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Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe

by SPCA MUTARE
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe
Educating Through Drama
Educating Through Drama

Keep On, Keeping on….. because they are worth it.

September 2019.

Driving out of our little border town recently, I thought the scenery could scarcely get any prettier. If you visit us from the capital city Harare, your road winds up over the Christmas Pass, and the most beautiful city in Zimbabwe is revealed in the valley below you. To your left, a game reserve, to your right, a vast high range of hills which include Chase’s View first, then the spectacular and spiritual Murahwa’s Hill after that.  The Southern pass to leave the city lies between two blue low-slung, bush covered hills, and this is the route we took last week to take part in a Donkey Welfare Seminar.  As we drove, with the Winter chill gone, and the dry tawny colours of early Spring speckled with blood reds, pinks, and oranges of the Musasa trees all around, I was thinking how lucky we are to live here. There is deep sadness, madness, corruption and greed, but there is kindness and happiness too:

When I wrote this report earlier, and then re-read it, I decided our situation is too unbelievable for anyone not living here to understand or trust that I am not making it all up. Paragraph one is now in the trash can! Zimbabwe is back to inflation, and prices have gone up 20 times. Dip went from $45 to $1050. Dog meal did the same. No, every expense did and salaries mostly remain unchanged. Zimbabweans have a saying: Keep on, Keeping on.  So this is what we will do. I have to say it’s hard, and sometimes overwhelming.

Mutare SPCA continues with providing daily sanctuary, nursing, building up lost spirits and endeavouring to make little lives happier. The feedback we get is what keeps us going, and maybe it will be the same for you. SPONGEY HAS A HOME! That little forlorn scrap from an earlier report grew into the most handsome, endearing, lively boy ever. I was despairing that anyone would see how great a dog he is.  Two pups were homed to a large dog-friendly plot, two of our cats are going into service at as ratters, and two adult dogs, (one an elderly grey-grizzled old fellow) are going to live as family pets.  Today we neuter two dogs in preparation for a home in the Chimanimani mountains.  If you have read any previous Global Giving reports or the S P C A - Mutare Facebook page, they will be living with the Petal the Pig’s owner. They will be able to run down sloping fields every day, splash around in the river, and return to cosy kennels. Idyllic. I am happy for them. We rescued a lovely female adult dog that had a vicious wire snare around her lower leg. It has been removed and her paw has been saved.  YAY! Various dogs have been found and brought in, including an enormous Boerboel, and 5 others.  A cat nursing 4 stripy little kittens has found a quiet sanctuary with us, (no need to worry about her next meal,) and we are hand-raising the sweetest puppies until we can get to the foster home. UPDATE: The pups are doing well with their foster-mum, and have started some tentative but wobbly explorations.  Home checks have been done on all, so we know our pets will be safe.   Today we were able to catch a dog that has been worrying us all very much. He is a feral dog, and has been treated with utmost cruelty. He has barbed wire tied tightly around his neck, we think in an effort to kill him. He eluded us for almost 2 days, but we have him now in our care, and we hope the love and consistency we show him will let him know what it is to be loved.

SO, more on our latest road trip.  Inspector William, Lynne and I drove to a small river town about 130kms away called Birchenough Bridge. The Bridge is beautiful, designed by Ralph Freeman, who also designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Although it is two thirds the size of its Australian counterpart, ours has an elegant span over the Save River.  The town itself is hot and dusty, but lively, and much of the local transportation is by Ox or Donkey carts.  These draught animals have a hard life, with no access to medical treatment. We attended a course with local chiefs and headmen, with the aim of changing attitudes and offering skills. Our own Inspector William gave two lectures: Animal Rights and Legislation pertaining to maltreatment of working animals in particular.  They were two packed days, with a series of really appropriate talks. Not one word was wasted or unessential. In keeping with rural ways, we also had a drama, music and dance on the theme. Such a lot of fun! One day was dedicated to simple diagnosis and treatments that rural people can afford, and we were also part of a treatment clinic where 2 vets, and a vet nurse were kept busy for hours treating injured or ill donkeys. As an extension to this, we are hoping to start rural clinics for Donkey treatment, welfare and harnessing. There is an opportunity for local residents to make appropriate soft harnesses and earn an income for themselves. I believe we can achieve this. 

