A day in the life of……

A “shoot from the hip” account of work at a clinic for animals in Manenberg, Cape Town, South Africa.

By Margie Humphris, Fundraising Assistant and Committee Member, ARO

Avril and I arrived at around10am in Manenberg at the People’s Centre in Stormsriver Way ready for our fortnightly helping hand at ARO’s clinic. We had not even parked our bakkie properly in the little bit of shade available, when a small child (about 8 years old) approached us with a puppy in a cardboard box and asked us to “put away” ie: put down.  There were no further explanations, but we noted that puppy was in a pitiful state and was clearly dehydrated and malnourished.  Dying. All these little souls handed in are taken to the Mobile Clinic and are assessed by ARO’s AWA first. 

It was 32degrees that day and before long, another puppy was brought to the clinic for the same reason.  There was an unusually high number of children present (no doubt being school holidays). No less than five arrived each bearing a puppy! Some of them just wanted dip and deworm, which gave us a wonderful opportunity to educate these kids about pet care. 

The pups were too young to dip, but did receive flea powder and some syrup for de-worming and everyone was asked to bring their puppies back in a month’s time.  We also told them of the Animal Welfare Society in Phillippi where they could take their puppies as this facility is closer than ARO.  Young and old, desperately poor, the people came streaming in.  Some with big dogs, most of which were terrified of the dipping bath procedure.  I tried to explain to the people, that talking gently to the dog whilst restraining it was far better than shouting – or, as I witnessed on one occasion – kicking the dog into submission! 

After a clinic in Manenberg, I smell like an antiseptic bottle!  But it also helps that I hold the dogs while the owners bath them, it makes the whole job easier and quicker.

One child even wanted to dip his terrified cat!  Hearing these things is a reality check that we must teach children (and adults) about pet care as it is clear that ignorance causes terrible suffering to these desperate animals.  Sadly, the usual amount of unwanted, unloved and starving kittens (together with two terrified adult cats) also came to us to be “put away”.  Sadly, the whole group of kittens were sick and so it was kindest to put them out of their terrified misery.

We tried so hard to explain why dogs or cats should be sterilised – all these unwanted puppies and kittens.  Our words fall on deaf ears.  If there were By Laws enforcing sterilisation, we would be targeted and be in danger, our vehicles set alight no doubt and our staff’s lives put at risk.  We have had threats to our staff before, and it is to be taken seriously.  We cannot force people into what they do not want to do.

Almost without exception, the adults refused to have their male or female dogs sterilised. They wanted a litter first or wanted to keep them for fighting purposes (not admitted to, but well known as a reality), which obviously is a lucrative money making business.  It is very hard to keep one’s cool at these clinics when you witness abuse and heavy handedness with animals!  I physically had to stop myself going for one man who mistreated his dog. 

Everyone pleads poverty. Not even a R2 to dip the dogs.  The attitude of entitlement and a Government handout (they often think ARO is a Government service!) is rife and makes teaching responsibility very heavy going.   As always, they were asked to contribute whatever they could – we live in eternal hope!  Where does the money come from for the cigarettes and cellphones, I wonder to myself. 

A box of kittens were literally starving to death, sickly and dying from starvation, having been deprived of their mother’s milk for some days (she being too sick to have any for her family) and/or they were far too young to be separated!  We couldn’t wait to leave at noon feeling very depressed and the sound of 14 kittens and 2 puppies’ crying in our ears nearly had us in tears as well.

Two hours of hard work!  Some may have been put down, but they are out of the hell, in a better place at least, not left to starve or be run over, used as bait for fighting or further abuse.  But next week, we will see the same again, more desperate little faces, miserable lives, abused and suffering.

Education is the key point. Provision of welfare level clinics is also essential and for this ARO has done an amazing job.  Some of the children were pretty impoverished as well, to say the least.  At least two were high on some “substance”. With all of this going on, the animals don’t stand much chance. 

On a happier note (don’t we all love happy endings?) we are investigating more education at the Manenburg People’s Centre (for the children (and the adults), perhaps introducing another welfare agency into the area as our twice a month ARO visit is not sufficient; and hopefully a dipping morning on a Saturday as being at least part of the whole solution. 

