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

PETS IN CAGES

A friend of mine recently received a hamster from her boyfriend, accompanied by a huge bouquet of red roses. “how adorable, it is the cutest gift ever!” However, over the years at ARO, we have come to see that this elated and warm fuzzy feeling is very much a temporary one and the novelty of owning this pet very quickly wears off.

2 – 3 months later, when the reality of cleaning, feeding and providing the hamster (or any other caged animal) with love and attention sets in, the pet very quickly becomes a nuisance and an escape route or alternate home is looked for.

All one needs to do is browse the likes of Gumtree, OLX, or other online classifieds and see the endless amount of ‘unwanted’ ‘free to a good home’ advertisements.

ARO encourages responsible pet care and prefers those who purchase caged pets to “see it through”, but we also realise that once the novelty has worn off, it is sometimes best to get the animal “out of there”…..

Many small caged pets have come to ARO like this.

Please educate both parents and friends about the responsibility of owning ANY pet before making the commitment.

Until next time,

Jess

ARO rescued rabbits - rabbits need space, do not place them in cages

ARO rescued rabbits – rabbits need space, do not place them in cages

ONE HEALTH on MANDELA DAY 18 JULY 2013

MandelaDayFlyer (2)The Animal Rescue Organisation will be hosting “ONE HEALTH ON MANDELA DAY” on the 18 July 2013 from 9am – 12 at our Head Quarters in Ottery.

This project is all encompassing as it includes animal healthcare, human healthcare and environmental sustainability. We have partnered with Phillipi SAPS and the Lotus River Health Clinic to make this day a success.

Community members are invited on the day, we plan to host a litter clean up and on completion we would like to serve each member from the surrounding informal settlement / area a cup of soup and bread as well as provide every animal treated with a gift.

Should the public wish to get involved, please contact Jessica Perrins 021 396 5511.

We are in need of volunteers to:

  • Contribute towards the soup initiative – making soup prior to the event, serving soup on the day
  • Clean Up – split into teams of 4 and clean the surrounding community
  • Corporates can do collection drives – blankets, pet food, collars and leads, childrens clothing, toys

Do your bit for Mandela Day – if you cannot volunteer your time, donate R67 towards this initiative!

I look forward to reporting back on what we hope to be a very successful event and the first of many ‘ONE HEALTH’ days to come.

Until next time,

Jess

ARO HAS A NEW LOOK

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

Jess

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The Ins and Outs of Pet Ownership

Although pets are cute and offer unconditional love, they require a lifetime of commitment from you, their owner!

Having recently acquired a new member to my ‘ani-family’ I am able to experience first-hand not only the responsibilities of owning a pet but the costs involved too.

While they say you can’t put a price on love, it is wise to know just how much love you can afford and whether your lifestyle is suited to owning a pet.

Before making the decision, consider the following:

  • Pets require attention and your time, if you live alone and work long hours, then perhaps pet ownership is not an ideal choice at this time. However, if like me, you work for an animal organisation, you can always enquire as to whether your furry companion can accompany you to work.
  •  Any pet you get should be suitable to your lifestyle and living arrangements. If you live in a flat, then a large or energetic breed is not a good choice. You don’t want your pet to become bored, as this can result in destructive behavior problems.
  • Puppies and kittens require the most amount of work when it comes to house training. If you don’t have the time or finances to properly train your pets or don’t want your expensive shoes chewed or lounge suite damaged; then consider adopting an already house trained, adult pet. There are literally thousands of adult shelter dogs and cats looking for a place to call home. Give them a second chance.
  • Owning a pet is a joy, but, as with everything else, there is quite a hefty price tag involved. Before adopting your pet, ask yourself, can I afford to keep a pet, as it is a long term commitment. Once you have considered the above, below are a few essential expenses you will need to budget for:
  • A suitable dog bed or basket, blanket, collar, identity tag, lead, food and water bowls
  • Pet food, treats, and tick and flea treatment (monthly expense)
  • Routine Veterinary checks and annual vaccinations
  • Sterilisation (usually done at 6 months)
  • Microchip
  • Socialisation training (optional)

If you adopt a breed of dog that is susceptible to medical conditions (hip dysplasia, spinal conditions, respiratory issues etc.) consider taking out a Pet Health Insurance – your veterinarian will be able to advise as to the various options available.

For those who have researched and understand the commitments of caring for an animal, and still feel you would like to add a four legged companion to your family, please visit a reputable welfare organisation and adopt one of the many animals in need of a good home. Alternatively, if you cannot adopt a pet at this current time, there are many ways to assist our needy four legged friends by supporting our online shop, fundraising events, via My School Card by making ARO a beneficiary, donating gifts in kind or cash – by doing any one of those things you will be supporting the many animals in or dependent on our care.

BUT, whatever you decide, have fun! Owning a pet is a privilege and will bring you endless years of joy!

Until next time

Jess and Jameson

IMG-20130629-01062 Cape Town-20130701-01071 Helping at work

Shine on Award

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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

Jess

Blanket Appeal

spayathon 137

Blankets given in goodie bags during our Sterilisation Campaign in Honour of Mandela Day 2012

spayathon 136

Blankets given in goodie bags during our Sterilisation Campaign in Honour of Mandela Day 2012

MASU - African Tails 10 October 2012 018

Blankets are used extensively during our MASU sterilisation trips. They are needed to ensure the animals are kept warm when coming round from anesthetic.

