Caring for our staff.

Another very successful workshop was held on Compassion Fatigue by Dr Marlet Tromp. ‘To work is to earn a living, make money or make a difference. The challenge in the SPCA is not only to deal with the magnitude of people’s emotions, but also the emotional connection with animals and their suffering. The intention of this workshop is to understand compassion fatigue and manage these emotions to work preventatively.’

Celebrating years of selfless service to uMngeni SPCA

The uMngeni SPCA recently held an informal tea to honour and thank the very special volunteers that work at our SPCA Centre and have been selflessly serving our Society for many, many years.

Anne Smith has been the driving force behind establishing our Gardeners’ Corner, firstly at Campbell Road and later at our Fundraising Centre in Main Street, Howick. She has been with us through thick and thin, planning, executing and running our highly successful plant nursery. Anne not only plants from other nurseries at very special prices, but she also goes to Kloof SPCA to fetch loads of plants donated from their nursery and she also pots out slips, cuttings, divisions of huge matted plants and other material that is kindly donated by gardeners. Whatever else she does with her magic wand to produce the huge stock of fine plants, seedlings, shrubs and trees to sell at competitive prices, I wouldn’t know, but the measure of her success is in the band of loyal supporters who always look for their garden needs at the SPCA Centre before they even think of going anywhere else.

Anne was honoured for her years of dedicated service with a magnificent hand painted plaque and a lovely stone bench that will now hold pride of place in our Gardeners Corner and be known as “Anne’s Nook.” Horace Vilakazi, a valued member of our team and Anne’s right hand man was also thanked for his loyal service.

The tea also served to thank other very special volunteers that have done so much to allow our Society to flourish under difficult economic circumstances and other trying times. They have dedicated hours and hours of their personal time, to our SPCA, showing only care, concern and love for the animals that we are dedicated to helping. Their smiles and happy banter whenever they are around make them an absolute pleasure to work with every day.

Jenny Rooken-Smith, who lovingly takes care of our book section of the SPCA was also honoured with a beautiful wooden plaque. Her room where she sorts out all the many books we receive, will now be known as the “Jenny Rooken-Smith Room.” It is not an easy task maintaining, sorting and arranging the collection of books, yet Jenny does it with complete ease and care.

The other key volunteers that help and take care of our SPCA Centre, were all thanked with an exquisite hand painted plaque that holds pride of place in our reception area at the SPCA centre. It reads “This plaque commemorates all the many hours that so many caring people spend assisting our SPCA, each in their own special way.”

Thank you to each and every person that volunteers to assist us with stamping out neglect, abuse and cruelty to animals.

Please note that our Howick SPCA retail shop that was located in the Spar Centre in Harvard Street has moved to 10 Main Street in Howick, opposite Capitec Bank. There is ample parking available behind the building.

Until next time, take car

PRO for uMngeni SPCA

Horace Vilakazi and Anne Smith with the beautifully hand painted plaque that holds pride of place next to Anne’s bench in our Gardener’s Corner.

SPCA Helps Funda Nenja Township Dogs

fundaLast week the volunteers from Funda Nenja, the township dog training initiative in Mpophomeni, brought a little sick puppy named Danger in to the uMngeni SPCA.   His young owner had given them his house number but couldn’t remember his phone number.   Thankfully, with care and treatment Danger recovered but when our Field Officer tried to return him there was no such house number.  Luckily the boy came to training this week to ask about his puppy.   Inspector Dudu Abraham and Field Assistant Dingaan Tshabalala immediately popped Danger into their vehicle and took him out to the training venue at Zamathuli School.   By the time they arrived there was a queue of dogs waiting for SPCA assistance.   One tan bitch had just weaned pups and her owners no longer wanted her, they only kept a puppy, one dog had a suspected broken leg and another pup was obviously seriously ill.   There was also a line of dogs waiting to have muthi put on their ears, some so badly bitten by flies that they had open bleeding sores.  The training classes are full of young puppies and several bitches were clearly pregnant underlining the desperate need for constant sterilisation drives to keep numbers under control.   SPCA is all about prevention of cruelty and sterilisation is prevention at a primary level.    We already have an impressive record for outreach work, including 100 sterilisations in January alone.   With additional resources made possible by public donations we can do even more.  We have the passion and the expertise to drive it.   We just need the funds!     Please mark any donations for this sterilisation campaign accordingly.   Thank you.

