Aug 17, 2016

Registration for 2nd Annual Community Spay Day

Ntfwalamkhona dip tank in the early morning
Ntfwalamkhona dip tank in the early morning

From mid May to June 24, 2016, Vusumnotfo and Swaziland Animal Welfare Society (SAWS) staff conducted registration for our 2nd Annual Community Spay Day (since held on June 25, 2016).

At 2 chiefdoms, 7 dip tanks, 3 primary schools, 1 high school, and 1 police station we conducted education and registration sessions. We explained about the basic practices of good care for dogs and cats and also how to use these practices to promote empathy and responsibility in young children. Afterwards people registered their dogs and cats for the upcoming spay day. 

Although we were one community over from the location of our 1st Community Spay Day at Mshingishingini, it was very encouraging that at each session, a person would freely share that they had a family member whose dog or cat had been spayed in 2014. In the rural Swazi context, sharing personal positive stories in a public forum is a sign that people are starting to appreciate the results of a new concept.  As one man said "my dog stays at home now and is part of the family. He runs up to greet me when I arrive back and this never happened before".

The level of interest was such that 201 dogs and 12 cats were registered for 123 operations and 90 medical wellness checks. Although we suspected that it might not be possible to treat this number of animals in a single community spay day, we also did not want to limit people.

So we took this as a challenge to do our best and strongly encouraged everyone who had registered to arrive early on the spay day. On behalf of the Spay Day Team, I am pleased to announce the results of Vusumnotfo’s 2nd Annual Community Spay Day on June 25 - 54 animals sterilized and 115 additional dogs & cats received necessary medical treatment. Wow!

In my next reports I will be sharing photos and detals of these amazing results. We are now getting calls from other communities asking “when can Vusumnotfo and SAWS do this in our community?” - so we really appreciate your continued support.

Community member sharing positive results
Community member sharing positive results
Simon Mamba (SAWS) explaining how to register
Simon Mamba (SAWS) explaining how to register
Heading home after cattle dipping
Heading home after cattle dipping
May 17, 2016

PET CARE DAY @ HLANGANANI PRIMARY SCHOOL

Want a Friend? Be a Friend!  booklet
Want a Friend? Be a Friend! booklet

SAWS was invited to attend the Pet Care Day at Hlanganani Primary School in Pigg’s Peak, Northern Swaziland to present the Want a Friend? Be a Friend! booklet produced by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, the World Health Organization and 2 South African sponsors. This booklet is aimed at ensuring that children learn how to treat pets properly and how to avoid bites, which of course are the main source of Rabies infections whilst at the same time improving their English and comprehension.

The day’s events included the Want a Friend? Be a Friend! being circulated through the school with each class taking 1 page to work on (as they only had 30 books), there were also games, animal talks, face painting and a demonstration on how to bath a dog without getting soap in its eyes (see photos)

The students were fully aware of Rabies and what they should do if bitten, as they had been taught that last year (they proudly told us). We asked how many had pets, and the majority had dogs – very few cats.

This school adopted 2 kittens about 6 months ago in an effort to encourage awareness and care of pets, this has worked very well, with most of the children now coming to the office at break time to talk, feed or play with them. In Swazi society this is a great forward step.

I am also pleased to let you all know that we just recevied permission from both Kandwandwe Chiefdom and the Swaziland Veterinary Association for another Community Spay Day on June 25, 2016.  We are very excited about this.  Kandwandwe Chiefdom is close to Mshingishingini Chiefdom where we previously held a Community Spay Day. When Vusumnotfo went last Saturday to request permission, it was clear that they had heard good things about the activity and were very pleased that it was coming to their community this time. 

It is for this reason that we have extended the budget for this project. With many Thanks for your continued assistance in helping us make this happen. 

Every one helping to wash
Every one helping to wash
Feb 9, 2016

Progressive Change

Thobile and son
Thobile and son

When you view the last picture in this report (unfortunately, not an uncommon sight), you will appreciate how the lack of animal care results in difficult animals, which drives people’s fear of their own dogs or cats, which contributes to the continued rough treatment of these animals... As children take what they see daily as normal, this cycle is compounded negatively.

Contrast this with a person who has experienced the enjoyment of interacting with a well cared for cat or dog.

As I live right next to our office and training site, my dogs (DJ, Kookie, Rhino and Ziggy) and cats (UFO, Funken and Ella) interact regularly with participants attending Vusumnotfo training activities.

It gives me great pleasure to witness participants transitioning from first day fear, to second day nervousness, to third day tolerance, to fourth day greeting the animals by name, and by the last day of a workshop, sharing their lunch scraps with my dogs and cats.

The picture of Thobile and her son was taken on the last day of such a workshop. The picture of Ziggy, well Ziggy just assumes that she belongs every where and that every one loves her …. This unconditional love being the gift that a well cared for animal gives.

Thank you for your support in helping make this really fun project happen. We appreciate your help in passing the message that animal care services, combined with education on how to care for and enjoy the companionship of animals, is a wonderful way to promote the development of empathy in young children (and by extension, our humanity).

Ziggy
Ziggy
Unfortunately, not an uncommon sight
Unfortunately, not an uncommon sight
 
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