Retreat 2 Eden

With the aim of not only taking in the usual waifs, strays and cruelty cases, but also to honour dogs who dedicated the majority of their lives to the service of mankind, an unusual rescue centre, Retreat  2 Eden, was founded on a sprawling 43ha farm in the Southwell area of Port Alfred six years ago.

The brainchild of Johann and Lynne Wilhelm, the resultant haven is brim full of dogs, chickens, sheep, horses, pigs and even a goat, all of which are allowed pretty much free range of the property.

Outlining why the couple decided to dedicate their lives to saving animals, Johann said: “Service dogs are life’s unsung heroes, but not at Retreat 2 Eden. These dogs are the very essence of our K9 Heroes Programme.

Many of them battle to find homes. With very few exceptions, the handlers cannot take them in when the dogs have outlived their usefulness as a working dog.

But for us, these dogs were heroes during their working lives, and we feel they deserve to be honoured for that when they retire. That is the very essence of Retreat 2 Eden.”

For the main, the inmates all get along, with the exception of the odd scrap, which is hardly surprising in view of the fact that around 80 animals live at the sanctuary at any given time.

And yes, there are cages, but they are always left open, a safe retreat for the dogs, most of which have never known any other kind of life.

Some, however, are too aggressive to be integrated immediately, and this is where community support comes in.

“With the aid of Rotary, The Lions and Interact in Port Alfred, we were able to build three large enclosures, set up for high-risk rescues. They are currently home to Ceazer and Phantom, two beautiful German Shepherds, who are slowly learning to lose their aggressive streaks and also learning to play like puppies again,” Johann says.

“But this particular case was not easy – and I bear the scars to prove it.

“Early into his stay, Ceazer wanted to go into the house, so I blocked him with my leg. He turned on me, biting my wrist down to the bone. There are other scars from where I had to protect myself from him going for the jugular. My hand was out of action for a month.”

Despite this, and where others might give up in the face of defeat, Johann stands firm.

“These dogs’ lives have been saved by community involvement. They are an integral part of life at Retreat 2 Eden. I will continue with their rehabilitation until they can be released to mingle with the other dogs.”

While the K9 Hero programme’s aim is to socialise dogs and then match them with potential fur parents, it is not always possible, and some of the dogs will see out their days at the rescue centre.

“When dealing with ex-service dogs, there are many aspects which have to be considered. They have lived in cages and know nothing other than the aggression that is often demanded of them. We accept that they needed to be aggressive to do their jobs and have to patiently re-train them,” Johann says.

The love that Johann and Lynn have for animals, large and small, stretches beyond dogs into abused and neglected horses which, where possible, are healed physically, mentally and emotionally before being rehomed.

Of course, running such a venture comes at a huge expense to Johann and Lynne, who have sunk their life savings into the farm which, until recently, was a 100% funded by the selfless couple, who do not even draw a salary.

At this stage, through community involvement, the centre is now only 87% funded by the couple, with donations from the Port Alfred community, including cricket balls for  Ceazer and Phantom, and offcuts of food from local restaurants, helping to ease the burden.

“A lot would not be possible without the help of the Port Alfred community. We also have a family of pigs, which had gone feral, who have almost too much food,” Johann said.

However, much more help is needed for the Wilhems to achieve their overall ambitions for the farm, with plans including:

  • Building a basic medical centre, with quarantine facilities
  • Portioning of large sections of the farm with cabins so that adoptive parents can interact with their new furkids, before moving to their forever Renting out the cabins would bring in much-needed income
  • Building a volunteer centre
  • Employing a Rescue Centre manager.

“At this stage, one of us always has to be on the property, which means that Lynne and I have never been to the beach together. If we had a manager that could change. Now that would be something really special,” Johann said.

  • Individuals, as well as organisations who make use of service dogs, are welcome to contact Retreat 2 Eden for assistance with working dogs when they are no longer needed in the industry. For more information contact Lynne on 072 388 9054, Johann on 072 966 7692 or visit the Retreat 2 Eden page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/865543393636727/

Welcome To Eseltjiesrus

In 2001 two donkeys were rescued from a miserable existence, blindfolded and walking endlessly in circles to mix mud and straw in a brick-making arrangement just outside the little village of McGregor in the Western Cape. They found a home with Johan and Annemarie van Zijl who had recently retired there.

