Most people in Hedland would know Rachel Mullins as ‘Ms Mullins’, but when she’s not teaching her year six class at St Cecilia’s Catholic Primary School, she’s working around the clock to find homes for sick, homeless and abandoned cats.
Rachel is the first to admit she’s a bit of a crazy cat lady, but it’s the photos of her “success stories” as she calls them, that make volunteering at SAFE Hedland worthwhile.
SAFE is a not-for-profit organisation that has been working for more than 20 years to rescue abandoned animals from euthanasia in the Pilbara.
Originally from Tasmania, Rachel moved to Hedland in 2015 to work as a maths teacher at Hedland Senior High School.
“It’s everyone’s most hated subject,” she jokes.
She soon met her partner Chris, whom she married this year, and in 2018, Rachel moved from High School maths to teaching primary school students.
While she loves teaching kids and spends much of her time lesson planning, marking and making sure they’re happy, Rachel also devotes her life to helping homeless cats find their forever homes.
She started fostering cats when she moved to Hedland through SAFE. Before long, she was helping them out with administration, recruiting and training carers, collecting donations and working with the vets and rangers.
“(I do it) to see the difference foster carers make in finding these kittens a home where they are loved,” she said.
Rachel’s husband, Chris Maher, tells us her volunteering is almost a full-time job on the side.
“Rachel is always helping others, whether human, animal or the like,” he said.
“She is a massive contributor to society and deserves to be labelled a hero.”
Rachel hopes the work she does for SAFE helps to educate people about animal welfare and the importance of responsible cat and dog ownership.