We keep on keeping on.


Mutare SPCA held the annual  Blue Cross Ultra Distance Adventure Event in August to help ourselves keep surviving. What an amazing thing to put on your bucket list. Your priority has to be helping animals by collecting sponsorship, but after that… it’s all about having an amazing experience. A 500km challenge through rural Zimbabwe, from the lowest point where the Save River exits Zimbabwe on its way across Mozambique to the Indian Ocean to the highest, at the top of Mt Inyangani. On remote rural tracks, sometimes sleeping under the stars, sometimes in comfort, it’s an adventure like no other.  

www.SPCA-Bluecross.com

SO… Global Giving Community, THANK YOU for reading this, for giving us a helping hand, and thank you too, if you feel we are doing the right thing.

Our other favourite expression: Never Give Up!  Aluta continua!

Orphaned pups being handraised
Orphaned pups being handraised
Teach your children well.......
Teach your children well.......
Looking for homes
Looking for homes
Dance for Donkeys!
Dance for Donkeys!
Rural outreach, a heartwarming adventure
Rural outreach, a heartwarming adventure
HOMED!!
HOMED!!

Links:

Damaging harnesses and methods
Damaging harnesses and methods

The devastation of Cyclone Idai in the Manicaland province of Zimbabwe, hit hard physically - and emotionally. Mutare, the town where we are based, became the launch pad for all rescue efforts. Every access road to the deep valleys and high mountains of the Chimanimani and surrounding region were washed away.

The power of rushing water cannot be underestimated. The cyclone came at night, and I cannot imagine what those people must have felt in the dark cold night. The sound of the wind was a thing all victims speak of.  Then houses began to slide off the slopes, amidst unimaginably gigantic boulders. The loss in every way cannot be underestimated.

The Mutare community spent weeks packaging donations, in an effort to get food and clothes to victims. We were the quickest line of response. The wheels of co-ordinated, funded aid comes slowly, but by the time it did, we were all on our knees, exhausted, and happy to hand over.

One of the worst things was that we could not get there. We could not bring to them medicines, food, fuel, blankets and water. We could not help them find loved ones, or at least their bodies. Very quickly on the scene was a South African helicopter company, owned by a man who actually had lived in Mutare in his youth.

Mark identified with this community, and they became the news bearers, the deliverers, the saviours and the only ones outside of the cyclone zone who really witnessed the devastation and the tragic moments. A whole school washed away, with children in the dormitories. The pilots found an isolated group of women, walking…just walking, to who knows where?  Their husbands gone, some children gone, their animals gone, all their remaining pathetic/treasured possessions on their heads.

The whole city of Mutare could hear the choppers warming up at dawn, then see them rising over the southern hills on the way to the daily rescues. Again at evening, the heavy throbbing of the Hueys, the screeching power of the Black Hawk, and other choppers, all with their dedicated skills and aptitudes, coming home to roost. All our packages were driven from Mutare, to a village about 70kms away and to Skyline Junction, closest points to grounds zero, and from there the choppers delivered small offerings of help: food, soap, a blanket, etc. Other packages contained clothes sorted into ages and sexes.

Lynne from Mutare SPCA and her husband left their comfortable home to rough camp at a school playing field closer to ground zero to supervise the arrival of the aid, and to organize labourers to load the helicopters.  When a crisis like this occurs, people naturally take precedence, and we could not get down to see what animals needed help. The Chimanimani community had to do what they could to save and treat them. We sneaked some meds and food for animals on the choppers, but not enough. By a stroke of good fortune, after about 4 days, and a few bridges had been fixed, Lynne met some men who were going to take a chance to drive a complicated forestry route that they knew of when they were young. We packed as much as we could on their old truck. They said they would be in Chimanimani in 3 hours. The journey took 7 to do about 100kms. You may wonder why we all did not rush down to Chims, to help. Well, after the tenuous tracks were recreated, so that they could take light 4 x 4s, there was nowhere to stay, no supplies in shops, no fuel to get back out, no water. You would burden friends. You just had to send, send, send. And put specific requests onto the choppers. One time, we were asked simply for underwear. Imagine that. The victims had absolutely nothing left.

