Animal Cruelty is Unacceptable!


The world can sometimes be a very harsh place for all of us, not least of all, for animals, who cannot speak for themselves nor take care of themselves if held in captivity or outside their natural environments. Domestic animals rely on us to instil security, warmth, nourishment and love on them.

One of the most distressing stories of late was about the helpless giraffe that died while being transported on a Gauteng highway. Can anyone really be so negligent and so cruel as to transport tall animals on an open truck without anyone riding shotgun to check all is well? Surely not? But yet, it happened and it must have been an awful end to the poor giraffe!

Then there’s the story of the trapped dog that howled for two weeks before someone finally tracked him down and rescued the emaciated, desperate animal. Who does that? Why would you do that? To us animal advocates, it is impossibly cruel, almost beyond comprehension.

A woman was recently beaten while trying to stop someone abusing a dog. She said it had been worth it. She saved the dog’s life.

Parading animals in circuses and using them for the sole benefit of entertaining us humans is not okay. Not in any which way or form. Please, don’t support these circuses, rather allow your little ones to see animals in their natural environment such as game reserves and even allow them to sit in the garden at home and watch the birds flitter by in the sky and trees above. There is enough entertainment these days in all shapes and forms so as to let the animals held in captivity to break free from the chains of neglect and abuse.

All animals, great or small have the right to the 5 freedoms in life, as do all human beings. They are just simple freedoms that all living beings should be entitled to. Animals have beating hearts and blood flowing through their veins. They need us to take care of them, nurture them and most importantly, to love them as we do one of our own.

What are the Five Freedoms?

  1. Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition.
  2. Freedom from discomfort.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease.
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress

And a sixth…

Freedom to be free

Let’s all stand together and prevent cruelty to all animals that grace this beautiful earth of ours. We CAN make a difference.

On a more positive note: Don’t forget to come along and join in the fun at our annual Spring Fling/Cupcake Day on the 6th September at our Main Street Centre, 39 Main Street, Howick. Bring along your cupcakes in aid of animal welfare and you could win a prize for the “best dressed” cupcakes! A cupcake decorating competition and an icing demonstration will be on the cards too! We still have a few places left for stall holders so book now to avoid disappointment. Call Bronwyn on 033-3306548 for more info on this.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

An extra sweet Spring Fling this year!

070814What is more decadent than a rich, creamy, yummy cupcake, smothered in delicious icing? Not much, I tell you! Throw in a cup of something nice and warm or a chilled cool drink, a morning of relaxed shopping and a good chuckle with old friends and you have all the ingredients of a happy day on Saturday 6th September.

This year is proving to be a whopper with not one, but TWO events crammed into one day! As the first Saturday of September is always earmarked for our Spring Fling and as our Cupcake Day last year was also held on a Saturday, we thought; why not turn the two events into an extra special super-sized event?

So, the Spring Fling will include all your favourite things such as plenty of beautiful blooms and plants for your spring garden, loads of good books and our scrumptious tea garden with cakes, sarmies, tea/coffee and hot chocolate for sale on our sunny verandah. We will also be selling pancakes, candy floss and our Tombola stall will have lots of lovely prizes up for grabs! Don’t forget our raffle is out and about in all the retail shops and other outlets in and around Howick – R5 will stand you a chance to win beautifully made quilts, overnight stays at venues nearby, and other fantastic goodies.

There will also be super stalls for you to do some early Christmas shopping, including jewellery and clothing.

Our Cupcake tent will be exclusively for the cupcakes that you are all encouraged to make and bring in for us to sell. The idea behind the cupcake sale is for you to bake a batch of cupcakes, “dress” them with pretty icing and decorations and donate the sale of the cupcakes back to the uMngeni SPCA to assist us in raising funds for the animals in our care. You stand another chance to win prizes for the “Best Dressed” cupcakes! It’s fun, it’s easy AND you will be supporting a very good cause. Why don’t you hold a tea party at home? Sell them to all your friends and family and bring in your donation before or after the day. You have the whole month of September to get involved in our Cupcake month. Get your colleagues to all make cupcakes, sell them at work, take a pic and we will judge who wins a prize. Who will raise the most money from their cupcakes and win a prize? A bit of healthy (Yes! Cupcakes CAN be healthy!) competition never harmed anyone.