It quickly became evident that there were many more donkeys in need of help and the concept of a Donkey Sanctuary was born. The name “Eseltjiesrus” was created, meaning “resting place for little donkeys” and the sanctuary was registered as a welfare organisation in 2007. The vision of the sanctuary is to promote the welfare and status of donkeys through a Culture of Caring.

The first official sanctuary resident to arrive was Adam, from Zoar, where he had been a cart donkey for many years until deemed too old and frail to work. He was followed by local cart donkeys, Thabo and Ida, whose owner had been diagnosed with cancer. Soon up to twenty donkeys were cared for on land rented from a local farmer. An adoption programme was established whereby people could support a chosen donkey financially and get regular news about “their” donkey. Fundraising took the form of an annual Book Fair. The first was a modest affair held in a local restaurant. Eleven years later, the Book Fair is recognised as the largest book sale in the Western Cape.

In 2012 the sanctuary was financially strong enough to buy its own property, just 5km outside McGregor. Permanent structures could be erected, tailor-made to the needs of the donkeys, staff and visitors. Fields were fenced, irrigation and grazing established, and over 160 donated trees were planted. Large shelters provide protection against the elements. The old farmhouse was converted to accommodate a restaurant, information centre and administration spaces. Eseltjiesrus is open to visitors from Thursdays to Sundays and trained guides inform the public about the need for good welfare for donkeys, often the forgotten members of the animal world.

Currently the sanctuary has 21 rescued residents. The oldest is Eeyore, over 40 years old. The geriatric donkeys that have dental problems get two special soft meals daily. Individual attention is given to each donkey: grooming, hoof care, fly repellent, inspection and treatment of any little wounds, and palliative medication where necessary.

We follow the guidelines of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries which state that more animals should not be taken in if it were to impact negatively on those already in care. This prompted the very important component of our work: “improving welfare beyond our fences”.

Eseltjierus can never accommodate all needy donkeys, so a large part of its work is outreach in the form of advocacy and education for owners and animal welfare professionals, networking with other organisations and spreading the “Culture of Caring”, which is its hallmark. We present regular workshops, related to donkey welfare.

Eseltjiesrus is governed by a Board. Tight administration and financial control ensure the long-term viability of the organisation. The need to secure and expand the future of the sanctuary through sensitive implementation of succession planning, and development within the limitations of resources, is recognised.

The sanctuary is a not only a centre of excellence for donkey welfare, but also a beacon of hope in our fragmented world. Therapeutic interactions between the gentle, humble donkeys and visitors each with their own needs and challenges, remind us daily that humility is not a weakness, but strength.  Come and look deep into a wise donkey’s eyes – but you will have to kneel.

In May 2010, the sanctuary was contacted by a concerned animal-lover, who had visited a wine farm near Paarl, where there was a “petting zoo”. Here she had seen a collection of animals, including pigs, goats, sheep, ponies and five donkeys, living in a tiny space, knee-deep in filth.

The sanctuary approached the owner and persuaded him, with some difficulty, to sign the donkeys over to Eseltjiesrus. We did not have space to accommodate them at the sanctuary, and a “field of dreams” was found in Franschhoek, near expert veterinary care.

For eight months a team of volunteers cared for the little family, winning their trust and accustoming them to regular handling and care. Hooves were trimmed by a farrier, and medication was administered, where needed. The little herd grew glossy and confident. Ziggy was one of the youngest members of this family.

When the group were ready to be re-homed, they were placed in foster homes, and Ziggy came to the sanctuary.

Ziggy is now a pleasing example of how important it is to handle young donkeys from early on: she is friendly and trusting, bold, confident and inquisitive. She is an interesting example of a long-haired donkey.

Although she was never a working cart donkey, she does have work to do at the sanctuary. Her mission in life is to show humans how charming well-handled donkeys are, and how donkeys that are correctly cared for, can teach us so much.

Caring for donkeys

Donkeys are often the forgotten species in animal welfare, accorded inferior status by the public and many welfare organizations. Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary in South Africa stands as a beacon of hope for better lives for these humble animals, promoting their welfare and status through a number of different avenues.


At the sanctuary, rescued donkeys live out their lives in a peaceful setting, receiving best quality daily care. They no longer work for people; they now work with people, intuitively recognising humans in need. Under the watchful eyes of our trained guides, visitors may meet the donkeys. Every visitor leaves the sanctuary as a Donkey Ambassador, sensitised and better informed. At the same time the sanctuary offers a pocket of peace for the donkeys and visitors.