Wish us luck and please keep the funds rolling in to help all those so desperately in dire need.


Margie Humphris

Animal Rescue OrganisationImage

Fundraising Assistant




Jani writes to Melissa Bachman

Thank you Jani for a wonderful article. I couldn’t agree with you more!

My Grilling Life - Jani Allan


Dear Melissa,

I have to hand it to you.

That pic of you sitting gloating triumphantly behind the huge male lion you killed has gone viral.

I’m not saying that people aren’t admiring your big strong teeth or even your big strong breast implants.

But your timing was all kinds of special. A week after we hear that the western black rhino is officially extinct, you post this picture of yourself on all your social media sites. Now you are front page news in many countries. Even the comedian Ricky Gervais has weighed in. He thinks you are a great hunt. Typo.

When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal. What then do we call a person who shoots a wild animal?

Not for food, or even for their pelt. Just for pleasure.

Help me on this. I want to understand what…

View original post 937 more words


The Animal Rescue Organisation (ARO) has a new look! We will be unveiling this look during the course of July 2013.

The ARO staff and committee have spent hours of devising to reveal this fresh, modern new look, without forgetting our heritage and how ARO originated. As an organisation we felt it necessary to realign our brand and reflect the growth and accomplishment of ARO throughout its 27 years of existence.

Our new brand is to be carried through all of ARO’s digital and printed communications and marketing collateral; as well as the branding of our Charity Shops, vehicles and Mobile Animal Steriisation Unit (MASU). We hope to have this transition completed by the end of 2013.

The ARO would like to extend a huge thank you to MA Design for sponsoring the design and concept of our new logo and for taking our ideas and turning them into a reality. 

Please feel free to comment on this post and give us your thoughts!

Until next time



Shine on Award


As a relatively ‘new comer’ to the blogging world, it was a feather in my cap to have been nominated by http://sparkyleegeek.wordpress.com for the Shine On Award. I started this blog with the purpose of voicing my concerns and opinions of animal welfare in South Africa. It is wonderful to know that my blog is reaching people and I am able to be the voice for those that cannot speak. Reading through the various blogs it is encouraging to know that there are others speaking for our four legged friends. So to http://sparkyleegeek.wordpress.com thank you for your nomination!

The Rules for the Shine On Award are listed below:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. State 7 things about yourself

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.

5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award requirements.

 7 Things About Jess

  1. If you haven’t already noticed, I am an avid animal lover. I have been volunteering for various animal charities from the age of 12yrs.
  2. The 16th May 2013 marked my 2yr anniversary in my dream job – Communications & Events Coordinator at the Animal Rescue Organisation in Cape Town.
  3. I have a cross breed ‘pavement special’ rescue dog – Thumbelina – who is my pride and joy!
  4. I love to dance. Although i’m not a professional, I still know how to have a good time!
  5. I grew up on a smallholding. I had an array of animals, from guinea pigs and rabbits to donkeys and sheep.
  6. I am an adrenaline junky. Anything that the average person would think of as mad, I am game for!
  7. I love to bake. It is a great stress relief for me, nothing like the smell of biscuits in the oven! or baking the cake AND eating it.

 My Nominees are:

Rumpy Dog  http://rumpydog.com

Dog with the blog!   http://calvy.wordpress.com/

Animals Deserve to Live   http://animalsdeservetolive.com/

First Steps   http://jolliffe01.wordpress.com/

Pause For Tails http://helenwoodwardanimalcenter.wordpress.com/

Cool To Be Kind To Animalshttp://cooltobekindtoanimals.wordpress.com/

Purrs Full of Love http://www.purrsfulloflove.com/

The Best Friends Blog http://blogs.bestfriends.org/

Pets News and Views http://petnewsandviews.com/

Save the Pit Bull, Save the World http://www.underdogged.net/

Savannah’s Paw Tracks http://savannahspawtracks.com/tag/blog-for-animal-welfare/

Animal Welfare Guardian http://animalwelfareguardian.com/

The Canine Companion http://thecaninecompanion.wordpress.com/

DOGthusiast http://dogthusiast.com/blog/

Horse Welfare Blog http://www.animalfriendsequine.co.uk/community/news/horse-rider-blog/horse-welfare/welfare-of-horse-paramount/

Rescue Dog Blog http://getarescuedog.blogspot.com/

In ending, thank you once again to The Canine Companion and Sparkyleegeek for the nomination. Continue to be the voice for those that cannot speak and together we can be the change we want to see.

