‘60 needles in 5 years’: Man’s extreme step to own two dogs
Jasper Bartlett has always been an animal lover - but he's been allergic to them his entire life.
As a child, being near a dog would make him constantly sneeze, cause his face to puff up and he found it hard to breathe.
But that didn't stop him from making his dream of having his own two dogs a reality.
Now he calls Scout, a black German Shepherd cross Great Dane, his own - as well as Sutton, a white Maremma, Border Collie cross.
The 21-year-old, from Dubbo, NSW, first saw an allergist and started having injections to de-sensitise him to animal fur at age 16.
He started with one needle a week for six months.
Twenty-four needles later, he suffered a setback after being unable to access the injections which were coming from France.
He waited for two years until he started having them again when he turned 18.
He then had one needle every month for three years - which equates to 60 injections in total.
"I have no regrets, I just love dogs too much," he said, adding he is not completely over his allergy, but he can manage it with antihistamines.
"When I play with Scout and Sutton, the needles have helped me delay how long it takes me to react to them.
"It has also helped me stop how long the reaction lasts.
"But I'm used to it now, Scout chews up everything but he makes it worthwhile and I wouldn't change a thing."
Mr Bartlett's medical triumph can be revealed as data shows more than 50,000 pets have been adopted through animal shelters that work with Petbarn across Australia.
A majority of them are from the lockdown period as more people were forced indoors and sought company from a four-legged friend.
New data obtained by News Corp has found NSW led the way with 20,000 adoptions followed by Queensland, which had 13,000.
Victoria had 7000 adoptions, Western Australia saw 5000 and South Australia clocked 3700 adoptions.
New pet owners paid anywhere from $50 to $250 for a kitten, puppy or a golden oldie needing care after being surrendered.
Mr Bartlett got his two dogs through Petbarn and the RSPCA.
The RSPCA told News Corp that despite a fear they would see an uptick in surrenders following such a spike in adoptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, that hasn't been the reality.
"We remain very concerned about the indirect and long-term impacts of the crisis - for example, people losing work or income and struggling to afford pet food and vet care bills," a spokesperson said.
"It's important for everyone to continue to provide the best possible care for their pets and animals during these difficult times.
"The RSPCA wants the community to understand that they can reach out to us for help if times are getting tough, so we can offer advice and support."
Originally published as '60 needles in 5 years': Man's extreme step to own two dogs