Real heroes and saints were born, men amongst men were made, and greedy traitors were exposed. It’s a time we hope we will never see again.

A friend in Chimanimani found a mother cat on the mountain slopes, abandoned, and with a newborn litter of kittens. (Today she brings 2 of the kittens to Mutare SPCA as they have already been adopted.) Animals with terrible injuries, sometimes fatal, had to be dealt with, and no vet present. Cattle, goats and wildlife were completely swept away. In the aftermath, sadly, many animals were abandoned as survivors walked away from the ruins of homesteads. A terrible time.

Post IDAI, on the SPCA front, we have been hectically busy too. We have improved the cattery! We needed a second playground, and the cages themselves along one wall were dark, and cold. We had no electricity supply, and the wood roof beams were rotting.   Doing a project in a time of hyperinflation was scary. But it’s is complete now, and it took exactly 2 minutes for the cats to figure out how to get outdoors.  I left them yesterday with about 9 kittens and one neutered cat rough and tumbling there. Felt good.

We have found some homes for dogs, neutered about 6 cats, and best of all, found someone to adopt our resident goats. They must be in heaven at the Vumba mountains farm. They are joining the heady ranks of cheese production.

We have sadly cut down a tree that was leaning on our quarantine kennels, but managed to save the walls, so just feeling we were lucky to have done some meaningful maintenance, we then discovered the wall between the dogs and livestock is actually rocking. It never rains……

The biggest inroads we are making are into draught animal welfare. Donkeys and cattle have a hard life. Donkeys particularly are overloaded and overworked. We mostly endeavour to educate and advise, but last week we were asked to intervene in the case of an abandoned donkey. An uncommon event. We borrowed a 4 x 4 and horsebox, and sent our Inspectors out to a remote village 125kms away. The donkey was in a pitiable state, castrated by having its testes tied off with wire. It was infected, deep purple, and the gentle donkey was in acute pain.  We have brought it back to Mutare SPCA, and the Vet, Dr Innocent, has operated. We are happy to say he is getting well. The amount of work needed rurally is vast, and in honesty, beyond our financial capability, with our ancient, rusted 1997 pick-up truck, (not a 4 x 4), hardly any meds available in the country and another disastrous period of hyperinflation.  

Since then Inspector William set off to remote rural settlements with an expert team to educate, guide, medicate and provide for Donkey welfare. They treated, vaccinated or de-wormed over 600 animals in 8 days. We are VERY proud of him. It’s rough going out there, and daily all we get from him are wonderful pics and messages of what they are accomplishing.  

 

Coming up in August is our biggest event in the year to help ourselves survive. Mutare SPCA organizes the Blue Cross, a 500km marathon event from the lowest point in the country to the highest. We go from a dry riverbed, where elephants, hippo and lions roam, to the top of a beautiful and rugged mountain top that looks forever over open landscape. I shall be walking in a relay with close friends, to raise sponsorship to support Mutare SPCA.   Check out the website and maybe you will join us one day or possibly sponsor me?!!

www.SPCA-Bluecross.com

May not be first world, but it does the job well
May not be first world, but it does the job well
Born during the cyclone, on the mountain slopes
Born during the cyclone, on the mountain slopes
Packing meds for animals in Cyclone Idai hit areas
Packing meds for animals in Cyclone Idai hit areas
Blue Cross Event 500kms for animal welfare in Zim
Blue Cross Event 500kms for animal welfare in Zim
Sun Set on 500km Blue Cross www.SPCA-Mutare.com
Sun Set on 500km Blue Cross www.SPCA-Mutare.com
The power of water drowning our province.
The power of water drowning our province.

A Time of Tragedy in our Land.

A few weeks ago, Mutare SPCA took an unforgettable roadtrip. Unbelievably, we managed to coax our portly and petulant Petal pig into the back of a double cab pick-up truck, and set off for a small mountain village about 150kms away.

