14 February, 2024

Unleashing the love

Morayfield locals Karen and Jamie Goullet embody the motto “sharing love is the best way of celebrating it”. During their 18-year journey, Karen and Jamie have been pioneers in the dog rescue world, opening a sanctuary for senior dogs in their own home, and currently housing 14 dogs, all over 12 years old.

Jamie and Karen Goullet
Jamie and Karen Goullet

Karen, born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, met Jamie online when they were in their early 40s.

Both had already been married, with a total of seven kids from their previous marriages, when they embarked on their dog rescue journey.

Opening the Sanctuary for Senior Dogs Brisbane started after Karen, a long-time dog fosterer, received a call about Sally, an old traumatised staffy who needed a home.

Seeing old Sally motivated Karen and Jamie to start adopting senior dogs, since most got euthanised without even being put up for adoption, due to their age.

“All our dogs are over 12 years old, with lots of them being blind and/or deaf,” Karen said.

“In a pound or rescue these dogs don’t stand a chance to live, so we adopt whoever needs us, often not even knowing what they look like.”

However, their dream life was threatened last year, after receiving a notice from Council, stating they had to surrender most of their dogs or pay a fi ne.

This resulted in the couple having to file a development application, in which Council would have to approve their property as a sanctuary.

“There was no precedent in Australia for what we do, since we aren’t a organisation or business, but just private owners offering a home to dogs in need,” Karen said.

After two town planners inspected the property and observed their work, Council approved their application in December 2023, allowing them to have up to 15 dogs on the property.

This ensures Karen and Jamie will be able to continue their dream, without interference.

Living in a home with 14 dogs was always Karen’s dream, having owned dogs her entire life, and already fostering five dogs when meeting Jamie.

She said she knew Jamie was the one after he just jumped on board and went along with her ideas.

“On our very first date, he bought me a stuffed dog, not even knowing about my love for dogs and dreams of one day opening a sanctuary,” Karen said.

“He just got me and understood my dream and, eventually, it became not just mine, but his own.”

While they both love being dog parents, they do hope to retire in the future, buying a motorhome and travelling Australia with just four dogs, to enjoy some quality time together.

“We pour our heart, soul and time into this and it’s been all we have ever known since being together for nearly 20 years,” Karen said.

“We want to eventually have some time for each other and travel, after Jamie retires.”

Jamie was unable to participate in the interview due to his work as a mechanic for QLD Ambulance calling him away at the last minute.

Jamie with Benny.
Jamie with Benny.

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