Be sure to bring your friends and family to the SPCA Centre, 39 Main Street, Howick on Saturday 6th September from 08:00 to 11:30 am. Entry is free and parking is available outside the Centre with car guards in attendance.

For more info, please contact Tess on 076 301 4827 or email her at

Looking forward to “stepping into spring” with all our supporters, friends and family!

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

A wonderful” tail wagging” day at our recent 1000 Paws Walk!

Winners of the Sponsorship prize for the most Sponsorship raised, Rachel Manser (left) and Alison Nielsen (right), who together, raised an incredible R13288! Congratulations and thank you! A special mention and grateful thanks to Yvonne Churley, who raised a whopping R9000!

Winners of the Sponsorship prize for the most Sponsorship raised, Rachel Manser (left) and Alison Nielsen (right), who together, raised an incredible R13288! Congratulations and thank you! A special mention and grateful thanks to Yvonne Churley, who raised a whopping R9000!

If I could describe a perfect day in the beautiful Natal Midlands, it would be that of the 13th July 2014 at our annual 1000 Paws Walk for SPCA at Hilton College!

The steering committee of the 1000 Paws Walk, which includes members of all three SPCA’s involved, that of uMngeni, Mooi River and Pietermaritzburg, plus many other organizations such as Rotary, 1st Howick Scouts and The Hilton Lions, spend many, many months planning and executing the smallest of details and the largest of ideas, all culminating in the biggest event on the calendar for the SPCA’s involved.

No matter how much organizing and planning takes place though, the one thing we cannot control is, of course, the weather. This may seem insignificant to some people, but as the entire event takes place outdoors and is aimed (although not limited to) at allowing our beloved pooches to enjoy a 2km or 4km walk with their owners in the lovely plantations of Hilton College, the weather plays an enormous part towards the success of the day.

This year, the day dawned bright and sunshiny, with not a breath of wind or dark cloud in sight. What a delight (and a sigh of relief!) for all of us that worked so hard behind the scenes to ensure the day led to hundreds of happy, panting dogs, loads of wagging tails and not least of all, the smiling, contented faces of all the people, young and old, who joined in the fun of the day.

With an increase of 17% in dogs walking and 26% increase in people attending, we had our best Paws Walk ever! What was extra heart-warming for us, was that folk really made it a family outing, with their entire families (including the furry family) coming along. After the walk, there was plenty to see and do, not to mention lots of goodies to eat at our popular Pancake stall, Tea Garden and Catering stand. The arena events did not disappoint either, with doggie demos, magical Belly Dancing, Tug-o-War, The PMB Caledonian Pipe Band and the choosing of the Most Special Dog adopted from any SPCA, which was won by the lovely Drew family’s adorable doggie, Phoebe.

The arrival of beautifully restored Classic cars, Harley Davidsons and other road bikes created much excitement amongst the crowd gathered. Kiddies had great fun riding the Mechanical Bull, The Rocket jumping castle and rolling along the grass in the popular Groovy Balls. The Doggie Obstacle course saw much action on the field too.

Perhaps the most important aspect and the reason why such a large event is held annually, is to raise very necessary and much needed funds for all three SPCA’s. To this end, all Sponsorships and Donations, as well the overwhelming support we receive from the Public that attend the event each year, led to over R163 000 being raised! All monies raised will be utilised in Outreach Projects across all three SPCA’s areas helping animals of all domestic kind.

Our sincere and grateful vote of thanks to our judges, marshals, volunteers, staff and everyone who  played a part in planning, organising and running of this event. None of this could happen without their amazing support.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

Wedded Blessings

Taryn Marlin and Mike Wyatt on their wedding day. Their love for their animals was very evident on their special day!

Taryn Marlin and Mike Wyatt on their wedding day. Their love for their animals was very evident on their special day!

Your wedding day is always the one day when everyone comes to celebrate your special day and enjoy a fun filled, loved filled celebration of your union! Most guests arrive bearing gifts for the happy couple to begin their life together.