This is no ordinary village. The second most visited place in Zimbabwe, Chimanimani is set in a craggy mountain range, remote and indescribably beautiful. It is filled with hardworking, talented, interesting people, seeking work mostly between the forestry industry, tourism or an alternative lifestyle of simplicity and low impact. Fighting to keep the mountains pristine against gold seekers, is committed small group of environmental warriors.  The community is diverse, and productive, and close. For them, to forfeit the crystal mountains that provide perfect water for so many innocent people living downstream, for a few grams of Gold, (that filthy lucre) seems incredible, but that is what has been happening.

 

Recently, when news of Cyclone Idai approaching from of the benign Indian Ocean began, no individual resident in this mountain region is wealthy enough to set up “just in case” provisions and plans. No-one from top “formal positions” came forward either. And so, a wait and see approach began, as the cyclone was plotted as drifting North. But when its destructive path swung to the South, it was unexpected. We all knew there would be heavy rain and strong winds, but no-one predicted the amount of rain, measurable in metres. The deluge came loudly and violently in the dark of night, setting free large mudslides and rock falls, and so the tragedies began. People were killed, injured, buried in mud or washed away, their faithful animals alongside them, suffering a parallel fate. Willing courageous people set about gathering the survivors into safer places, and yet the rains continued, and did not stop 6 days later. Bridges all around Chimanimani have been washed away into valleys below. Roads have slipped down mountainsides or have become rock beds, impassable graveyards. People, cars and buses have washed off the slopes. Schools have been destroyed, again with many children’s and teachers’ lives lost. Animals have disappeared, injured or killed.

How will an already poverty hit country ever recover?

Our SPCA has been asking people to set their livestock to range free, so they do not drown, starve or ironically die of thirst, penned up. Its sounds logical to you maybe, but when you just lost absolutely everything you possess, (and cattle are in your DNA as your savings bank,) the last thing you want is to lose them. We are hoping our wily mongrels and cats will be able to fend for themselves until their owners came back. We are ready to send food and necessary supplies for animals as soon as we can, but we wait knowing the people must be rescued first. The few small shops of once quaint Chimanimani have almost run out of food, as has fuel, and no vehicles have been able to enter or leave the village.  All rescue operations must be handled by helicopters which have limited weight bearing capacities. Meanwhile, we hope to stock pile dog food, cat food and medicines until the bridges are re-built, even temporarily.

It seems impossible to imagine how normality will ever come back to Chimanimani. But it will. It is a terrible time, in a beautiful place, with wonderful people. SPCA Mutare has no 4 x 4 to get there, along a dangerous and risk filled route, but we are sending help when we can.

Time henceforth will always be described as Before Cyclone Idai, or After Idai. Right now, during the aftermath, we take one step at a time, and help where we can. If you could help us right now, we will head to the mountains, with supplies for the animals of Chimanimani.

Thank you.

POST SCRIPT: By a stroke of fortune, all SPCA Mutare’s efforts came to some fruition when we were able to send donated dog and cat food, medicines, scalpels, sutures, syringes and needles, bandages and blankets to Chimanimani on a helicopter. The roads are not open and the chopper is the only way to go. Our SPCAs supplies are not a priority, but somehow everything fell into place. Thank you all concerned.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS are not my own, but I thank the person who took them. I know the places in the pics and they are current.

Homes and many lives lost.
Homes and many lives lost.
THIS IS NOT PETAL, for she is ranges free and safe
THIS IS NOT PETAL, for she is ranges free and safe
An epic tragedy.
An epic tragedy.
A deluge and things will never be the same.
A deluge and things will never be the same.
Helicopters deliver SPCA donations to save lives
Helicopters deliver SPCA donations to save lives
Life begins at the SPCA
Life begins at the SPCA

GLOBAL GIVING REPORT MARCH 2019

PETAL FINDS A HOME IN THE MOUNTAINS

 

It must be hard to imagine what it’s like to live in a country of political turmoil and to judge who is good and who is not, why we do not emigrate, or why we are unable to vote to change the system. But this little land, our home, has heart and soul, and when you have experienced this, it gets under your skin and becomes your touchstone. Don’t visit Zimbabwe, because you may be seduced! Joking aside, we just do what we can to have a normal life, and continue to rescue abandoned, maltreated or injured animals, and work with the community as best we can.

