On 18 July 2020, as part of a Mandela Day initiative, TEARS and Breadline Africa collaborated to distribute kennels, blankets, food and bowls to needy animals in a severely impoverished community, Cathkin Informal Settlement, in Heideveld, near Athlone, which is home to +/- 500 people.
Breadline Africa have been working in the Cathkin, providing food parcels, and observed that most of the dogs were tied up on short chains, with little or no shelter. Breadline Director, Marion Wagner, approached TEARS Director and Co-Founder, Marilyn Hoole, and asked whether TEARS could help to provide shelter and food to the animals.
A Lakeside resident, Bev Webster offered to do a drive for donations of kennels in the Lakeside area, and three were donated, which Marilyn had refurbished; a fourth one was donated by supporter Greg Powell. Bev also obtained cash donations which enabled us to buy 8 kennels from Sam of The Purple Kennel Project, and a further 2 were donated by donors which Sam found.
We (Marion Wagner (director Breadline Africa), Marion Wagner’s husband Trevor, Breadline Africa officials Gail Dreyer, Graeme Hyde and Diane Laugksch and myself) hired two large trailers, loaded up the four donated kennels, and headed for Table View, to collect the 10 Purple Kennel Project kennels.
Then it was off to Cathkin, where we received a warm welcome from the ladies who manage (oversee) the settlement, Vanessa Adriaanse, Chairperson, and Shaheema Allie Secretary of Cathkin Informal Settlement, as well as some of the residents, who soon gathered around our vehicles, hoping to receive a gift for their animals. Fortunately the overseers of the camp had already decided who would receive the kennels, which made our task that much easier.
It was a humbling experience to see how these people live, with virtually nothing – no running water, no electricity and no proper sanitisation, most of them unemployed, yet, everyone was happy and so grateful that we were there to help their animals, of which so many were in excellent condition.
The camp was neat and clean, and one felt so safe being there, amongst the appreciative community. Sadly, many of the dogs were on short chains, with only some of them having a makeshift shelter from the elements, as had been advised by Marion.
We visited every home where a kennel was to be placed, chatted to the owners, met the dogs and advised everyone that it was conditional that, if they wanted a kennel, their dogs would be sterilised; everyone agreed. Along with a kennel, recipients received food for their pet, (Four Paws South Africa donated boxes of pellets as part of their Mandela Day initiative – Thank you, Four Paws!) a blanket and a bowl.
A big sadness was that we only had 14 kennels for distribution, so many dogs never received a “new home”, but we do hope that we will be able to accumulate more kennels for those dogs who continue to brave the elements, chained, with nowhere to go and no shelter. If you’d like to sponsor a kennel for a needy pet, please visit our online shop here.
We have promised to go back, probably next month, to conduct a Spayathon, and hopefully we will be able to provide more kennels, as well as educate owners on how to care for their pets without chaining them.
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