Rain has fallen in Cape Town…
When the first drop fell last Saturday afternoon my heart rejoiced. Climbing out
my car I found myself walking peacefully through the drops, enjoying each one as they landed on my face – not the usual scurrying for shelter and fear of my hair going frizz.
Saturday evening I plonked myself on my couch, wrapped myself in a blanket and stared into the night sky watching and listening to the rain fall.
But then came the sadness…
As much as I was happy for the rain my heart sunk. I work in one of the poorest townships in Cape Town – the township of Khayelitsha. Rainy and cold weather is not a happy time for these people. Many live in shacks that are not waterproof allowing rain and the cold to infiltrate. Many shacks are built directly onto the sand meaning water seeps in.
Mostly I work with the animals of this community. Imagine how cold some of the people must be with the present stormy weather. You can be sure that the animals are suffering too.
In the Khayelitsha community, the last known census in 2011 counted 400 000 people. It is unknown how many pets live there but we estimate one dog and cat per six people – a staggering 133 000 pets. And that was six years ago - by now it is much much more.
Even though many community members’ mindsets have changed over the past 21 years since the inception of the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, we still have a long way to go. We have been able to educate many on animal care and husbandry. Many of our clients no longer see pets as objects – they are friends – some even sleeping on the bed.
But the reality is that the Khayelitsha community is enormous and the number of people we still need to reach is vast. The level of education on animal needs is low and this low level is amplified during the winter months.
Many pets are not allowed into homes even when it is cold and raining outside. Many do not have kennels or any form of shelter. They do not have access to jackets or blankets. Winter is a straining time on the Mdzananda Animal Clinic as an influx of pets in hypothermic states arrive at our door step having dangerously low body temperatures. We treat them with warm food (some needing force feeding), hot water bottles, warmed IV drips and vigorous body rubbing to help create blood flow and warmth. Some do not make it - many are saved.
Caution on the roads also decreases significantly. The number of pets run over by motor vehicles and that enter our facility with broken legs, pelvises and jaws increases during winter time. An orthopeadic operation costs us around R1400 to perform. Our electricity expenses also triple as many heaters are needed to be switched on to ensure the pets stay warm.
And then you get the pets abandoned at our front gate. With too many mouths to feed pets are left in boxes or tied up at our entrance.
One such pet was Dobbie – a two month old mixed breed puppy.
Dobbie was found tied to our front gate early one morning, shivering from the morning cold. His front legs were severely bent – deformed by rickets – a softening and weakening of bones usually due to inadequate vitamin D and nutrition. Many pets, like Dobbie, are fed on “pap” (the local porridge). This severely lacks in nutrients, especially for a growing puppy. Not wanting or knowing how to look after a deformed puppy and, most likely, not being able to afford to look after him, Dobbie's owners left him at our front gate.
We are grateful that his owner made the responsible choice to give him to our team to help him get better and to find him a home where he would get the proper care he needed.
This winter we would like to ask you to consider making a donation to help a pet like Dobbie. Could you help us look after them by making a donation, big or small, towards specialized food for recovering pets, medication for sick animals, orthopeadic operations, electricity, blankets and kennels this winter?
Your donation might only be able to help one pet but for that one pet, like Dobbie, his or her entire life will change.
Dobbie would like to thank everyone in advance for their assistance. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic would not be in existence, helping all the animals of Khayelitsha, if it was not for our wonderful donors and supporters.
With vitamin D, good nutrition, splints, many bandages and lots of love and cuddles Dobbie’s legs healed. Being beyond adorable with an extreme zest for life despite his bad past, Dobbie was adopted last week.
With sincere gratitude (and wags!)
Marcelle du Plessis
Mdzananda Animal Clinic Team
Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account number: 075595710, Branch: Rondebosch,Branch Code: 025009, Reference: Winter+Your Name
Snapscan / Zapper donations:
All donations are used for Mdzananda running costs, no fundraising agency is used. All donations are Tax deductible