Kennel Project 075

Each animal that receives treatment in our hospital is provided with a blanket in their kennel.

A chill in the air and rainy afternoons, winter is on its way. The ARO can house up to 65 animals per day. Each animal that comes into our care needs to be fed, have proper shelter, attention and love. With the winter months ahead of us we require additional food to ensure the animals keep warm, because their bodies are burning additional energy to keep warm; all animals require at least a half a cup of food extra per day.

Our need for cat and dog food remains a priority. To date we use about half a ton of pet food per month; this rate is continuously increasing. Therefore we rely greatly on the generosity of the public and the donations we receive.

With the recent spate of cold and wet weather; the need for blankets remains critical at the Animal Rescue Organisation (ARO). We are appealing to the public to please donate blankets to ARO. Preferably fleece blankets as they dry quickly in this weather.

We encourage the public as well as corporates to challenge thier staff and contribute toward this worthy dirve. Donations can be dropped at our Charity Shops – 51 Main Road, Bergvliet 021-7157525;  Belmont Rd, Kalk Bay 021-7881195 and 16 Voortrekker Rd, Bellville  021-9480773 or alternatively contact Julia Green at our offices on 021 396 5511 to arrange for a collection.

Please share this post with all your animal loving friends, and together we can make winter a little brighter!

Until next time,

Jess

Caring for your Pets in Winter

It’s that time of year again; a chill in the air and rainy afternoons, winter is on its way. The Winter weather affects us all, including our furry-four-legged-friends! Follow the Animal Rescue Organisations tips below and ensure that both you and your pet have a safe and warm winter.

  • Due to the wet and cold weather all pet owners must ensure that their animals have access to shelter and bedding, if possible allow them to sleep indoors.
  • Continue walking your animals; don’t stop because of the rain. Grab your wellies and rain coats and head out!
  • Don’t stop tick and flea control, although fleas are more present in summer they are still likely to be on your animal during the winter.
  • If your dog is kept outside during the winter, add an extra handful of food to their daily meals, because  of the cold they will be burning up more energy and extra food will help them with this.
  • If you have a puppy, do not put it outside in winter, because it is still young it has not built up resistance to the cold, keep it indoors in a heated environment.
  • Dogs with long coats can keep warm outdoors; however, if your dog has a short coat and is kept outside, put a sweater on your dog to keep it warm.
  • Don’t dip your dog in the cold, rather use an alternate product that does not involve the dog having to be drenched wet.
  • If you have a heater make sure that the wiring is safe and out of reach of your pet.
  • Make sure the kennel is waterproof, and move the kennel so that the entrance is not facing the weather, and ensure that the kennel is raised off the ground to prevent cold and damp conditions.

Be sure to visit our online shop http://www.animalrescue.org.za to purchase our great new winter merchandise, there is something for both you and your pet!

Until next time,

Jess

The Importance of Tick & Flea Treatment

It’s not unusual for neglected animals to arrive at either our Mobile Clinics or Veterinary Hospital infested with ticks and fleas and in urgent need of internal as well as external parasite control.  Treating animals for ticks and fleas is a vital part of responsible and caring pet ownership. Unfortunately, all too often pet owners are not properly educated about the correct products to use and procedures to follow.  This can have dire consequences.

‘Ballie’, a dog that was recently seen at our Manenberg Clinic is a perfect example. His owner had doused him with paraffin and then lathered oil all over his body. This resulted in the skin being burnt and badly inflamed. He was subsequently admitted to our hospital where he received treatment for his condition and had to be bathed several times to eliminate the paraffin and oil contamination.

Although this was not intentional cruelty, it caused ‘Ballie’ much avoidable pain and suffering.

His owner has since been taught how to safely and effectively control fleas and ticks on his dog. ‘Ballie’ is one of many sad cases that we see on a daily basis and his case serves to highlight the importance of educating pet owners on safe ways and means of taking proper care of their pets. It also highlights the vital role that Mobile Clinics perform within the communities.

TREATING AND PREVENTING TICKS AND FLEAS ON YOUR PETS

  • At the first sign of a flea, or before the first sign of a flea, apply a veterinary approved tick and/or flea treatment eg Capstar, Frontline, Revolution, Advantix, Advantage, Fiprotec and wait for the product to take effect. Most of the products last for about 4 to 6 weeks depending on the severity of the initial infestation.
  • Your pet is not the only source or host of ticks and fleas. Any eggs that were deposited in your carpets, bedding or around your garden, will hatch and become adults.  It is therefore important that you treat not only your pet but the bedding and sleeping area as well.
  • To ensure your pets and home are tick and flea free, it is vital that you repeat the above steps monthly. There is no “Silver Bullet” solution and a disciplined, holistic strategy is necessary.

Although ticks and fleas are more prevalent during summer, it is still necessary to provide tick and flea treatment during the winter months.

In conclusion, if you are struggling to curb the tick and flea infestation, please visit your veterinarian or nearest vet shop for professional advice and do not take matters into your own hands without professional guidance. Never use swimming pool chlorine (often called poor man’s Frontline), Jeyes Fluid, motor car oil or any other accelerant on your pet. It could have fatal consequences.

Until next time,

Jess