We network closely with organisations with similar goals. We have established a communication platform Donkeys for Africa, for organisations throughout Africa working towards improved donkey welfare, with a quarterly newsletter carrying information about shared problems, solutions, projects and challenges. See http://www.donkeysforafrica.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/donkeysforafrica/

All in all, Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary has established itself as a respected centre for promoting donkey welfare through a number of different avenues. This is made possible through the generous support of the public and impeccable governance by the Board of this registered charity.

http://www.donkeysanctuary.co.za/ and https://www.facebook.com/Eseltjiesrus-Donkey-Sanctuary-342092666706/  email: info@donkeysanctuary.co.za





Meet Hank! – Camdeboo Sterilisation Initiative

Late in June 2018, the Camdeboo Sterilisation Initiative (CSI) was contacted by a kind person who was taking her domestic worker back home to the township, when she noticed a dog being tied at the side of the road, with a group of children gathered around it. She stopped to investigate what was going on, upon which the children ran away.

She could see that the dog was hurt, as it was bleeding from the nose and also had minor wounds on its body. Taking action, she loaded the dog into her car and took it into the local Vet, as CSI had agreed to cover any costs involved, and to take over the care of the dog, going forward.

What met us upon arrival at the Vet, was heartbreaking; a mangy, bleeding bag of bones, yet still wagging his tail, upon hearing a kind voice, despite the ordeal that he had just suffered at the hands of man. We often just stand in awe at the amazing forgiving creatures that dogs can be. How soon so many of them just simply trust again. Yes, we do get the broken souls who sometimes take weeks, months or even years to heal, but as a rule, I have not seen a species as forgiving and not prone to grudges, as dogs.

We named him Hank. Hank spent a day at the Vet being checked out and was kept for observation. He was diagnosed with ehrlichia and possible blunt force trauma to his face and, of course, mange and starvation, which was very obvious and visible. He also had a bad case of worm infestation.

Hank was taken into foster care by CSI, given medication for his ehrlichia and weekly medicated dips and baths for his mange and, of course, loads of TLC and three high quality meals a day. We knew that Hank was a special boy right from the start. He very soon realized that he could trust us and was just so undemanding and grateful for every little bit of love, attention, food and treat that he got. Also, he was such a good boy when being dipped and bathed, as if realizing that we were trying to help him. He picked up weight from 9 to 15 kg and is now a happy and healthy boy.

With his mange being contagious, he had to be quarantined for the 1st month, while being treated. He just took everything in his stride, seemed quite happy in his enclosure with his kennel, and being covered with a warm blanket at bed time – oh, he LOVED his blankie. We introduced him to playing with a tennis ball and he almost immediately grasped what was expected of him and now loves playing fetch. He will run back to you and hold the ball very lightly in his mouth for you to retrieve and throw again. We do suspect some Border collie in the mix. We also gave him a soft doggy toy which he nuzzles and plays with very gently, and sleeps with in his kennel, but not destroying it, like many dogs have the tendency to do with soft toys. He is just such a gentle soul.

After the mange had cleared, we slowly introduced him to members of the pack, one or two at a time. He was an absolute gem, with very good social skills, and, very soon, started playing with the rest of the pack. He became a hit, especially, with the ladies, be that canine or human. Come feeding time and I was on my way to Hank’s enclosure, I had the girl dogs lined up wanting to come with me to go visit Hank and play with him. He was always very excited when I brought him some doggie company and so we soon started calling him “Hank the Hunk”.

This most special boy with a heart of gold, holds no grudges and has an awesome personality. He is up for adoption to a very special home. He is kind and loving, yet not overly demanding. He does this little “dance”, prancing around when excited, earning him the nick name of “Twinkle Toes” from his foster Mom. Yet he is never boisterous. He is not a barker, except when he has reason to tell you something. He has moved into the home among the pack of various males and females in his foster home and gets on very well with everyone. He is most content to sleep in his doggie bed in the bedroom with his foster parents. We are sure he will enjoy cuddling with you under the duvet on a cold winter’s night, if given the opportunity, but, knowing that this is not allowed in all homes, we are not encouraging this.

Hank is one of those dogs that leaves a paw print on your heart, that is never forgotten, and would easily have been adopted by his foster home, had it not been that we just want the best home in the world for him, where he can be the centre of attention, or at least part of a smaller pack, where his gentle soul is not smothered a little by the many (some hooligans) that he has to share his foster home with. We believe him to be intelligent and highly trainable – a true asset to any home and humans that will be part of his journey going forward.