We continue to have many sad, and some bad cases to deal with. One little dog in our care has nerve damage to her front leg, and she drags it inverted to get around. And the poor child is not very pretty, to boot. We are hoping someone who lives a sedentary life would fancy a little ugly-duckling dog to look after him or her. She has found that love from the SPCA team is a jolly good thing, and has become proprietorial over us, and chases the other dogs off if they come for a hug. We call her Carly.

We confiscated a very large, gorgeous chap who was regularly tied up and beaten by his owner, to teach him a lesson. We are going to court on this one.  I doubt we will win, but to sit back and let him have the dog back without a fight was not on. Wish us luck, but know too that we will not give up.

So we carry on, against the odds, but with self-belief, and make a genuine difference in the lives of dogs and cats, birds, goats, donkeys, cows and even pigs….

Anyone who has followed our work at SPCA Mutare will know we have had in our care a very special, pink and portly Petal Pig.  This comely lass was rescued by us as a piglet when she and her 7 little pen mates were virtually abandoned in a concrete pen the size of a small toilet. They were all skeletally thin, unhappy, and on their last legs. Petal herself was ice cold, unconscious, and was covered in an angry raw rash, nose to tail.  Lynne took her to the vet, and Noel and I took the other 7 to the SPCA. Petal was treated, and brought to life in a warm bath, swaddled in a cosy blanket and befriended by Milo, Lynne’s rescue dog.  There were times when I saw BabyPetal, I could swear she was smiling.

AS she grew too large to be in a household, she got a position in a petting farm, where she would meet and greet children. When she out grew that position, it was time to bring her home to the SPCA, where she was very welcome. She lived with us for a further plus two years, but lately, as much as we have loved having her, we worried that her life was not what it could be.  She was alone. She spent too much time mooching under a haystack – horizontal. She developed a sore leg from being a bit overweight. We changed her diet, she slimmed down and she became more active, but we knew things had to change. She needed more to her life. But where to send her? Very few farmers that we knew would have the finances to take on a pig as a pet, and have another pig who needed a companion.

The Chimanimani mountain community came to our aid. Bring her to Queenie! So this weekend, that’s what we did. Our staff built a carpeted, gently sloping ramp suitable for a catwalk model, but she could smell a rat, a mouse AND a gerbil! With ear splitting protest, she stamped off to her mudbath.  We cooled her off, and the Inspectors asked us to stand aside, as they herded her firmly back to our Toyota pickup, which was lined with hay and a thick woollen carpet.  Miss Pretty, the  goat had located all the treats we had stocked the van with, (clever these goats) and was wolfing down the watermelon. This helped to make up Petal’s mind. She walked the ramp like Claudia Schiffer, and bang! the tailgate closed behind her.  She located some of her butternuts and soft tomatoes, and chomped away, but NOT like Claudia Schiffer.   Wasting no time, we opened all the windows for her and took off. Her heavyweight rocked the car as she became alarmed at the motion, and she attacked every latch, window and the canopy door. Then she spotted Lynne through the back window. Its took two seconds for her to learn to push the canopy windows apart, and we had a chomping, gnashing, squealing pig’s mouth in true unhappy Diva mode between Lynne and I . That might have been like Claudia, but we have never met her.  Chucking a packet of biscuits to the back, we closed the canopy window to a sliver.

 The journey was horrid for our large, little girl, who we love so much. She couldn’t balance with the rough roads, she got hot, she was confused, and we could do nothing to assuage her fear. We blocked her from seeing Lynne, and that did the trick for a while. The normally breath-taking scenery became landmarks to count down.  But it seemed suddenly we were there, and on the rugged track to Queenie and her Pig Christmas, yes, - to Petal’s new bestie. There was a perfect off ramp, and down she flew heading for what we could not smell, but she certainly could….. a mudbath!  It was not long before ChristmasPig was seen in the sunset lit golden grasses making her way home. She spends her days down at the river and forest, and her nights snuggled in a pen.  Clever Clogs Christmas knew instantly that there was something afoot and she headed directly to the bathing Petal. Unerring she marched into the mud and a tussle of porcine-mud-wrestling proportion began. And ended as quick. Petal took herself for a long walk to the far end of her new field, but we heard later she was happy to sleep in her allocated abode, next to Christmas. Things have been going better, but I live for the day that our Perfect Petal goes for that long daily walk to the river and forest, with the silvery mountains in the background. So long, sweet child of ours.  Fare thee well.

