MySchool MyVillage My Planet encourages people to support their favourite animal beneficiary and to “adopt, don’t shop” this festive season.
South Africa – Animal shelters and organisations across South Africa are filled with countless abandoned and stray animals, according to a report by the SABC. Animal welfare organisations often report that their kennels are at capacity and the smaller organisations often cannot take on any more animals until some are adopted.
“In South Africa in particular, many animal welfare have found that as the economic climate gets tougher, many people are surrendering their pets as they simply can no longer afford to care for them any longer,” says Tara McGovern, Communications, Digital & Resource Development for the SPCA.
“We also find that during the holiday season there is an increase in the number of pets abandoned as some people make the incredibly careless and cruel decision to go away and choose to abandon their pets in order to have a long holiday.”
These are just a few of the reasons why South Africa’s animal welfare organisations and rescue centres are packed to the brim. Having too many animals in these organisations, however, can often have long-lasting and devastating effects on animals. These animal organisations only have a finite number of staff and volunteers and, as a result, cannot spend time with every single animal in their care every day. Overcrowding at shelters also stretches the food and medical budgets of these much-needed organisation. And while some members of the public are willing to step up and support, many of the animals still require care. Overcrowding also increases stress on the animals and shelters must be mindful that warehousing animals is cruel in itself.
“Sadly there are still those people who want younger animals versus the option of adopting an older one in need of a home,” explains McGovern.
“The reality is that many people are attracted to the ‘cute factor’ of a younger puppy or kitten, overlooking the urgent reality that sees animals of all ages needing a home and love. As a result, older animals are often overlooked in shelters and, sadly, some will be abandoned when a family has outgrown them.”
The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet community loyalty programme is passionate about animal welfare in South Africa and Pieter Twine, General Manager of MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, echoes McGovern’s sentiments.
“In our communities, we see so many stray animals that get taken in by the SPCA and other animal welfare organisations,” says Twine.
“We appreciate their hard work all year round, but especially during this holiday period where we see more animals in need of a home. We also appreciate our supporters who continue to swipe their cards and raise funds for organisations like these, assisting them to continue to do the important work they do.”
McGovern has come to learn what a difference in adopting shelter animals can make in the life of the animal as well as to the person adopting them. Below are a few of her top reasons why you should consider adopting animals from shelters.
Three reasons to consider adopting a dog from a shelter:
- Adopting older dogs from a shelter is really giving them a second lease on life while offering them a sense of home and belonging. You not only save their life but the life of the next animal that will take their place in the adoption kennels.
- Getting a puppy is a lot of hard work that requires time and commitment. You will have to go through the process of house training them from scratch. Dogs who have been in a shelter or kennels for a while are often already house-trained
- A dog that is older will be socialised and generally, just want to relax and be a companion to their human friend.
Three reasons to consider adopting a cat from a shelter:
- You don’t have to worry about initial costs for “getting them done”. Cats who have been in a shelter are spayed/neutered and will be fully up-to-date with their vaccines, microchip and de-worming.
- There are few surprises with cats who come from a shelter. By the time you adopt a cat, staff and volunteers at the shelter will be able to tell you the personality traits of the feline friend as they would have spent a lot of time getting to know them. If you’re looking for a cat with a specific temperament – playful, active, calm or friendly – you will most likely be able to get it from animal welfare.
- If you live alone and you’re toying with the idea of getting a pet, cats make excellent companions – especially for those who live in apartments. They are “relatively” low maintenance and often enjoy a good snuggle.
Three reasons to adopt other types of animals from a shelter:
- Adopting a rescue horse is perhaps not high on everyone’s list of how to acquire a horse, but don’t dismiss the idea just yet. You will also have peace of mind that the shelter or organisation that you are adopting from would have monitored the horse while it was with them, so you there would be very few surprises when it comes to the personality, health and temperament of the horse.
- When it comes to rabbits, adopting a rabbit is a great idea for those who want a similar companionship to what a dog would provide, but aren’t able to do daily walks. Rabbits are also easily trained and can be very low maintenance and loving pet.
- Adopting an animal from a shelter or organisation is simply a great idea. It saves the life of the animal that you are adopting, but it also helps ease the issue of overpopulation at these organisations helping them to offer care to many more animals in need.
So, the next time you are considering adding a pet to the family, check out your local animal shelters first. There are so many furry friends just waiting to be welcomed into a loving home. And if, for various reasons, you can’t adopt you can still support them in other ways.
To become a supporter of animal welfare organisations or animal shelters, sign up for free as a MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet supporter at www.myschool.co.za or download the App. You can select up to three causes that matter to you. Every time you swipe your card at a participating retailer, a donation is made to your beneficiaries on your behalf, all at absolutely no cost to you.