6 weeks after Hank was rescued, another dog was found tied up and stoned to death at the exact same spot that Hank was rescued from. We dread to think that this might possibly have been his fate, had someone not driven past and been vigilant enough to stop, and investigate and take action. The latest case is currently under investigation and the same perpetrators are suspected in both cases.

If you think you might be that special person or family to complete Hank’s Happy Tale, and can offer him a forever loving home, please contact 072 1762 175 or erma.voigt@yahoo.com . His story can also be viewed on our Face Book Page https://www.facebook.com/CamdebooSterilisationInitiative

Monkey Helpline

Who we are and what we do!


One of the privileges that come with living in the eastern and north eastern regions of South Africa is that we also have Vervet monkeys living around our homes, schools, parks and even our factories.    With the presence of monkeys, we also have mixed emotions about them, but love them or hate them, feel or be indifferent to them, they are here to stay IF we can educate and enlighten enough people to care about who monkeys really are!


Those people who dislike or fear monkeys are directly, and indirectly, responsible for the unwarranted bad press they get and also most of the terrible suffering they endure every day.  Vervet monkeys are amongst the most misunderstood, maligned and persecuted of animals in South Africa, and certainly in KwaZulu-Natal.


So what are we, the Monkey Helpline, doing for people and Vervet monkeys?


To start with, we devote lots of our time to educating people about the reasons why the monkeys are here, why monkeys behave the way they do, the things people should or should not do when monkeys are around, and how to humanely keep monkeys away from those places where they are not welcome.  Just knowing that monkeys will NOT attack and bite people, and that they DON’T carry rabies, is enough to change antagonism and fear into tolerance and appreciation in many cases.


We also run a rescue operation and a “high care” unit.  We respond to over one thousand rescue call-outs every year and rescue between three and ten monkeys every day, and their injuries range from wounds sustained during fights with other monkeys, dog bites, being run over by motor vehicles, electrocution, being snared, trapped or poisoned, and being shot with air (pellet) guns, catapults and firearms and being caught or injured on security razor-wire.  Many are babies who are orphaned or injured when mother monkeys are attacked by dogs or other monkeys, or are severely injured or killed in human-related incidents.  Over eighty percent of the monkeys we rescue, irrespective of the reason why, have got air gun pellets lodged in their bodies.  Lead pellets cause terrible pain, suffering and a lingering death and no person, adult or child, should ever shoot monkeys with a pellet gun.  As the largest dedicated monkey rescue project in KwaZulu-Natal, the Monkey Helpline is available to do rescues 24 hours a day, every day!  We currently care for over two hundred monkeys in our “high care” facility and at the Monkey Helpline Primate Rehabilitation and Sanctuary Centre situated on the Mayibuye Game Reserve in the district of Camperdown in KZN.  Whenever possible, recovered monkeys are released back into their troop, but if this is not possible then they are bonded into rehabilitation troops for release back into the wild, or else given lifetime care in the sanctuary component of the Centre.


Education is a vital tool in our hands and we distribute thousands of information leaflets, and visit many schools (on average two schools per week) to do educational talks about the monkeys.  We also do talks to many other interest groups such as police cadets, garden clubs, public service groups, conservation bodies, residential estate/complex body corporates, etc.


Coordinated by Carol Booth and Steve Smit, the Monkey Helpline project, established in 1995, is a volunteer group, based in Westville near Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, but operating throughout the province and also anywhere else in South Africa and even abroad where our assistance and advice are requested.  All our services are free of charge.  However, Monkey Helpline is self-funded and donations towards the substantial rescue, veterinary, food and other related after-care costs are always desperately needed.  This is where you can make a meaningful contribution to helping us help the monkeys.


For more information about Vervet Monkeys and what you need to know about them, or how to DONATE towards the cost of the work carried out by Monkey Helpline, visit our website, www.monkeyhelpline.co.za and follow “DONATE” buttons, or click directly through to all donation options via https://www.monkeyhelpline.co.za/donate-here/ .  Also visit Carol’s Facebook page, Carol Booth-Monkey Helpline, where a daily record of most of our rescues is maintained, or the Monkey Helpline South Africa Facebook page.  Carol and Steve are available to respond to rescue call-outs 24/7, 365 days a year!  Contact the Monkey Helpline on 082 659 4711 or 082 411 5444, or email to steve@monkeyhelpline.co.za or carol@monkeyhelpline.co.za, or for information on donation via Debit Order or for “Adoptions” contact carey@monkeyhelpline.co.za.



