With big floppy ears and a wagging tail, Flippy, a cross breed, walks through the African Tails home as though he owns the place and nuzzles Veronica Nel, the NGO’s manager.
Flippy was rescued from the streets and has been in the care of the African Tails team for the past five months. He is strong and has a healthy black coat but was once fragile and malnourished. Like many of the animals at the Rugby-based organisation, he was given a second chance at a healthy life.
The need for dogs in poverty-stricken communities to be shown love and attention was noticed by African Tails founders, Yale Fialkov and Janna Josephs.
They had rescued a stray puppy in Dunoon who they nursed to health, and subsequently created the African Tails organisation in 2006 to ensure that stray dogs always have a nurturing home to go to.
The organisation now makes a weekly trip into their neighbouring areas, as well as communities in Atlantis and Dunoon to locate any stray dogs that may require medical attention.
“We started in 2006 when our now board members decided to create a haven for stray dogs, but the reality is that there are just too many of them (dogs) out there, this is why sterilisation is our main focus. We want to stop over population and litters of puppies so that there is less neglect, disease and abuse,” said Ms Nel.
The organisation has managed to re-home 1 700 dogs, sterilised 9 500 dogs and medically treated 2 309 dogs since its inception in 2006.
“Our main focus is sterilisation but when you work in a community, they turn to you for other things as well. So we assist in helping injured animals as well, and the welfare gives us reduced rates. They enable us to do what we do,” said Ms Nel.
The staff at African Tails all have a passion for animals, and spend their days nursing dogs which are extremely malnourished or injured. Ms Nel recalled an incident in which they found a “little bag of bones in the sand” and discovered that it was a puppy.
“The puppy couldn’t even stand on its legs. It was anaemic and also had tick virus. We rescued him and took him to the vet who told us that he was a hell of fighter because his organs should’ve packed up due to the condition he was in.
“On the third day with us he had bronchitis, but we nursed him and he was rehabilitated, fed up and re-homed,” said Ms Nel.
The organisation does not have a kennel facility but rehabilitates and house trains the animals they find, so that their new adoptive parents receive a healthy dog.
African Tails needs more volunteers to assist on sterilisation day, and to look after the dogs after they recover from surgery.
* Call Lauren van Vuuren on 021 510 7360 if you can help.