FROM GANG VIOLENCE TO ‘TIN CAN TOWNS’ – the ARO Wheels Keep Turning…

With the recent spate of gang violence in and around Cape Town, one cannot help but think of how fearful life must be for those affected by the violence. Not only do residents live in constant fear for their lives, children are being deprived of an education (as schools cannot open their doors), but the animals are suffering too.

Having worked in many gang stricken communities and hearing first hand from staff members who reside in these areas, the situation is dire, and the services of animal welfare are crucial to the well-being of the animals living in these areas.

As much as the community has had to come to a standstill, so have the services of our mobile clinics. We simply cannot risk the lives of our staff. The sad reality is that we are providing a service to these communities to benefit them; however, our mobile clinic staffs are threatened weekly and on occasions this has resulted in robberies at knife point.

One only has to read my blog about ARO servicing the Manenberg community to understand how vital our role within the many unfortunate and indigent communities is. The clinics in Manenberg were a great success – until now and by working with the Manenberg Pets Project, we ensured that community members got involved and in return were remunerated with the opportunity to learn compassion and various career enhancing skills.

Unfortunately, our clinics have not been able to return to the Manenberg area as yet, but as soon as the situation resolves itself, our services will be continued.

On a positive note, we have joined forces with the Animal Rescue Team, Tin Can Town and the Dancers Love Dogs project to complete a sterilisation drive in Blikkiesdorp, a relocation camp made-up of corrugated iron shacks in the Delft area.

The Tin Can Town ladies have been doing a wonderful job coordinating animals to be collected for sterilisation, our van then goes into Blikkiesdorp on a Monday and Tuesday to collect the animals for sterilisation. Each of the animals that come in for sterilisation are given a full vet check, and then returned to their owners on Thursday.

To date we have sterilised 42 animals from Blikkiesdorp. In addition to this, our hospital team continues with sterilisations that are brought in daily from our fleet of mobile clinics.

So all in all a big ‘paws up’ to our locum veterinarian, Dr Pickard and her hospital team.

Let’s hope and pray that we can soon once again take ARO to the communities that need us most.

Until next time,

Jess

ARO staff members teaching the children of Blikkiesdorp responsible pet ownership

ARO staff members teaching the children of Blikkiesdorp responsible pet ownership

Manenberg residents wait patiently to have their pets seen to by the ARO Mobile Clinic

Manenberg residents wait patiently to have their pets seen to by the ARO Mobile Clinic

Blikkiesdorp

Blikkiesdorp

Training & Socialising your Pet

Working in the animal welfare sector and having acquired a new member to my ‘anifamily’, I felt it necessary to discuss the importance of training your pets and them being well socialised. The first year of your pets life, best described as their formative stage is paramount, what you do now to reinforce good behaviour, will positively affect your pet’s behaviour for life.

Our pets go through a series of developmental stages before becoming an adult, and just like children, require assistance and guidance to get there, hence the reason for my blog today.

From a young age (after having their first vaccinations), it is very important for your pet to develop social skills. It will assist them to respond positively to a variety of social situations, from meeting other pets in the park, to the way that they re-act to friends, family  – even strangers.

Early socialisation ensures your that pet will grow up to be a friendly and well behaved member of society! The following events and situations can assist your pet, especially a puppy with socialisation:

  • Have friends over to meet the puppy, include people of all ages, from children to adults. Be sure to supervise at all times.
  • Invite friendly, vaccinated dogs over for a play date, once your pet is comfortable with other animals, take him or her to visit them at their homes.
  • Take your pet to the park or beach and other environments where he or she will encounter crowds and bustling activity.
  • If practicable, take your pet for frequent trips in the car.
  • Introduce your puppy to foreign objects and sounds. e.g.: black bags, boxes, vacuum cleaners etc. When introducing loud sounds, start from a distance and gradually bring the sound closer
  • Train and accustom your puppy to walking on a lead or with a harness and be sure to use a comfortable collar.
  • When sitting with your puppy or kitten, inspect your pet, ensure they are comfortable with you clipping their nails, being brushed or bathed, check gums, teeth and ears to ensure your pets health.

The above list is only a guideline; feel free to introduce your pets to other situations and objects, which they will need to be comfortable around in your home. Remember safety first!

Most importantly, ensure your pet is comfortable at all times; never continue should your pet become frightened or distressed. DO NOT PUT IT OFF; starting from a young age is paramount to a happy and long future with your pet.

My new member, Jameson, is doing extremely well with his socialisation skills; here he is pictured with his new best friend, Zeena!

Until next time,

Jess & JamesonImage