Friends Of Ferals – every life matters

Friends of Ferals is a Pro-life, Non-Profit Organization (NPO 202-559), which focuses on the plight of feral and stray cats. Their miserable, short lives are spent scavenging for food, dying from starvation, in pain from one or both infectious and fatal cat viruses, injured, or systematically being killed.  The dire situation of the over-population of ferals in South Africa is the product of society, through the gross neglect of failing to sterilize pet cats.  This problem affects society and is the responsibility of society, as a whole.

We officially opened our doors in November 2017, as a result of the cat boarding facility, Cottage Cats, having helped with numerous pleas from individuals, business owners and/or employees in assisting with the capture of pregnant, sick or injured ferals. These cats were homed at Cottage Cats till kittens attained the age that they could be homed. Their injuries or sicknesses were healed and then the sterilized, healthy adult cats were returned to their office or factory homes.

I don’t think there is a better feeling in the world than the sense of euphoria and delight, when rehabilitated kittens, from feral mommies, are found loving homes, or when feral, sterilized adults are returned to their office or factory homes.  Business owners and employees accept these furry residents as a natural part of daily life and provide them with shelter and food.

These adult cats are examples of how TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) is a successful solution to both cats and business/factory owners. Controlled feral colonies keep their environment free of rodents and discourage the influx of other ferals.

By the end of 2016, with 17 special-needs ferals and strays in “boarding’, it became a matter of urgency to have units separate from the boarding facility, in which to house the more long-term ferals and strays. A generous benefactor, Jeanette, who boards her cat every December, sponsored the building of 6 large units. Also, two outdoor Cabanas were built, each with its own 6m x 6m completely enclosed garden, and each unit with its own hut.

Those ferals and strays who are sociable, test negative for HIV and Feline Leukaemia, have been sterilized and vaccinated, enter the homing programme and are housed in the cabanas. Long-term resident cats need the fresh air, sunlight and space of the cabana gardens, to achieve, as close as possible, a life of in- and out-doors as they would have in a real home.

In a wooded area, behind the cattery, are two large dog houses and a 1962 Volkswagon combi, which are home to 13 sterilized, healthy ferals. They are a family unit, free to roam, but they tend to remain close to their home and food.

Friends of Ferals and the cat boarding facility, Cottage Cats, operate from the same premises and all proceeds from boarding support Friends of Ferals. We are truly passionate about cats and their well-being.  Every life matters. And each one is loved – from the spoilt, fussy border to the hissing feral.  We understand that the only difference in their attitudes towards humans is the circumstances under which they were born.

Mission Statement and Main Objectives

  • Sterilization: (TNR Programme ) To Trap, Neuter, and Return healthy ferals back to their environment. Those ferals who are ill or injured will be homed at Shelter, under medical care, until such time as their health is restored, or when the quality of life is compromised.


  • Awareness: To create awareness of the plight of ferals through visibility, as well as our interaction with the public at markets, shopping malls, animal-related events and functions.         


  • Feeding: With the help of community members and business owners, feeding programmes will be initiated in those areas that ferals that have been trapped and neutered, have been returned


  • Education: To educate learners about the importance of cats in our society and emphasize that they serve a valuable function in society. To impart the knowledge that cats are unique individuals, with unique personalities, who make loving pets and good companions. To impress that the killing of a cat is inhumane, unacceptable and frowned upon by society. To teach learners that we should all have the grace to allow life to walk its path on Earth – as we do – and to have the attitude of ‘Live and Let Live’.


  • Homing: Captured pregnant or lactating feral mothers with their babies will be homed at Shelter until the kittens are old enough to be homed, and the mother cat, after being sterilized, will be released where she was captured. Orphaned kittens, under 6 weeks old, will be fostered-out, until ready to be homed.



Our dream for 2018/2019 is to raise the much-needed amount of R38 000, to build a 5m x 8m Garden Cabana for HIV positive ferals and strays.  Many HIV cats are healthy, although positive, and not suffering from full-blown AIDS.  They deserve the chance at a life of peace – for however long as they are ‘healthy’, as life at the shelter is the closest they’ll ever get to having a home and being loved.

Ways in Which the Public can Assist   

Donate a once off payment towards our planned HIV unit, or donate a once off R250 for the sterilization of a feral. (Use the reference number HIV or Steri.)  Become a monthly sponsor to help towards vet bills, medication, cat food, cat litter, traps and fuel.

