St Francis Animal Rescue and Aloe Veterinary Clinic making a difference!

Months of planning and preparation and meeting after meeting between the team from St Francis Animal Rescue and Dr Nerine Botha finally saw their efforts realised last Saturday (16th July) when veterinary surgeons from around the the Eastern Cape joined Dr Botha for the St Francis Animal Rescue Spayathon. The experience was almost surreal and will forever be remembered by all those who were there on the day as emotional, heart-warming and life-affirming.

Publicised with hundreds of leaflets and posters produced in three languages, inviting residents of our Sea Vista community to bring their dogs and cats to the Community Hall for sterilization, the organisers really had no inkling as to how effective their efforts would be. Right up until registration day on Friday they had no idea how many pet owners, if any, would turn up with their animals. All were enormously relieved and gratified when, despite the cold and windy Friday, one pet owner after another queued and waited patiently for their turn to be admitted into the Sea Vista Community Hall to register their pet.

The registration event in itself was a major undertaking as more and more people, from the young to the old, queued with their pets as the small team of volunteers carefully weighed, treated them with anti-flea medication and recorded the owners and pets details on registration forms. All the animals were then tagged with yellow labels and the pets ears marked with indelible ink so as to ensure all pets that arrived the following day were indeed properly registered. At the end of the day the tally showed that 58 pets had been registered, just two shy of what what the committee were hoping for to make the event a success. Suitably satisfied with the day’s efforts the exhausted team set off for home to prepare for the big event the next day.

Unfortunately the weather Gods decided not to play ball and Saturday morning dawned with a heavily overcast sky with rain threatening. Well before the scheduled start time groups of volunteers arrived, scurrying through puddles, carrying pots of soup, blankets and themselves into the hall. All ready and prepared to receive the arriving patients so the rain arrived but so amazing was the organising that it took no time to get the pets out of the wet and in line to be pre-medicated  and ready for surgery. As an onlooker standing in pouring rain it truly was remarkable to see just how efficiently things were being handled in spite of the weather and for this the organisers truly have to be congratulated. In the weeks before our Spayathon, Dr Botha encouraged eight colleagues and friends to volunteer precious time and participate in this Spayathon and achieve her goal of reducing litters of unwanted puppies and kittens in the township.

Without the services of the vets who offered their skills on the day, none of this would have been possible and thanks must go to Dr Nerine Botha, Dr. Annelise Barker, Dr Elmien Kotze, Dr Marlies Bohm, Dr Didi Roos, Dr Illse Jenkinson, Dr Taneale McFarlane, Dr Robbie McFarlane, Dr Francis Solomon. Assisting the vets were four student volunteers who are hoping to become veterinarians – Ulrich Waldeck, Coral-Jade Dippenaar, Simon Schwitter and Siya Hallom. Vets brought their own tables and surgical equipment while Dr Botha organized oxygen, anaesthetic medicines and various surgical requirements to perform the sterilizations.

Vets operated in unison from 8.30 am until 3.30 in the afternoon, ably assisted by sister, Juanita Raath and nurse, Adri Engelbrecht .  Aloe Veterinary clinic staff on hand during the day included Ria Aliquo, Laura Robson, John Tom and Julia Geelbooi. Prior to the event St Francis Animal Rescue put out a plea for volunteers to sit with dogs to calm them before their surgeries and watch carefully as they recovered from anaesthetic. In the true spirit that seems to pervade in the residents St Francis, the community rallied as it always does, and over thirty people offered their help. After surgery, additional volunteers arrived to ferry sleepy dogs, cats and owners to their homes in Sea Vista. As a parting thank you to pet owners, St Francis Animal Rescue offered each sterilized dog a collar and leash, a bag of dog or cat food and a blanket or towel, to take home.

The End Count – 71 animals (66 dogs and 5 cats).

“The organizers are pleased and proud that a total of 71 animals (66 dogs and 5 cats) were sterilized during our Spayathon. They are also grateful beyond words to all supporters and helpers – and especially the residents of Sea Vista who entrusted them with the care of their beloved animals on the day”. St Francis Animal Rescue and Dr Nerine Botha would like to thank all those who participated in this hugely successful event  particularly Dr Annalise Barker, Dr Elmien Kotze, Dr Marlies Bohm, Dr Didi Roos, Dr Ilse Jenkinson, Dr Taneale McFarlane, Dr Robbie McFarlane, Dr Francis Solomon.

Grateful thanks from St Francis Animal Rescue and Dr Nerine Botha to sponsors and helpers

  • Cape St Francis Resort for kindly providing accommodation for visiting vets.
  • Jeff and Liesel Clause – St Francis Links for platters of finger food for vets and volunteers,
  • Thanks to The Village SuperSpar for generous donations of dog food.
  • Pennypinchers for the workbenches
  • Little Venice – Canal Cruise For State Vets
  • Merial – Vaccines
  • Kyron – Sutures, Chlorhexidine, De-Wormers
  • Hills SA – Food
  • Royal Canin SA – Food
  • Clini Sut Sa – Suture Materials
  • Cipla – Fiprotec And Cipla Band
  • MSD – Vaccines
  • Angela Cadman – Gently Worn – Cutting And Sewing Surgical Drapes
  • SMHart offered a security guard to keep watch over the Community Hall on Friday evening.
  • Thanks to Marcel West for donations of blankets, towels, dog collars and food.
  • To Gwen Couper and friends, including Desiree, Celia, Karen and Gwen – who set up a soup kitchen for Sea Vista residents.
  • To Colleen Camp for soup and cakes and Dee and Tracy for cupcakes and meringues.
  • Michelle Vassilou – Soup
  • Little Venice – Karen & James Jooste – Coffee, Sugar, Milk, Cups – Soup
  • Last, but not least, a big vote of thanks to Emlyn Horne and Sacha Park for video-taping and photographing this event for us.

And not to be forgotten all those who volunteered the time to comfort the animals prior to and after surgery. This event would not have been possible without you. The St Francis Animal Rescue committee comprises Susan Rae Fox, Verna Couper, Bernice Katakuzinos and Heidi Penfold supported by Liesl van Vuuren and Stephanie Ernsten who run the Pet Clinic every Thursday in Sea Vista.

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