If you feel you could help us cover the costs to relocate Petal to the mountains, please consider donating via Global Giving. It gets harder not easier to survive this tsunami of currency changes we have foist upon us at present. It beggars belief. We would be very grateful if you could donate to keeping us going. Many thanks from Petal, Christmas and from us all at SPCA Mutare.

Mud pack for a beauty queen
Mud pack for a beauty queen
Where am I going, and will you still love me?
Where am I going, and will you still love me?
Petal and Christmas
Petal and Christmas
Kim Kourtney Kloe & Kendall. Local Celebs
Kim Kourtney Kloe & Kendall. Local Celebs

DEC 2018. Hello again to our Global Giving community.

What a busy time we have had since we last communicated by way of a report with you all.

We, the volunteers at Mutare SPCA, have made it our purpose to ‘grow’ our staff, giving them more command in their very important role in the community. We have sent two of our Inspectors to Imire Game Park near Harare where they attended a course on Strategy for Captive Elephant Management. We do not condone captive wildlife in any shape or form, BUT captive wildlife is being forced upon us and we felt they should attend so we could understand current thinking in Zimbabwe, and voice our concerns where necessary. More and more we are seeing our beautiful wildlife, for example lions, in small cages for the amusement, even taunting, of the general public, who do not understand the stress those animals and being placed under. Also, we feel extremely strongly that the decimation of herds of elephants, to capture their very young to send to zoos in China is off the charts cruel, and yet it continues to happen as government corruption reaches proportions we could never have imagined.SPCA Mutare sometimes feels like that ‘lone voice in the wilderness’ in these cases.

Then more recently, the same Inspectors attended a Dogs Trust Worldwide Behaviour Course in Harare. They have come back full of wonderful new ideas for how we can better ourselves and the lives of our shelter animals. The first thing they want is for us to design and implement is an enrichment area for play. Global Giving funds could help us with this playground. Keep up the great ideas, Inspectors William Nyawengu and Simba Karumbidza! We are all behind you.

Here I include Inspector William’s report for Global Giving. It’s long, I know, but the last few lines are worth their weight in gold to the volunteers of Mutare SPCA:

We attended the Dogs Trust Workshop on 22nd to 25 November which empowered us with vast knowledge of dealing with dog behaviour, shaping and assessment confidence building on nervous dogs and observational learning, touch acceptance, how to approach new dogs, and aggressive dogs. We learned that best practice at the shelters is about standards. We did a general overview of training, learning theory of training dogs, based on positive reward only, and the effects of negative training and how that results in other issues, which will be difficult to correct. Training helps with matching the dog with new owners and homes, and good organizational reputations. Safety at home promotes welfare since dogs will stay in their homes, since there will grow trust, respect, empathy and communication. It also makes for easy handling at Vet Doctors. For us at Mutare SPCA, shelter enrichment will improve animal behaviour, eg life rooms, elevated areas, sensory gardens, sand boxes, raised areas, interactive toys. We must consider the design from dogs perspective, defensive handling is important to provide safety, and reduce costs and work load. We learned to study dog body language, signs of fear in eyes and tails and high stress triggers. We were taught about types of bites eg snapping, ragging, grabbing and crushing. We need improvements to our shelter but it’s a process which includes long and short term planning, Quality care reduces stress to our dogs. We learned of record keeping, and hygiene, and education of the public is as important. So we have lots of plans to implement here.