If you’re not in a position to give financially, consider donating your time, or enrolling as a foster mommy. If you’re too far to visit the shelter, please visit our Facebook page and share our Adoptions, Posts and Feel Good Stories.

Farm Portion 144, R511 Highway, Hennopsrivier. (19 km from Fourways ) 

For more information please email info@friendsofferals.org.za or call on 066 2179 952

Friends of Ferals, FNB, Savings Account Number 627 5435 9852









Meet Sniffels

Meet Sniffels (now called Marie):

The rescue:

On 21 November 2017, at the Lucky Lucy Foundation in Cape Town, our head caregiver, Bonile, received a phone call from a distressed owner in one of our Outreach areas.  Her dog had been kicked by a horse and needed immediate medical care. When Bonile arrived on the scene, he attended to the injured dog first, but spotted another dog, a female puppy, called Sniffels, that was in a very bad condition. She was severly underfed and in some places she had crusty patches on her skin and, in other places, the skin was semi-raw and swollen. She was oozing fluids and blood. Her owner requested help from Lucky Lucy, since she couldn’t keep Sniffels anymore and wanted a good loving home for Sniffels, but didn’t know where to turn. Sometimes these communities are judged, because they don’t have extra money to pay for sterilizations, vaccinations and medical emergencies, but this owner loved her dog so much, that she made the choice to surrender her to Lucky Lucy rather than having her suffer. Sniffels had endured a lot in her short life and deserves better. This is how Sniffels joined the LLF family and became part of our lives. Both dogs were taken to our Welfare vets at Bergzicht Animal Clinic in Malmesbury for immediate medical attention


The Road to recovery:

The vets  diagnosed Sniffels with a skin condition. Her skin scrape showed Demodectic 4+mange. She was only 6 months old, unsterilized, had never received any vaccinations, and had multiple skin abscesses, multiple draining tracts and general alopecia. The good news was that she could be treated. Demodectic mange is not infectious to people and other animals, but it takes longer to treat and heal than Sarcoptic mange. She was admitted to the Lucky Lucy clinic where she received nutritious food and daily baths with a special shampoo. In the beginning, one was afraid to touch her skin for fear of hurting her, she was so thin. We had to wash her whole body, including her head, in order to remove the scabs. During her first bathing session she looked at us bright-eyed and expectant, not sure what was about to happen to her, not used to being bathed. After her first bath her skin appeared even worse, but it had been necessary to remove the scabs to enable to skin to heal.


She was a very sweet, friendly girl and would sit still while being treated, despite her pathetic condition, which must have been so painful. At no point did she seem sad, afraid, traumatized or aggressive. I believe that she seemed to understand that the treatment was important to her health and well-being. She was always trusting and loving, which was wonderful, because sometimes the emotional repair process requires time and patience, and can make treatment very difficult. The rest of her treatment included antibiotics for 6 weeks, special anti-flea and tick treatments, that are part of the recommended treatment for mange, and dipping sessions twice a week, to kill the mange mites. During the recovery phase she went to the vet regularly for check-ups.

Sniffels’ skin condition improved in leaps and bounds, thanks to the assistance and guidance of our wonderful vets at the Bergzicht Animal Clinic in Malmesbury, and the dedicated care and medical treatments of the staff at Lucky Lucy. Once her skin had healed completely, she was sterilized and micro-chipped, and moved from the clinic to a camp where she spent many happy days with her camp mates. She enjoyed her walks on a Saturday and received much love, and many hugs and treats from our wonderful volunteers.


A New Life

Sniffels has had a brand new beginning at Lucky Lucy and now has a brand new life. We normally have visitors on weekends at Lucky Lucy, and in January her new parents walked into her life. They wanted to adopt a female doggy and when they saw Sniffels it was love at first sight. We were so happy and excited for our very special Sniffels when she found her forever family – she was adopted on 21 January 2018. According to her new parents, she has settled in nicely. She is good natured, loves her dry food and playing with her new friend, Kallie, the Spaniel. She already responds to her new name, Marie. Her new parents are enjoying her and find her just as special as we did. Sniffels’ success story is one that I have witnessed many times at the Lucky Lucy Foundation. Outreach work is not for the faint-hearted and sometimes it is heart breaking, but it remains greatly rewarding to walk this road with any rescue animal.



Fisantekraal Animal Welfare – Helping people to help animals

“Never doubt that a small group of  thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Animals and people fill the rust-red shipping containers, overflowing onto the surrounding dusty pavement. A glance around shows more people heading that way, many walking dogs or carrying puppies or even cats. Inside, there’s a hubbub of noise and action, and people interacting with animals wherever you look.

