Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
On 23 May 2010, we carried out a vaccination and deworming programme at Piel's Farm. We have previously vaccinated and sterilised at this small community, but that was some time previously just before our patron vet, Dr. Andy Swan passed away. The community remembered us well, and we were delighted to see that several of the animals that we sterilised were still around and thriving! They were also glad that we had decided to 'return' and carry out our good work in their community. We noticed that overall, the condition of the dogs and cats were pretty good, with just a few requiring a bit of extra help in the way of food and deworming which will go a long way to improving their condition. There were quite a few puppies, although they all looked well as opposed to some townships where we have worked. We will continue to vaccinate and deworm these puppies, and hopefully persuade the residents to have all of them sterilised. We will begin with sterilising the animals again, using local veterinarian, Dr. Hennie in Meyerton who generously assists us with our efforts.
We really want to improve this mom's life by sterilising her
These dogs look pretty good
This little dog was not going to be let out of his owner's sight!
I just love this picture!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The NDDF have been hard at work since undertaking to 'adopt' Barcelona township as one of their local projects. To date, we have held 3 vaccination days and 2 spay days, with a 3rd spay day planned for 6 June 2010. In 2009, one of our members suggested we take on Barcelona as one of our projects as she had been involved in the community through her church. We went out to assess the number of animals, the condition they were in, the living environment, etc. There was no doubt after this initial visit, that we would get involved and the results have been extremely rewarding. In the pictures below, you will see how the condition of the animals have improved since our programme began. We have dedicated volunteers who monitor the township each month for sick or injured animals, and have an active dipping programme as well. The injured or sick animals are taken to Benoni SPCA who have been wonderful in assisting us to treat these medical cases since we are not equipped to do so. We are truly grateful for their ongoing help. We have reached a stage now which is very positive - where owners call our volunteers should their animals be ill or injured. Another positive aspect is that the owners are most cooperative in bringing their animals for vaccinations, dipping, deworming and sterilisation. To date we have sterilised just under 50 animals, and have vaccinated almost 300. We will continue working in Barcelona to endeavour to vaccinate and sterilise as many animals as possible on a continuing basis. We are extremely grateful to all our sponsors and supporters for their continued generosity of their donations. Our volunteer veterinarians - Doctors Tanya, Andrea, Anthea, Gill & Darlington are fantastic, and we are truly lucky to have you on our team!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
How the Namaqua Dog & Donkey Foundation (NDDF) Came About
by Helen Taylor, current Chairperson
The NDDF was founded in April 2005. My husband was transferred by his mining company to the Northern Cape. We lived in a tiny little mining town called Aggeneys which is between Springbok and Pofadder (yes, the town really does exist). I had been involved in animal welfare whilst we were living in Zambia (again, a company transfer), and when we arrived in the Northern Cape, it struck me that there were no veterinary facilities in the rural areas for people who could not afford these basic services. Many animals were dying unnecessarily from not being vaccinated – a simple protection which most of us take for granted.
The nearest vets were around 200 kms away either way, and only those with access to transport, let alone the cost of the services, would be able to utilize these vets. I approached the largest animal welfare organisation in South Africa to ask their assistance with sterilisation and basic services, but they decided the area was too vast, and other areas were more needy. So, frustrated at this, I mentioned it to my veterinary friend, Dr. Andy Swan who came to visit. He fell in love with the Northern Cape and decided that there was worthwhile work to be done, and so a few of us got together and formed the NDDF.
What we do is to focus on where we can make the biggest difference in the lives of these people and their animals, hence our mission : “To improve the quality of life of disadvantaged domestic animals by sterilisation, inoculation, deworming and dipping; and to educate owners as to the benefit of animal health and welfare.”
A lot of the people in these remote areas keep dogs – for companionship, to guard their small herds of goats, for hunting small prey that the owners can eat, etc. We have heard criticism that these people should not have dogs if they cannot afford to look after them properly. Please don’t confuse poverty with deliberate cruelty or neglect. They do not have access to basic pet care the way we do. Besides the remote proximity of the vets as explained, they have never heard of annual vaccinations, nor dipping; and nor do they have the funds for these even if they were aware of it.
