Getting Down and Dirty At The SPCA This Christmas
’Tis is the season of goodwill toward men – and all creatures great and small – and this year, instead of sending out corporate Christmas gifts, the people at Hill’s gave their time and effort to a worthy cause very close to their hearts. The entire team of 31 spent a full day at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA in Grassy Park, Cape Town – walking dogs, cleaning kennels, mucking out stables and assisting in theatre – doing any task that needed to be done.
“It was good to be able to help at grass roots level,” said Rina Cronwright, volunteer dog walker and Managing Director of Hill’s Pet Nutrition “and it was very evident that in these tough economic times, organisations like the SPCA are committed to working harder than ever to care for animals in the community. Everyone really enjoyed the day, in spite of the gale force winds and rain. It was a very positive experience and we all felt we had made a small contribution.”
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA - which is one of 90 SPCAs in South Africa - was delighted to have extra help from a group of animal lovers that included qualified veterinary nurses and a vet.
“We have one of the largest veterinary hospitals in the country, where we carry out up to 80 surgical procedures a day, as well as treat dozens of sick and injured cats and dogs in our outpatients and mobile clinics,” said the Cape of Good Hope’s CEO, Allan Perrins. “There are about 200 stray and homeless animals in our kennels and we have a farm yard and a dedicated horse care unit. The capable and helping hands offered by the Hill’s volunteers made our considerable task that bit easier and we are enormously grateful for their support”.
The Hill’s volunteers split into work teams where they could put their skills and experience to best use. Carla Bath and Colette Blanchard of the Marketing Department, both keen riders, mucked out the stables together with five colleagues. “Together we cleaned out 56 bags of manure. We were exhausted by the end of the day, and didn’t smell great either, but it was very rewarding and well worth the effort,” said Bath.
Eight of the veterinary-trained staff worked in the busy hospital, helping feed patients, administer injections and assist with sterilizations. Lianie Els did X-rays, whilst Lynda Horne and Joeleen Rigby stitched up one hapless dog’s tongue. “It was great to be hands-on again,” said Hill’s veterinarian Dr Guy Fyvie, “particularly for such a worthy cause.”
Michelle Bailey, one of the sixteen Hill’s volunteers that worked in the kennels, fell for the charms of one of her charges and hopes to adopt: “This cuddly ginger and white cat just kept nudging me and purring as I cleaned out his cage - how could I resist?” said Bailey.
The SPCA is benefitting from Hill’s involvement long after the volunteer day - having seen the SPCA staff washing blankets by hand, Hill’s was prompted to buy an industrial washing machine for the kennels.
“As a company we donate millions of rands worth of food to animal welfare organisations around the country every year, but this was different. To be able to give of our time and energy for something we firmly believe in and at the same time have a day of friendship, fun and caring, was a very special experience and we hope that in a small way, we made a difference,” said Cronwright.
For more information on the Cape of Good Hope SPCA or to volunteer visit www.spca-ct.co.za or call them on (021) 700 4140.