This busy scene is a twice-weekly occurrence in the township of Fisantekraal, approximately 40km outside Cape Town. It is from these humble premises that Fisantekraal Animal Welfare volunteers do their work, helping the animals of this impoverished township and surrounding areas.


Humble beginnings

When Durbanville resident, Rosa Pheiffer, took her housekeeper home to Fisantekraal late one      afternoon, she had no idea that it was to be the start of something incredible. She came across a neglected dog with advanced distemper, convulsing in the dirt beside the road.

Nobody seemed to care; nobody stopped to help. But Rosa did care and she did stop to help.

She contacted the nearest animal welfare for  assistance and, although, sadly, that dog could not be saved, he sparked off something that led to thousands of animals being helped. Rosa, who worked full time, began going in every weekend to help the animals and their people; soon more volunteers joined her. They realized that the only way to reduce neglect and prevent future suffering was by sterilizing as many animals as possible and by vaccinating against these diseases.

The tiny handful of passionate volunteers raised funds where they could and called in help with vaccinations and sterilizations from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals and Animal Anti-Cruelty League. One by one, animals were helped and lives were improved.

In 2006, just over a year later, FAW received their official NPO registration. Their mission: to prevent suffering through basic healthcare and sterilizations, and to empower people to care for their animals – and that’s exactly what they’re doing today.


So much to do…

A decade later, the organisation is going from strength to strength, with thousands of animals over the years having been sterilized, vaccinated against diseases such as rabies and parvovirus, and treated for mange, illness, parasites, and injuries – to name but a few. Hundreds of animals needing re-homing have found wonderful new homes.

Perhaps most importantly, the residents are able to provide their animals with the care that they        deserve and have a resource for advice and  education; many of the children who visit with their pets were born at the same time FAW started, which means they’ve grown up seeing a different example of how animals should be cared for.  Today, two of FAW’s regular volunteers are Fisantekraal residents.

There is still much to be done. An estimated 2000 dogs and cats live in this township; FAW also works on surrounding farms, and nearby Klipheuwel and Morning Star, which adds  hundreds more animals to their case load. And the area is rapidly expanding: a low-cost housing  development, Greenville, has sprung up alongside Fisantekraal, with a planned 16 000 homes in the pipeline – and no provision has been made for the animals that will also live there.

With no other animal welfare offering regular basic healthcare and sterilizations in the area and a    constant influx of people and animals, FAW aims to step up to the plate.


Changing their world

In 2016, FAW celebrated its ten-year anniversary as an NPO – and set a plan in motion to make a difference for the next decade and beyond.

Although a clinic was in place with a vaccination programme and for minor injuries and illnesses, everything else had been done through private vets or at sterithons a few times a year. This meant animals being collected by volunteers during the week, driven to the vet, and returned – a process taking at least three hours one way. Not only was this costing time and money, but it is traumatic for the animals.

What was needed was a surgery on site. The idea was to reduce stress to the animals, and reduce time and money wasted so that more animals could be helped.  Perhaps most importantly, it would           encourage owners to become more involved in    helping their animals, rather than them just being taken away and returned by outsiders. By involving the community, long-term change can be effected – truly helping people to help animals.


Turning the dream into reality

On 13 and 14 May 2017, FAW hosted a cycle challenge, the FAW80 Ride, in which 20 riders made their way from Oudtshoorn to Melkbosstrand (a distance of over 480km) in one go, cycling through the night. This was the second year that the challenge took place and it was a hard slog, mostly on dirt roads, and the riders chose rougher terrain and a longer route than the previous year.

They departed Oudtshoorn early on Saturday morning at 06h00; fortunately they were blessed with a sunny day but, by nightfall, it had become bitterly cold and it was a challenge indeed to keep going. But they did, tackling the steep Bain’s Kloof Pass on Sunday morning and sailing into Melkbosstrand at around 12h00 to cheers from supporters, tail wags from several rescue dogs, and big smiles on the faces of every proud rider. Each rider raised funds as part of their challenge and the public could support their efforts through Back-a-Buddy.


Today and in future

At the time of going to print, just under 96 animals had been sterilised in the new clinic and 31 had been operated on for things like wound stitching and growth removals.

