benefit from more space and others from being close by. The better these are matched, the happier both the dog and the new family will be.

Once we know the needs of the dog, we would review our list of registrations and based on your situation being suitable, you will be contacted. If you are identified as a possible new home, we will trial the dog with you for a week to see whether the matching is a good fit. This trial is particularly important if the new home already has young children and other pets.

All new Fur-ever homes will receive complete paperwork and a wonderful new family member. You will also receive complimentary membership of the Association for 12 months and lifetime registration of the dog.

It was the view of the Association, when the Bess fund was established, that for all Murray River Retrievers that needed new homes, the cost of rehabilitaton and rehoming them would be borne by the Bess Fund. This has been operating now for almost as long as the Association has been around. 

To support this work, (which includes paying for veterinary care, transporting dogs for assessment and to new homes, food and bedding on an ongoing basis), a portion of every single and family membership of the Murray River Retriever Association Inc is transferred for the direct benefit of the Bess Fund.

In addition, we appreciate any additional support that our members and other supporters provide in the way of additional contributions to the Bess Fund to support this ongoing necessary work.


In Honour of Bess

In January 2010 the Townend family bought a female puppy and named her Bess.

Sadly on 27th January 2011 aged only 7 months Bess ran onto the road and was killed. The family made a wonderful donation to the Murray River Retriever Association Rescue fund, and in recognition of this the Rescue and Rehoming Fund became known as the 'Bess Fund'

This poem was contributed at the time by her owner Christine Townend



You are still beside me,
Looking, smiling at me,
Your amber eyes defiant, loving,
A dancing gnome inside, wise, laughing, lost,
Surprised to be here,
wondering why people walk, and there is earth.

Bess2But you are not here.
You died on the road, just hours ago,
Under the wheel of a passing car,
Blood from your mouth on the grass verge.

I will never believe you have vacated.

I cannot leave you, nor you me,
For I am in you, in all dogs, in all being,
Lost in your brown curls, your bleached tangled ears -
New and waiting to know the world.
I know each twist of language,
Each bark, each turn of ear,
The laugh, the game, the toys you bring,
The socks you place, guilty, at my feet.

You cannot go Bess: stay here, beside me,
Do not leave. Live in the folds of space between time,
Between understanding, between the mind and earth,
Please be here, for without you I am lost.

Christine Townend

From Walking with Elephants, by Christine Townend, Island Press, Sydney, 2015


We all have wonderful new homes because of the Bess Fund!