The Story of a Shelter.
Herman H le Roux
It starts with one dog.
Then one more, then one more. Then you have ten. You know that you cannot take in more. Maybe someone gives you a piece of land, maybe you work and you rent a place. You set up a few enclosures. You build a few kennels.
Then, there are more dogs, some cats, and more dogs. You have 50. Your salary can no longer pay for all the dog food. You ask people to donate. Some of the dogs become ill, you do not know how you will pay for their vet bills.
There are more dogs, and more. You have 200. You need to get staff to help with all the dogs. You need to pay them. You take out a loan.
One morning you open the shelter and there is a box outside. With puppies in. They are only a few days old. The next day there are more dogs. More cats.
Someone brings in a dog, you tell her yes you will take it but can she keep it for one more night while you make space. She drives off, opens the car door and throws the dog out of the car.
More dogs. This time a mom with eight puppies. This man brings in his 12 year old Jack Russell. No longer wanted.
Some people comment on how these dogs do not have quality of life. You get tears in your eyes because you know that is a lie. They may not live in homes but they never go hungry, they are always loved.
There are more dogs.
One day when you realize there are 400 cats and 600 dogs. 1000 souls.
You feed them 400 kilograms of food per day, your vet bills are tens, hundreds of thousands. You need to employ 20 people, people that must be paid.
Sometimes you stand in the corner and you cry, you get angry at all these people throwing away living beings like garbage.
Other days you smile because another one was adopted.
Then, there are more dogs, more cats.
It never stops. It never ends.
This is not a made up story by a writer, this is the reality of Wollies Animal Project and many, many other shelters in South Africa and all over the world. These shelters all need your help.
Without your assistance, these animals will all die. They will have no place to go.
Please, it is my most earnest plea that you do not support breeding and that you get involved in your local shelter. You do not have to have money; your time and efforts will make the world of difference to them.
To the world they are just shelter animals, to us, they are the world.
From a shelter volunteer.
Photo by Janey Anker