Before, these would have needed to be fetched in the township, driven to the private vet, and driven back again – a round trip of 30km; they’d often have to stay over a night or two, running up costs even more and increasing the trauma for the animal.   Instead, these simple in-and-out procedures were exactly that, with animals able to go home within hours.

Consider that one female dog, her mate, and all their offspring having two litters per year, with 2.8 surviving puppies per litter, totals twelve extra in one year. If you do the maths, by year five, you’re looking at  several       thousand dogs; cats can have three to four litters per year.

The fact is that the more unwanted animals there are, the more neglect, abuse, and  suffering there will be. There are simply not enough good homes for all of them. By  sterilizing just one, all of that suffering will be prevented.

And that’s why the work this organisation does is so important:  although it may not change the entire world, it will change the world for the ones it helps.


By Jenni Davies





Meet Pote


I may not be pure breed,

Not exactly a Yorkie or a Poodle or even a Pitbull

I might not come from an upper class  family…

I have been told that I am not as pretty as a picture …


But one thing is for sure!

I have a heart of gold and I am super sweet.

I have a soft nature,

I am gentle with other dogs and am always friendly,

I am alert, playful and I will definitely be your best friend,

Please pop in and meet me for yourself!


Rescue animals aren’t broken, they’ve  simply experienced more life than other animals. If they were human we would have called them wise. They would be the ones with tales to tell and stories to write, the ones who were dealt a bad hand and responded with courage.

Pote is one of those special angels at Wollies.  He arrived at Wollies when he was a puppy, so tiny, underweight and extremely sick that we never thought that he would survive. But with much love he pulled through.

This is the history of a very special dog called  Pote. He is one tough little survivor!

Pote and his friend were dropped off at the shelter in 2015 when they were only a few months old.  Both of them had the Parvo virus and had to be rushed to the vet. Unfortunately his little friend was just not strong enough and passed away. Not many animals survive this deadly virus.

After spending a long time at the vet, Pote returned to the

shelter where everyone felt sorry for him because he was such a tiny little thing. He was not coping well in the

kennels with the other dogs. They were always picking on him and bullying him  because he was so skinny.

Our only other option was to put him in our cattery and boy, did he have a royal time! He was the only doggy amongst 230 cats. Pote spent his days in the cattery and at night he slept in a kennel. Believe me when I say that nobody will ever complain about spending their days in our cattery. They get treated like royalty!

Soon the little rascal decided it was more exciting and entertaining to chase the cats. We could not allow this to happen so we had to move him out of the cattery.

One of our workers, that stays on the property, took Pote under his wing with other dogs that could also not cope in the kennels. They were spoilt rotten – sleeping in the bed and being taken for long walks. These doggies knew it was time for a walk when they heard a specific whistle. Running like kids through the long grass and obediently returning when they heard the next whistle.

Unfortunately, things did not work out for Pote and his friends and they had to be moved back into the kennels.  All the other doggies were lucky and found homes while Pote remained in the kennels. This affected him very badly, he did not understand what was happening to him.

Then fortune came along, Pote was adopted and we all celebrated. Sadly, this didn’t last long. You see, Pote was reminded of all the fun he had  in the cattery chasing the cats. The family that adopted him had cats so this home didn’t work out. It was heart- wrenching when he was brought back to the shelter.

Once again, Pote had to placed in a kennel with other dogs. He was still so tiny and being bullied by the other dogs, We were moving him from one kennel to the next. If you know Wollies, you know that we don’t keep the dogs in small enclosures.  Instead, we have large runs with place for the dogs to move and run around with a few dogs staying in an enclosure.

When a new dog arrives at Wollies, they are first put in a holding kennel where they are vaccinated,        sterilized and dewormed. As soon as we feel they are ready, once we have established their temperament with other dogs, we introduce them into an enclosure with other dogs.  It is very important that they are placed with dogs that they will fit in with. Sometimes we have to move them around to find the perfect place for them.

Pote has been in the same kennel for a while. The only consolation is that he managed to make friends.  It’s sad that Pote knows no home other than his kennel and it is visible that this is depressing him.

Pote receives special treatment because he is so thin and battles to pick up weight. He is taken out of the kennel everyday and given a tin of food just for him.

It breaks our hearts to watch, when he is finished eating and without anybody saying a thing, he sadly walks back to his kennel and waits for someone to open the gate.

Pote is a very special boy that is very playful when you give him the chance and show him love. He is extremely loving and any home would be very lucky to have him in it. He creeps so deep into your heart!

Please give Pote a chance at finding his very own forever home!



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