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Ally of the underdog

Julie Penglington


Ally of the underdog

Mooloolaba’s Julie Penlington was a founding member of 4 Paws Animal Rescue in 2005. She puts in a 60-hour week as a volunteer working to rehome discarded pets and won this year’s Sunshine Coast Citizen of the Year award for her work in providing loving homes for rescued animals.

First job? At a pharmacy on Saturdays.

What are you currently working on? Animal welfare issues.

Your family includes… My mother and two sisters and brother and many nieces and nephews and of course my two dogs Charlie and Mindee. My husband passed away two years ago.

First car? A Toyota Camry.

Favourite book? My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. Read it when I was quite young and it always stayed with me. I come from a family who are animal welfare-minded and with a long line of quirkiness as well, so I related to it. My nieces and nephews have now enjoyed the book.

What are you reading now? Re-reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

Favourite song? Sailing by Christopher Cross.

Best advice you’ve been given? Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

How long have you lived on the Sunshine Coast? Thirty years.

Why do you live here? When my late husband and I sold our pharmacy in Kings Cross and set sail around the world we sailed through Mooloolaba on the way. We fell in love with it and we said one day we would make it our home.

Where do you take visitors when they come to the Coast? Up to my second favourite place Woombye and the hinterland. We bought a pharmacy in Woombye when we settled back here, we loved the place and the people and it has a very warm place in my heart.

If you could change one thing on the Coast, what would it be? More pet-friendly rentals so I don’t have to help heartbroken families rehome their family pets when they can’t find pet-friendly housing.

Best day in your life? When we sailed back to Australia after 10 years travelling. There is no place like home, we really are the lucky country.

Can you nominate a day in your life that turned out to be a turning point? When we set off to sail around the world. It opened me up to the fact anything can be achieved, I was terrified of water and I still did it. We sailed for 10 years to amazing places and had great adventures. We were really well treated no matter where we sailed – everyone loved Aussies visiting.

Your greatest regret? There is never enough time to do what is needed. I wish I had started my work with animals earlier.

What achievement are you most proud of? My work with 4 Paws Animal Rescue and the fact we have been able to save the lives of many thousands of cats and dogs.

You are happiest when? At home with my dogs watching tele with a cup of tea.

What frustrates you the most? People who call me and say I have a cat/dog I have to get ‘rid of’, as if it is a bag of garbage. The average life of a companion cat and dog is up to 15 years. It is a fact that really has to be thought about before you commit to adopting a pet.

How do you deal with your frustrations? Have a long bath, heaven after a stressful day.

If you could tell your 18-year-old self anything, what would it be? The world can be a cruel place. Admire the kind and generous and try to remedy the unkind and mean-spirited.

What is your preference, tea or coffee and how do you have it? I love a good cup of English breakfast tea with a little milk and sugar.

NRL or AFL and who do you follow? No footy watching for me, but I grew up in a huge AFL family.

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