Our animal shelter in Campbell Road has been inundated with animals for the last couple of months.   Fortunately we have also done exceptionally well with our adoptions but our facilities are still very full.   Due to seasonal factory and supplier shut downs we have found our major donations of food have fallen off and consequently our stocks have run very low.   This obviously means that we are having to go out and buy pet food at normal retail prices.   This time of year is what we call “kitten and puppy season” with little bundles of joy in every available space so we are appealing for donations of dry or soft food particularly for puppies and kittens.

In just ten days time we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day:  time to show our love, not just for our romantic sweethearts, but also for our soul mates, best friends and companions including of course our beloved pets.  The uMngeni SPCA will be holding its annual Valentine’s Day Tea at the Centre, 39 Main Street, Howick on Saturday 12th February.   We do hope you will join us for tea/coffee and delicious homemade eats anytime between 9 and 12.   Bring a friend (two- or four-legged!) and be spoiled on this special occasion.   Valentine’s Day is about hearts, roses and beautiful poems so spend the morning browsing through our wonderful selection of roses and other plants as well as our fully stocked shelves of books to suit all tastes including the romantic and poetic.

Heather Somerville, PRO, uMngeni SPCA

Wild Animals Belong in the Wild

Nambiti Single cheetahHaving just had family visiting from UK we needed to find them some big game without travelling all the way to the Kruger or Zululand.   We’d heard about a private “Big Five” Game Reserve just outside Ladysmith.   We sincerely hoped that the big cats weren’t in small camps inside the main park as they are in the Lion Park at Ashburton and there was only one way to find out.   Having decided that what we would save in time and travelling costs we could put towards the seemingly expensive price tag we went ahead and booked three nights at Lions Rock Private Game Lodge within the Nambiti Private Game Reserve.   What a lovely time we had; worth every penny, and just up the road.

The park is rolling, rugged, grassland with bushy gorges, a river and plenty of dams.   The area of open plains reminded us of the Masai Mara in Kenya with a variety of plains game keeping a careful look out for the lions and cheetah that, after all, have to eat.   In a wetland area we saw pairs of blue cranes, crowned cranes and secretary birds and many other lovely birds including a first for us, a golden bishop.

On our first evening game drive our ranger took us to find the elephants.   We could hear them trumpeting but they were in thick bush so we didn’t see them.   We all wondered what they were making so much noise about and our ranger said that he had previously heard them making a big fuss when a new baby was born.   Two days later we found the elephants with several calves of varying sizes including one brand new one.   We also had the thrill of following two lionesses moving at a steady trot on some mission or other.    We encountered the buffalo on several occasions, saw rhino and spent a long time following a coalition of three young male cheetahs striding through the waving yellow grass, finally climbing up a fallen tree to take a good look at the plains beyond.

These animals have ten thousand hectares to roam in, living, breeding and hunting as nature intended, in the wild.  No cages for them, no human contact and definitely no circus tricks.   The National Council of SPCAs has always advocated that “Wild Animals Belong in the Wild” and has just launched a campaign against wild animals performing in circuses.   The picture of a cute lion cub walking on a collar and lead begs the question “What is to become of that cub in the years ahead?”

The NSPCA Campaign, “Celebrate the Wildness of Wild Animals”, encourages people not to support circuses which have wild animal acts. Wild animals should not be subjected to the conditions of circus life, which involve forced transport, human handling, noise, trailer movement, confinement and crowds of people. “We do not believe that performing inappropriate and unnatural tricks in the name of entertainment fosters respect for wild animals. Wild animals belong in the wild! We invite you to join the many famous celebrities and individuals who have joined forces with us and signed the pledge “NOT TO SUPPORT WILD ANIMAL ACTS IN CIRCUSES” on the NSPCA website”.

Heather Somerville, PRO, uMngeni SPCA