SINCE losing her son 19-months ago, all Brenda Praed has to remember him by is a photograph taken at his funeral and his pets.
That is why the Ballan Caravan Caledonian Park resident refuses to part with the animals.
“I have two dogs and four cats,” Ms Praed said.
“One of the cats was born four months before Chris died and he adored it.
“When he died there was nobody else to give the animals to ... I wouldn’t have chosen to have four cats otherwise.”
But looking after her own and her late son’s pets means that Ms Praed is finding it hard to look for alternative accommodation.
“With all the animals I am right at the bottom of the line for private rentals,”she said.
“That is why I was hoping that DSE would be able to help me.”
The 59-year-old is one of the many who fear being left homeless after the DSE decided to close the park in July.
Some of the residents have been living in the park for nearly 10 years.
The DSE, which manages the land for the state government, is evicting the tenants because the caravan park does not comply with its permanent land-use policy.
Ms Praed, who has been living at the park for two-and-a-half years, was offered alternative accommodation but was told she couldn’t take her beloved pets.
“I am not going to abandon them,” she said.
“The last resort is I will take my car and sleep in it with the pets.”
DSE South West regional director Laurie Dwyer said the DSE was facilitating support agency UnitingCare in making accommodation offers to residents and had done since the announced closure of the park.
“DSE has engaged the relevant agency to negotiate accommodation arrangements with residents and is not involved in these discussions,” Mr Dwyer said.