Well, this amazing couple were no different! But they did have a very special twist to their lovely day.

Mike Wyatt and Taryn Marlin were married on the 31st May 2014, in the Natal Midlands. Their day was perfect in every way and they did not want wedding gifts, feeling they have so much to be thankful for already. Instead, they asked their guests to donate pet food to the SPCA. No gift was to be purchased. This was their wish.

There are very few people that would request something like this at their wedding and yet Mike and Taryn insisted upon it, saying the animals needed it more.

We were overwhelmed by their generosity and that of their guests and for once, our storeroom is full! We received many bags of pet food from everyone at the wedding and were astounded by the flow of pet food that came in to our kennels.

The most wonderful part of this for us is that we were able to share their gifts with other SPCA’s that struggle for donations in our area! So we were able to “pay it forward” a few times over, thanks to this kind and compassionate couple that decided to ask their guests for pet food as a gift to us on their day! What a completely unselfish, incredibly generous thing to do and we , uMngeni SPCA extend our heartfelt thanks to them all for making sure the animals in our care are well nourished and warm and healthy.

Mike, who grew up in the Howick area since 1987 and was educated at our local schools, matriculated in 2000. He has always had a love for art and joined Bata a number of years back. In October 2013, he was offered the position of Marketing Director of Bata in Australia and New Zealand and has spent the past month in India on training. Taryn is a Durban girl and is looking forward to their move to Melbourne in September, where Mike will begin his new position with the company.

Guess who is going with them? Yes, their 3 lovable pooches, Chi Chi, Choo and Cody! Not to mention, their adorable cat, Murphy!!

We wish them a lifetime of happiness and a successful move to their new Country and hope that their furry family settle into their new lives with ease and comfort.

We are very grateful for this gesture of charity and thank them from the bottom of our hearts, for this very precious gift.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA


1000 Paws ADThe annual 1000 Paws Walk for SPCA event takes place on Sunday 13 July at Hilton College, with 4km and 2km routes. Entry on the day is R30 per person and R10 per dog, with children under 6 enjoying free access. This fundraising event for dogs and their owners, hosted by the SPCAs of Pietermaritzburg, uMngeni (Howick) and Mooi River, is a great way to have an outing in the winter sun in a safe and central location. To make sure that dogs have as much fun as their owners, here are some tips to consider…

  1. Make sure that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. You should have a record of their annual 5-in-1 and Rabies vaccinations.
  1. Ensure that your dog’s lead or harness fits properly – – imagine how uncomfortable it would be to walk around in too tight clothes! Too loose and your dog could slip out of it. No choke chains please!
  1. Make sure that you don’t push your dog too far, too fast. Watch your pet for heat stress, especially those who don’t often go on walks or are unfit, short-nosed dogs that might generally battle to breathe, and elderly and young dogs. Don’t make puppies walk too far: bring along some way to carry them so you can help them along, or do the shorter, easier 2km walk around the school playing grounds.
  1. Always carry water for your dog when you take them anywhere, and a bowl. There will be watering points along the walks and around the event arena but carry your own too.
  1. Although dog-poop packets are provided on the day, please do bring your own – better too many than not enough! Cleaning up after your dog is a matter of simple hygiene and good manners.
  1. Last year there were 1000 dogs at the 1000 Paws event and no dog fights – perhaps because dogs generally know when they are on ‘public ground’ and behave. Avoid canine confrontations before they start by watching for possible signs of aggression in your own and other dogs – Distract them, possibly with irresistible doggie treats if necessary and with rewards for being a good dog. A vet is in attendance at the event all day for emergencies.
  1. No matter what the emergency or cause, there is never any excuse to leave a dog unattended in a vehicle! It has been proven that even in a car parked in the shade with windows open, the temperature inside goes up by one degree every five minutes.
  1. Finally, a tip for pet owners: wear comfortable clothes and shoes – dress in layers so you can shed as the day (and you) warm up and cool down. Pack blockout, a hat/cap and a walking stick. The main thing is to have a ball with your best friend!

Walkers are urged to obtain Sponsorship forms from family, friends, colleagues and partners to sponsor their dog on the walk. The top contenders for the prize for the most sponsorship raised have brought in over R6000 each in the past! So download a sponsorship form off and get collecting! You can also take a R10 ticket (or more) for our 1000 Paws raffle from outlets in and around Howick, Merrivale and Hilton. Massive prizes to be won!!

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA.

(editorial written by Gaynor Lawson)

uMngeni SPCA needs YOU!

handWith economic times as tough as nails, we are feeling the crunch more than ever. As much as we are here for the animals, and always will be, we are completely dependent on you, the Public and Private/Corporate Sector for funds to assist us in making sure that the welfare of all animals, currently and in the future are treated with kindness, compassion, respect and loyalty. The idea of any kind of cruelty to any animal is abhorrent and totally unacceptable, on every level.

The SPCA receives no funding from national government and all SPCA branches are required to source funding from their own communities to survive.

The uMngeni SPCA needs YOUR help. YOU have the power to prevent and control the spread of people/animal diseases in the poorer areas. Worms, mange and rabies from animals can be transferred to humans and in the rural areas, this is a huge problem.

Your donation will enable your SPCA to extend their services where it is needed the most. The health of both humans and animals alike is of the utmost importance to us. Funding received by you will be used to treat diseases in animals being transferred to people.

How can you help? Well, by donating money to our Society, you will be assisting in ensuring that the spread of diseases is controlled. There is a symbiotic relationship between humans and animals so by donating funds to us, we can help more people in the rural areas contain and control diseases spread by poor health care and less than nutritious food by animals.

We are driven by the people who support us, coming to our events and being involved in the events, helps us raise funds for much needed animal welfare.

Folk, we really, really need you. We are suffering from the economic crisis and need your financial support to allow the Society to continue doing the work we do. We need sponsorships, donations and perhaps, a well-known Patron (Nelson Mandela was the NSPCA’s Patron) who will bring awareness to our cause.

If you can help in any way, please be so kind as to contact me, Tess Fernandez, for more information on this.  I can be reached on 076 301 4827 or via email on

You will not only be doing something for the SPCA, but for yourselves too. Nothing is more rewarding than charity and knowing that your hard earned money is working to prevent cruelty and distress to humans and animals alike.

Thank you.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

Ps – Don’t forget you can collect a 1000 Paws Sponsorship form from any one of our local retail outlets or download it from our website – your support would be most appreciated.

Interacting with wild animals

june16The ethics of interaction programmes involving wild animals have started to be questioned more often in today’s times. Claims of it being done in the name of conservation and education are often heard. But is there any truth in this?

In order to contribute to the conservation of a species, rehabilitation and release of animals should be a priority. However, in almost all of these facilities in which animal interactions take place, animals are bred intensively but are never released. Further the welfare of the animals is often severely undermined in a number of ways.

Females are often forced to have young more often than they would in the wild in order to have a constant supply of cute babies to be used for interactions. This is done by removing the babies when they are just a few days old to be hand raised so that they can be “tamed.” The females then immediately go into heat again and are bred again. This continuous breeding of the females often takes a major toll on their bodies.

The young animals are also seriously compromised by being removed so early from their mothers. They are often fed an inadequate diet which results in their immune systems becoming compromised and the animals are placed at an increased risk of becoming ill.

These young animals are then forced to endure hours of being touched and petted. This not only places them at risk of injury but also disease transmission from humans and vice versa (zoonosis). Once too big to be interacted with the animals are seen as surplus and are often kept in sub-standard conditions or sent off to elsewhere to face an uncertain end. Male lions often end up in the canned hunting industry and the females are fed back into the facilities to continue breeding. And so the cycle continues.

Education plays little role as many of the facilities do not even provide information regarding the species and life in the wild. Furthermore by touching and playing with wild animals the message that they are cute cuddly animals that can be kept as pets or in captivity is portrayed.

The number of animal attacks at facilities that offer interactions is on the increase. People become complacent around these animals and forget that they are wild and dangerous animals which results in injury or even death.

Touching and handling and riding of wild animals is a completely unnatural practice as human contact and interaction is not tolerated or accepted by wild animals in their natural environments. It is therefore completely abnormal and immoral to put animals into a situation whereby they are continuously subjected to conditions that are completely unnatural to them. The welfare of these animals should not be compromised for these facilities to increase their profits.

Please think twice before supporting facilities that allow or encourage hands on interactions with captive wild animals.

(This article is courtesy of the National Council of SPCA’s.)

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

Max the mutt takes top honours at 2014 Township Dog Show

A delighted Mxolisi  Zondi with his winning dog, Max. He won Best in Show at the Township Dog Show on the 18th May 2014.

A delighted Mxolisi Zondi with his winning dog, Max. He won Best in Show at the Township Dog Show on the 18th May 2014.

uMngeni SPCA / Hill’s Township Dog Show – 18 May 2014

Max, a multi-coloured mixed breed puppy owned by Mxolisi Zondi, took top honours at South Africa’s oldest township dog show, the 11th uMngeni SPCA / Hill’s Township Dog Show held at Howick West Stadium, KwaZulu-Natal this Sunday (18 May). Runner up was Casey, an attractive ‘township special’ owned by Bheki Shabalala.

The judges were looking for well-natured, happy healthy dogs; “Well done to Mxolisi and Max! Their relationship is such a loving and happy one that we couldn’t help but choose them as the Best in Show,” said Jenny Henschel of Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Traditionally the show has held in different rural communities surrounding Howick, including Mpophomeni and Lidgetton. This was the first time the show has been held in a more urban area and ninety dogs, from the communities around Howick West Stadium entered. Each dog first attended an open air veterinary clinic where they were de-wormed, dipped and vaccinated for rabies and other diseases.

“It was a very rewarding day and considering it was held in a new area it went very well,” said Dudu Abrahams, uMngeni SPCA’s Operations Manager. “We were very impressed with the condition of the dogs and delighted to find that the majority were already sterilised. The 10 dogs that weren’t are on our list to sterilise this week.”

The winners each received a brand new kennel, certificate, rosette and high quality Hill’s pet food. Every entrant was given a new collar, lead, bowl, blanket and Hill’s food.

Class winners – 2014 uMngeni SPCA / Hill’s Township Dog Show:

  • Puppy in Best Condition: Mxolisi Zondi with Max; 2nd Sibusiso Vilakazi with Doggy; 3rd Mlondi Mhlongo with Spotty
  • Best Male Handler of a Puppy: Pumlane Ngcobo – Takkie; 2nd Sihle Mnikathi with Spotty; 3rd Michael Ngcobo with Nombeza
  • Adult Dog in Best Condition: Dalip Narainsparsath – Toughie; 2nd Duduzi Zondi with Tom; 3rd Spheshile Dladla with Puppy
  • Best Male Handler of an Adult Dog: Bheki Shabalala with Casey; 2nd Philasane Ngunuka with Scooby; 3rd Mandla Khuzwayo with Puppy
  • Best Female Handler of an Adult Dog: Gladys Mkhabise with Puppy; 2nd Asanda Mthembu with Kitty; 3rd Jaya Singh with Hidy

We wish to thank you everyone who assisted with the day, we are most grateful for all your input.

Media release care of Cathy Williams (Paula Wilson Media Consulting)

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez

PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

uMngeni SPCA at “Life After Work” Seminar in Hilton

uMngeni SPCA’s PRO, Tess Fernandez and Bequest Liaison Officer, Val Hollis, will be at the “Life After Work” Seminar on Saturday the 24th May. They look forward to meeting you there.

uMngeni SPCA’s PRO, Tess Fernandez and Bequest Liaison Officer, Val Hollis, will be at the “Life After Work” Seminar on Saturday the 24th May. They look forward to meeting you there.

We are always thrilled to meet new people and to say hello to our existing friends too, and we have an exciting chance to do this once again, at the “Life After Work” Seminar being held on the 24th May at Grace College on the Hilton College Road in Hilton.