Having said this, these owners share whatever little food they have, with their dogs. If you think these dogs lead a miserable life, have a look at some of our pictures – these dogs go everywhere with their owners, and are extremely loyal to them. This is where we come in, to make this bond even stronger.
Sterilisation is where we can have the biggest impact, and prevent unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. By reducing the population of unwanted animals, we cut down on inhumane methods of culling these unwanted puppies or kittens by their owners, we reduce the number of dogs straying, fighting, forming feral packs, etc. and end up turning these sterilized animals into better, healthier, more conditioned pets. If you can do the calculations, you will understand just what an impact sterilisation has on the animal population. For example, a young female dog is likely to be sexually mature at around 9 months of age, males from 6 months onwards. Each unspayed female can produce a litter of puppies every 6 months. An average sized litter is 6 to 8 puppies. At 9 months of age, these animals are ready to reproduce, and so on and so on. My husband did the exponential calculations of how many puppies would be produced over a 5 year life span. It was a shock to find the potential puppies would amount to 67,888! This is providing none died prematurely - but even if half did, this is still a staggering number. So, literally, thousands of unwanted puppies are prevented each year by simple sterilisation.
There is always a people overlap in our work, and we provide education to the owners on better pet care – by utilizing what they have available, and showing them right from wrong, e.g. having fresh water available, providing some shelter from the elements – in these areas, temperatures are often in the mid to late 30’s and sometimes in the 40’s as well.
We have designed a colouring-in book depicting the good and bad, which we hand out to the children, with colouring-in pencils. Since the children will be the next generation of pet owners, we target the education at them. Linked to this, is the fact that in these rural areas, schooling and supplies are not always what they should be. We have embarked on a project to provide each child at these schools with a school bag, basic stationery, additional reading books, etc. Along with this, we are working towards providing each child with a Lapdesk which you will hear about later. Each child in these areas has access to education, but not all of them are privileged enough to have the little luxuries such as proper school bags, crayons, their own pencil case, etc. which most of us never give a second thought to. The more funding we have, the more we can do for the children, and in turn, their families.
Our two Northern Cape outreaches which we do each year are Pella, and Port Nolloth. These areas are around 1200 – 1400 km’s away, and we usually take along a team of about 10 people, with all our equipment, drugs, portable kennels, dog trailers, etc.
We do not charge the people at all for any services we offer. We stay for a week, doing as many sterilisations and procedures as possible, and our working day usually lasts around 14 hours, operating in church or community halls which are adequate for what we need to do.
We also have a programme to replace the old donkey harnesses which are in a terrible condition, and quite uncomfortable for the donkeys. Having said this, it is not to point a finger at the owners. The donkey carts are often their only means of transport and they have to use whatever materials they have at their disposal to make up the harnesses. When we replace the harnesses, we take the old ones away before handing out the new, so that they can never be used again.
In closing, we are a small group of individuals, and our work relies entirely on funding from our sponsors. We do not have the infrastructure to do the daily welfare work, nor is it our core function although we do assist small, local informal settlements where funding allows.
In our short existence, we have sterilized almost 2,500 animals. In order to continue making a difference, and extending our benefits to other areas, we need sponsorship. There are many ways of helping us – by cash and donations of other items. Please feel free to contact us to find out how you can help make a difference.
THE UNIQUE, INIMITABLE DR. ANDY SWAN !
ATTITUDE : The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible
BELIEVE & SUCCEED : We cannot change yesterday. We can only make the most of today, and look with hope toward tomorrow
QUALITY : Countless, unseen details are often the only difference between mediocre and magnificent
WISDOM : The years reward dedication and courage with a depth and strength of character few will ever know
QUALITY : Every job is a self portrait of the person who did it
PASSION : There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart … pursue those
GIVING : One of life’s greatest rules … you cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening your own
PERSEVERANCE : In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins … not through strength, but through persistance.
COURAGE : Do not follow where the path may lead … go instead where there is no path and leave a trail
Every job is a self portrait of the person who did it
Leaders are like eagles, they don’t flock, you find them one at a time
RISE ABOVE : It is attitude, not circumstance, that makes success possible in even the most unlikely conditions
Integrity is one of several paths, it distinguishes itself from the others because it is the right path, and the only one upon which you will never get lost
ASPIRATIONS : If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost, that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them
TEAMWORK : Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity