Dean Morris is only 15 years old and has already accomplished more than some will in a lifetime.
The dedicated student started a campaign called GOSAC – Give Our Strays A Chance when he was just 10 to raise awareness about adopting and donating to animal shelters in Western Australia.
Dean said he remembered the day he decided he wanted to make a difference.
When I got to the country pound that he was staying in, the conditions were horrendous. He was stuck in a small tight cage, in a brick building with no windows, no fresh air and no light.Dean Morris.
“One day my mum found a picture on the internet of a stray dog in a small cage. He was about to be euthanised that very day,” he said.
“My mum woke me up in the morning and said we are going to save this dog – we weren’t even looking for a dog.
“When I got to the country pound that he was staying in, the conditions were horrendous. He was stuck in a small tight cage, in a brick building with no windows, no fresh air and no light.
“At the same time I was a part of a gifted and talented program and we were learning how to become leaders and learning about what kind of qualities leaders should have.
“I really wanted to make a difference so I used the skills I learnt [there] to create GOSAC – Give Our Strays A Chance.
Since then, Dean has organised a number of events to raise more than $11,000 in cash and thousands more in donations, helped many stray animals find their furever homes and dedicated hundreds of hours to volunteering.
He was also awarded the RSPCA WA junior ambassador role in August.
As part of his position, Dean represents and helps the RSPCA at various events and raises awareness to promote animal welfare, including for often-forgotten stray animals.
And he’s now preparing for his sixth annual GOSAC Day in Halls Head this summer and is inviting people from around the Peel region to donate, meet the animals and maybe even add another member to their family.
“SAFE Perth will be coming down with stray animals and I hope to get as many strays adopted as possible, raise donations and most importantly raise awareness of this issue.
“Many people believe that the only way to get a pet is by buying it from a breeder or pet store.
“By raising awareness I can tell these people to adopt and not shop, so many stray animals are in need of homes and instead of buying an animal people could save a life.”
Dean said, even after five years of charity work and now amidst a busy school schedule, he’s still just as motivated to help animals in need.
“Seeing the outcome of my efforts is probably the most rewarding part of all the hard work – watching the strays being adopted or all the donations helping strays have a better quality of life while they stay in shelters,” he said.
“It is also amazing to see people and businesses contact me wanting to help, what I find is that it brings out the good in humanity.
“My family are all big animal lovers so they really enjoy what I do and we all love seeing the strays being adopted.
“My friends have always been super supportive as well and many of them volunteer to come down to events that I organise – I am very grateful to have friends and family who are willing to help and be a part of GOSAC.
“There are also many businesses all across Australia who support GOSAC and help out with donations.
“It is great to have so much support, it makes me realise that people really want to help.”
But the Melville Senior High School student plans to spend the rest of his life combining his passion for animals with his love for flying.
“When I finish school I want to join a cadetship with an airline to become a commercial pilot,” he said.
“I just won The Pilots of Tomorrow scholarship given by Flight Experience Perth and the Honourable Company of Air Pilots worth $15,000.
“As soon as I receive my pilot’s licence, I would love to be able to fly stray animals from Broome and the country into Perth to increase their chances of being adopted.
“Currently rescue organisations do it but at high costs, so me volunteering as a pilot might save money and help rescue more.”
Next year’s GOSAC Day will be held at Halls Head Central from 10am-3pm on Saturday, January 5, 2019.
There will be cats and dogs available for adoption from SAFE Perth, bunnies to play with and raffles.
Dean will also attend the K9 Dog Rescue Group’s adoption day fundraiser on Saturday, December 8.