We have the opportunity to say hello to all our friends of the Animals at this wonderful Seminar for the 55 to 75 age group, before the Seminar begins at 8am, during tea break and again, at lunch time. The Seminar finishes at 2pm.

We will have general information available regarding our Society as well as specific information on our Bequests Society Programme. Our PRO, Tess Fernandez and our Bequest Liaison Officer, Val Hollis will be on hand to answer all questions. As a Non-Profit Organization, we are always looking for volunteers and helpers to assist us with various jobs within our Society as well as increasing our membership numbers to enable us to spread the word about the welfare and care of our Animal Kingdom, who cannot speak for themselves. Every bit of help and support is always gratefully accepted.

So, for anyone who has retired from work life and is still looking for an activity or a charity organization that is passionate about preventing cruelty and neglect to all animals, perhaps give us a thought? We cannot promise that the work will be as stimulating as perhaps your career environment was, but what we DO promise, is the knowledge that you will receive, of knowing you have helped save many animals’ lives, that what you did, mattered, that no matter how small or great your gesture is, you made a difference. You cared enough to get involved.

We hope to see lots of familiar faces there, as well as new ones. Please don’t be shy, come and have a chat to us about anything you would like to learn regarding the uMngeni SPCA. I promise we are as friendly (albeit not as furry, I hope!) as our four legged and feathered friends.

To book your place at the Seminar, please contact Pam Bircher on 082 454 1307 email:


Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

Join us for the most heart-warming dog show in the land!

Best in Show winner, Ranger, with his proud and devoted owner, Nkhanyiso Mbambo

Best in Show winner, Ranger, with his proud and devoted owner, Nkhanyiso Mbambo

The largest ever turnout is expected at South Africa’s oldest township dog show, the 11th uMngeni SPCA / Hill’s Township Dog Show at Howick West Stadium, on Sunday 18 May. Hundreds of dogs will compete for top honours; pedigree is irrelevant, what counts is health, behaviour and that special bond between pet and owner. All breeds, shapes and sizes can enter, but entry is exclusively for dogs that come from local resource-poor communities.

Last year golden boy Ranger won overall Best in Show, thanks to his friendly nature, well-brushed coat and the mutual admiration evident between him and his owner, Nkhanyiso Mbambo. Runner up, Reserve Best in Show, went to Skinny, a Boerboel type dog, described by chief judge Adrienne Olivier as a “gentle giant”, who is clearly adored by his owner Nonhlanhla Weli.

“We’ve been involved for over a decade and see the visible impact this dog show and the uMngeni SPCA’s other outreach work is having,” said Lynda Horne of Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “The entrants, all of whom come from low-income and impoverished homes, are usually in excellent condition and well-cared for.”

This event is more than just a show; before entering the show ring each dog will be treated at an open air veterinary clinic (where each dog gets de-wormed, dipped, then vaccinated for rabies and other diseases). They are also given a new collar, lead, bowl, blanket and premium Hill’s pet food.

A great line up of entertainment is on the cards with line dancing, belly dancing and Zulu dancing delighting the crowd before the start of the dog show.

Gates open at 9am, entrance is R5 per dog. There is no cost for spectators, although donations to the SPCA will be welcome!

For more info visit or contact uMngeni SPCA on 033 330 4557 / 076 301 4827 or email

Hope to see you there for a special day of heart-warming fun.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

Meet the team

Njabula Hlongwane

Njabula HlongwaneNjabula is a Receptionist and a Trainee Inspector. He helps out at the front desk with general office work and assists Jean and Linda when needed. He has been with the uMngeni SPCA for 18 months and is our friendly man who always has a smile on his face when you meet him.

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Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem. ~Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

by uMngeni SPCA

We support ONLY the circuses that DO NOT use animals of any kind to entertain the crowds. The use of wild animals in Circus acts is inhumane

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did you know ~ Elephants weigh about 5000kg, cows can weigh around 4000 to 5000kg! Like humans, Ellies tend to be right handed.Clever Ellie!

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It's raining, it's pouring...keep your pets cosy and warm with a blanket or two and give them lots of cuddles! <3

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"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

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