My husband and I, being animal lovers par excellence, have a dream of building kennels for neglected animals on the West Coast of South Africa, near Langebaan, where stray animals can be kept, doctored if need be etc. We currently have 5 dogs, adopted from various areas in South Africa, 4 cats and an injured giant eagle owl living with us for more than a year already (she lost a claw and a half a wing in an apparent electrical shock, so cannot fend for herself).
My husband, a farmer, have always had a passion for animals and this would be a dream come true for us to erect clean, sustainable kennels near Langebaan, where future funds can be raised by advertising to the hoardes of holiday-makers on this beautiful part of South Africa, to bring their beloved pets along on holiday, but leave them with us. This will allow the owners to come and collect their pooches once a day for a walk on the beach or a drive, but provide them with board and lodging overnight where animals are not allowed in guest accommodation. Such funds can then be applied to house strays, or injured animals, where the help of the local vet will be enlisted.
I found Jackie, my African dog, hanging around the cottage we rented whilst on holiday 7 years ago, and after 5 days of her not leaving my side, I asked the cleaner girl about her background, only to learn that she was abandoned at the site by her previous owners. I immediately booked a plane ticket for her to Cape Town on the same aircraft due to take me home, and she has been my loyal companion ever since. See my blog – suletta.com – post “Jackie – an African dog’s travel (B)log”.
Greta, Socks and Fifi were at the SPCA kennels in Kimberley, North West Province, for most of their lives and I shall never forget their exuberance when I let them out the van after we got to the farm, on discovering a huge lawn to run around on! See blog suletta.com – post “Adopt a dog month October – go on, adopt a dog at the SPCA or your local shelter”.
Buster, my beautiful black boy, was so maltreated when he was found in the field and looking so poorly, the manager wanted to shoot him but had the heart to first phone my husband to tell him about it. I will never forget the day when he was offloaded at my house – mud caked onto his coat, some of it sticking into the gaping holes where a barbed wire must have been tied around his neck. We nursed him, nurtured him, loved him and he bacame the most intelligent, beautiful black boy a dog lover could dream of. For their afternoon walk, I did one lap of the course with all of them first, and then dropped the older dogs, including my beloved Bonjo who was 12 years old already, before taking Buster around for a faster second lap to get him to excercise properly – he would run beside me with ears flat, his gait like that of a young filly – all legs!
Lady was lying in the dark shoulder of the road when my husband drove to the other farms early one morning, after what must have been the coldest night of winter last year. He did not realise it was a dog at first, driving on, but then saw her lift her head in his rear view mirror, which promted him to turn around and go back. She had just enough strength to still lift a paw in greeting, barely being able to see out of frosted-over eyes. He took her into the hold of the vehicle with him, and turned on the heater for the next 200kms to warm her enough for her to peer at him from under his elbow where she had tucked her nose, water still streaming from her eyes for days after. We had her spayed, and then the fateful Sunday when these two beautiful creatures, Lady (photo attached) and Buster were shot in cold blood by a neigbouring farmer after getting through his fence. This episode was one of the most inexplicable, most painful experiences in our lives, and we miss them every day. See blog suletta.com – post “My beloved dogs killed in cold blood”.
And then of course Alleycat – when we first knew we were going to Zanzibar, we found Alley a good home, but clearly not to his liking, as he walked home across a river, much to his tearful father’s delight, and we promptly booked a ticket for him to go to Zanzibar as well, as were our beloved dogs.
And Koekoes, my owl, whom we love with all our hearts – so helpless, defenceless, but so precious to us! She has a rockery, built with dad’s loving hands, where she lives during the day, and at night she hops off and roams in the passage. She is not allowed out without supervision, as I have witnessed black crows diving down on her mockingly, surely knowing she is disabled. She talks to me in her loving sounds every time she just gets a glimpse of me, and clucks and puffs at the dogs when they come too near. See blog suletta.com, post “The Menagerie is growing”.
So, as you can see, we have personally had a really rough year with heartache with our animals, and we want to make a difference, if only on a small scale, by acquiring land and building a care centre for abandoned, injured or lost animals.
Please help us to make our dream come true! If this truly happens, I will keep a blog with updates going for all to see going forward.