What one man can do is dream.
What one man can do is love.
What one man can do is change the world.
- John Denver
Twenty Christmases ago ONE man changed the world. Maybe not our whole world but the world of each and every pet in Khayelitsha.
One man went from door to door feeding, bathing and dipping pets. This one man’s love was the best Christmas gift that Khayelitsha pets could every have wished for.
Today I look back and I ask myself, “What would have happened if Mr Joe did not feel love for animals so many years ago? Would Mdzananda exist today?” I cannot imagine our community without Mdzananda. What would have happened to the animals that have entered our operating theatre, isolation wards and hospital? The thousands of animals that were sterilized? The pets that found homes through our small shelter?
I think of the community and how much we have influenced them. There has been a significant shift in the human/animal relationship. For many people pets are no longer objects or protectors of homes they are friends and companions. But there is still a lot of work to be done to teach this mindset to all community members.
When it comes to Christmas time I reminisce over the year that has passed. Each year comes with its own joys and pains and this year we experienced plenty of both.
Blacky – a beautiful soul undeserving of the cruelty that was inflicted to him. Skinned alive in what we believe was a gang initiation. Our team held him close, formed a circle of love and said prayers as we helped him into the next world where he could rest in peace and play in the clouds.
Speedy – a cat with every inch of her body covered in burn wounds - a victim of having boiling water poured over her body due to a misinformed belief in the community that some cats carry evil spirits and boiling water needs to be poured on them.
But then there were also many joys!
Who can forget Big Boy Magnum! Brought by his owner for euthanasia as he no longer wanted him. He stayed with us for eight months. After experiencing various stages of kennel depression and having many volunteers visit him we at last found his special home. He now lives happily with his adopted sister and wonderful family.
And then there was Enzy. A Pit Bull girl who was confiscated from her owners after a neighbour reported her abuse. Skin and bones and a broken soul she arrived at Mdzananda. Nine months passed before her special home was found. She climbed into her travelling box and flew to Johannesburg where she now receives more love than she could ever have imagined.
Christmas time is one of the happiest times of the year but it is usually a difficult time at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic.
Most community members go to the Eastern Cape leaving their animals behind with friends. Regularly these friends do not know how to look after animals and their homes are not equipped for animals. We receive many pets that have fallen sick due to insufficient nutrition or non pet friendly living conditions. During this time we cover all their costs as owners are not around to donate a small amount towards their pet’s treatment.
We also find numerous owners handing their pets over to us before leaving for the Eastern Cape. Usually these pets are not collected on return, no donation is made towards their stay and they become homeless, completely reliant on us to care for them.
Working with animals is not always easy. Many days I ask myself why there is so much cruelty allowed. Can something not intervene and stop it all?! And then I realize that we are that intervening power. Every single one of us has the ability to eradicate the pain in the world. By just making one small change every day to help another soul, by making one small donation to an organisation that helps fight against the pain – together we make that change.
This Christmas I urge you to be a part of that change. Help us to change the lives of the innocent. This Christmas I ask YOU to be like Mr Joe - one community member who changed the lives of Khayelitsha pets forever.
Please consider making a gift to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic over this festive season. Any gift, big or small, is greatly appreciated. Even if you think it will not be much, you will be amazed at how a small amount can change the lives of animals in need.
If you are not able to make a financial gift I encourage you to get some friends together and collect essential goodies needed to help the pets this Christmas.
From all of us at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic - thank you for supporting us over the past twenty Christmases. We hope you will spend another 20 with us!
With sincere gratitude (and of course wags from the really important animals you support!)
Marcelle du Plessis
Fundraising & Communications Manager