Lots of tail wags and purrs


An Introduction to ARO


Welcome to the Animal Rescue Organisation’s official blog spot. Here we will discuss upcoming events; issues surrounding animal welfare; the work we do and how you can get involved. I am Jessica Perrins, Communications & Events Coordinator and look forward to sharing the ARO blog with you.

More importantly this post is to introduce to the Animal Rescue Organisation and explain to you what we are about.

The Animal Rescue Organisation (ARO), originally called Voluntary Animal Rescue was founded by Betty Hobbs and her late husband, Ulrich Schäffer in September 1986 and this year will celebrate 27 years of service to the animals of the Cape Metropole’s most indigent communities.

ARO invites all Capetonians to share in our celebration of this milestone and encourage anyone who is passionate about the welfare and wellbeing of animals to join their winning team by becoming a supporter and donor of an organisation that truly cares about the welfare of all animals.

The aim of ARO is as relevant today as it was 27 years ago – to help alleviate the plight of the many unfortunate animals struggling to survive in the growing number of deprived informal settlements and poor townships in and around Cape Town.

In 1995, it was decided to change the name of the organisation by dropping the word Voluntary in favour of it’s present day name of the Animal Rescue Organisation (ARO) – which has since gone on to become an established household brand name synonymous with compassionate animal care. 

From humble beginnings which saw the organisation operating from a single garage in Tamboerskloof with only one donated vehicle and a determined and ambitious team in charge, the demand for it’s services grew. It was decided to relocate ARO into larger premises in a residential house in Observatory and later to a larger home in Rondebosch East. The continued success of the organisation saw it having to move yet again to its present home in Olieboom Road, Schaapkraal, Ottery.

Over the past 27 years the team at ARO has not allowed any opportunity for growth and expansion to slip by, resulting in further expansion of it’s services and operational capabilities to the point where last year over 20 000 animals benefitted from it’s services. Today the scope of ARO’s work is all encompassing and includes sterilisation, dipping, deworming and vaccinations. Every visit by a Mobile Clinic to one of the many indigent areas serviced by ARO is used as an opportunity to educate pet owners about responsible ownership and the benefits of having their pets sterilised. 

Although relatively small, they are undaunted by the seemingly overwhelming challenges posed by an escalating domestic pet population explosion in the areas serviced by ARO and remain steadfast in their commitment to help make a positive difference to the lives of everyone they serve.

Today ARO consists of:

-A team of 27 dedicated employees;

– A healthy army of volunteers, supporters and donors;A strategically positioned, fully equipped, South African Veterinary Council approved and registered Hospital and facilities in Schaapkraal Ottery;

– 3 Mobile Clinics which have effectively extended the operational reach of the organisation to include a surrounding radius reading as far north as Atlantis.

– One Mobile Animal Sterilisation Unit (MASU)  which takes ARO to the people and enables us to assist communities where animal welfare services are not provided.

– ARO’s affairs are goverened by a hands-on professional Management Committee Chaired by founding member Betty Hobbs (nee Schafer).

ARO’s many and varied successes are attributable to a number of factors which include: an involved and active Management Committee, a professional fundraising department, a team of passionate employees, as well as a  loyal following of supporters and donors.

ARO is also an active member of the Western Cape Animal Welfare Forum where issues of mutual interest for the benefit of animals is discussed by a number of reputable Cape based welfare organisations. This co-operative approach has served the animals of the greater Cape area very well as resources are pooled and a shared approach is welcomed.

I hope that the above has provided you with an insight into what we do and who we are. 

Until next time, Jess