I cannot express my gratitude sufficiently to you many wonderful people who came through for the animals. I have had calls from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – and all have very kindly donated into our account. I have had donations of about 600 blankets. We are still collecting kennels that have been offered. Bev and Patsy had their time cut out yesterday afternoon as they collected crates and kennels from all over PE. The good news is that on closer inspection, Bev was not going to leave the dog in Central on the cement, kennel or not. It was just too cold. Ladders, good Samaritan neighbours and sheer determination saw her jumping over wooden gates and managing to secure the jaunty boy. He is currently with us and I finally located the owner, who only comes in over weekends. I will be meeting with her this weekend and we will discuss options. The neighbours are all prepared to help out and I think our best bet here will be to find a friend for this chap, create a proper shelter and get all the kindly people involved in helping to walk the dogs and check on their daily food requirements.
Bev also managed to deliver a kennel and blankets in Kleinskool last night, where the need was dire. This morning we were off to an early start and I cleared the shelves at Checkers. Armed with many blankets, some dog food, black bags and my gardener – off we went. Mike Kerr and his merry men were only too happy to help out and in no time at all the crates had entrance holes jigsawed out of them, they were lined on top and at the bottom with industrial plastic and blankets, all nailed into the crates and kennels and some strategic pellets were placed at the back of each kennel for encouragement. In the meantime, Patsy and Zweli were collecting more kennels and blankets from the drop-off points. Sandi Edge discovered that she had some “handyman” in her, as she quickly joined the merry men in hammering and nailing! And they completed all of this in time to head off for the big match! Then it was over to Patsy, Zweli, Sharon, Kelly and myself and off we went into the streets of Helenvale.
We were overwhelmed by the number of dogs needing attention and within two and a half hours we had dropped off all the kennels, provided food to many dogs and blankets to hordes of shivering four-leggeds. There were some really tragic sights – many starving dogs with no hope for life improvement. Gangs of children followed us from street to street. There are so many dogs that need sterilisation. One thin dog was scratching in the gutters. When we queried ownership, we were told that there was a new baby in the house and that the owners “wil ontslae raak van die hond”. It had simply been discarded in the streets. A lovely, friendly boy who is now cosily sleeping in a blanketed kennel in the back of our van. He won’t budge! This is better than he has had it for a long time! Obviously I will follow up with another email about finding a home for this poor four-legged child who lost his familial position to a two-legged one. Just another commodity out of the window …
However, at the end of the day, it was with a sense of having achieved something, that we packed up in the darkness and made our way home, knowing that a large number of dogs will sleep in warmth tonight, with a tummy full of pellets. Wherever we went, we appealed to the people to take their animals in to sleep with them. Hopefully somewhere we reached someone. Without your humanity, none of this could have been achieved. You bring hope, not only to myself, but to all these creatures and for this I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We now have a regular supply of crates from two, possibly three, different sources and at least three people who will help us to cut holes into these crates. My dream of one dog, one blanketed kennel, is that closer to becoming a reality. Please continue to be part of that, as we all strive to make a difference.
My kind regards and thanks
Animal Anti-Cruelty League