Tessa van Heerden, in collaboration with Spay-A-Stray, saves and takes care of many helpless stray, neglected and abused animals within the impoverished communities of East London.
Van Heerden said she started the Furry Godmother Township Animal Outreach Programme 10 ten years ago.
“I was passing the then-developing Nompumelelo township almost every da
y and noticed more and more dogs foraging for whatever they could find. to eat. I realised that there was a great need to assist these animals.
“It was a cold morning when I first came across a pup that was tangled in fallen barb wire fencing and while releasing the pup, I heard a faint whimpering nearby.
“On a pile of rubble and broken glass, I came upon a female dog, a mere skeleton tied with wire embedded deeply into her neck, leaving her no room to move. This I carefully removed bit by bit to set her free,” she said.
She said she founded the Furry Godmother project out of desperation to provide for dog and cat food and basic medical supplies, but there simply is never enough of either.
Their focus area currently is Nompumelelo Township, Happy Valley and Cecilia Makiwane Hospital but if food and funds allow, they assist wherever there is a need.
“I try to maintain a steady supply of food to township animals in distress by running the feeding programme on a 10ten-day rotational cycle. However, it is a struggle and a great challenge to maintain this outreach because of the shortage of food and veterinary medical supplies. for treating the animals. on the ground. Often one such act of compassion is the tipping point between life or death for these animals,” Van Heerden said.
She added that the initiative of a township sterilization programme run by Spay-A-Stray, which works hand in hand with The Furry Godmother, is also making a difference in preventing the suffering of the animals.
In East London there are only two shelters that take in stray animals and both of these organisations are full to the brim as the breeding of dogs and cats has exploded.
Van Heerden requested members of the public to assist with donations of unwanted goods to The Furry Godmother, as well as dog and cat food.
“Animals are living creatures just as humans and therefore experience the same feelings of hunger, pain, cold, love, affection and loyalty. We urge each and every person out there to make a difference by having their own pets sterilized and if at all possible to assist with the feeding and sterilisation of stray cats and dogs living in and around their homes or place of work.
“It only takes that one moment in time and that animal wants to believe that the moment will last forever and it never wants to let it go. The only thing they have to give in return is love and that love is immeasurable,” she concluded.
For more information, call Louise Impey on 082-578-4257.