Name: John 'JB' Bishop
Role: Web Monkey
Pets: Toby, Ellie, Kato and Raphey
Interests: All things web, cycling, coffee, running, playing guitar and retro gaming!
What background did you have in rescue prior to launching PetRescue in 2004?
We had a couple of family dogs growing up, and we always got them through the pound. There was no other option for us - the opportunity to give a homeless dog a loving new home was all we wanted!
What inspired you to act and launch PetRescue and start helping disadvantaged pets find a loving home? Why?
It was the fact that going to the pound and getting rescue pets in the past, especially when I was growing up, wasn’t a particularly nice experience - the pounds were noisy, they were smelly and outside of town. There might be a dog there the day after you’ve been which is perfect for you. It wasn’t a generally nice way to find your new pet.
PetRescue is all about promoting the positives of rescue. Rescue pets themselves are amazing, some of the best animals I knew growing up. The process wasn’t great, and there was a lot of scope to improve it.
Things invariably started out small. Was there a moment when it first hit you that PetRescue was starting to snowball and grow into something big?
It was pretty much straight away to be honest. At first, we didn’t really know if what we were building was going to be used by anyone. But from day one there were pets listed on PetRescue, and there were pet-lovers adopting through the site. As soon as we launched, we could see these changes happening.
Fast forward to just this week, and I get talking to people at the dog beach about where they got their dog and they say, “Oh, it’s this really great website called PetRescue!” and I think just how amazing and fantastic that is.
I have this beautiful screenshot from 2004 when the website reached 100 pets adopted, and now we’re finding homes for more than 6,000 pets a month. It’s amazing!
Looking back on what PetRescue has achieved in such a short amount of time, what has been your proudest moment?
Before we launched the PetRescue website, I worked 20 hours every weekend on developing the site over the course of a year, on top of working my ‘normal’ Monday-to-Friday job.
The thing that kept me motivated (and sane) during that time was the thought that, if we could save just one life, then it would all be worth it. And then we launched, and straight away we could see pets being adopted. That’s always stuck with me.
If you could summarise the first 10 years of PetRescue into 5 words, what would they be?
Incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding!
Where do you hope to see PetRescue 10 years from now? What goals do you hope to achieve?
That’s a big one! The first thing for us is to reach our goal, our overriding goal, which is to ensure no healthy and treatable pets are killed in Australia.
We’ve got a way to go, but we’re closer than we’ve ever been, and we’re getting closer and closer every month. It’s incredible.
Beyond that, I think there is a lot of potential to take the platform we’ve built and extend that into other countries. We can help in other places where our model would bring significant benefit to the rescue system, and ultimately, save more lives.