In short I salute all our Instructors who travelled all the way from UK to come and anoint us with such vast and rich knowledge. I will never forget the organizers, and everyone who contributed in making the workshop a success. I give a big thank you as it was a great eye-opener. I am prepared to share the knowledge with my fellow workmates and I hope to raise the standard of our dog welfare at Mutare SPCA and the community at large. I feel greatly humbled by your effort at empowering us. Yours Sincerely, Inspector William Nyawengu.

THANK YOU, INSPECTOR WILLIAM. Back to me: Our shelter has been flooded with animals in need. We are thankful that people in our community do inform us all the animals in distress. Now to show these animals that they matter, give them the love and sanctuary they should have known, and above all to find good homes. One cat, no more than a kitten herself was found in a bad state in a nearby factory. We gave her that sanctuary and helped her through her delivery of 5 exquisite kittens, each one shaded with pale heads to dark tails in the loveliest silvery greys. We have never seen this coloration before. Talk about 50 Shades of Grey! Another miniscule tabby kitten was brought in, and (the generosity of stray animals!) a feeding mother cat took her over as if she was her own immediately. We have 5 litters to care for at the moment, including 4 delightful X-Siamese female kittens, little SPCA celebs, so we have called them “The Katashians.”

We have been lucky to find some good homes of late for dogs. Mutare is surrounded by hills and mountains. The Bonda area, known for its superb rural hospital, is particularly interesting. A couple came past to choose two character filled dogs from us, and they kindly adopted a wee kitten at the same time. Celebration day for Mutare SPCA. Two other dogs have been chosen to go and live in Chimanimani Mountains, one of Zimbabwe’s most beautiful locations, second only to Victoria Falls for popularity. Only the best for Mutare SPCA dogs, you know! Four dogs have been homed locally this month.

Our kennels and cattery are filled to bursting, so our next plan is an extension to the cattery that will give each unit access to an outdoor space. If you could, we would be very, very grateful for a helping hand to get this project underway. We have purchased some of the metal ware for the frames, but now need the mesh for the walls and rooves, and labour costs. We will be posting our progress on our facebook page (SPCA-Mutare), but have now discovered our electrical supply box is dangerous. Doesn’t life feel at times like its one step forward and two steps back?

A few months ago we took a leap of faith and allowed a playschool to adopt a puppy. So far it has been a good relationship, and we have taken the opportunity to let little ones have that wondrous experience of ‘owning’ a dog and having to care for it. Inspector William goes regularly to coach the children and the dog at good relationships. Thank you Bongai Shamwari.

This past 6 weeks we have been involved in a case investigating the condition of some horses at a rural school. It may have seemed like a good idea to give children access to horses, but they are expensive to manage and you have to know how to handle horses in your care. We sent 3 Inspectors out, including Ange Wright, who is great with them. The situation was not good. Nutrition was poor and husbandry non-existent. One mare is pregnant, and three youngsters not broken in. This case is going to be an extremely difficult one for us, but it will be a sad day if all rural schools start collecting horses. We try not to be heavy handed in most cases, so Ange met with some school staff to discuss the way forward. Education is so important. On our follow up visit, Ange feels this case will end in intervention. We simply cannot afford to maintain 8 horses, so we have to appeal for help from horse familiar people, for those horses that can be saved. Not all will be in that category sadly. This work can be so tragically sad at times. We will need to transport and medicate them, employ grooms, and find money for quality fodder. Endless worries for us….

On to other subjects, - not all cheerful sadly. Our government, in which most individuals have unlimited access to foreign currency, recently allowed our currency to float against the US Dollar. Here we use an unbacked, unreliable currency called Bond…..look, stay with me here…..it’s weird! know. The immediate effect was that our salaries were divided by the going rate of the day. Shops and businesses reeled at the thought of re-stocking so they put their prices up by said rate. It reached 10:1, that’s right….divide your salary by 10, pay for goods x10!!! Depression set in all round. The rate has settled at 3:1, but tell that to the man in the street, your salary is one third of what it was, and prices have tripled.

This is why this Global Giving Project is worth is weight in gold for us. The value of money our support community gives is stable, and very critical to our survival long term. Please consider having an envelope under your Christmas tree for us. We have almost too much on our plates, but there is no way on this Earth we will stop trying to make a difference in our community.

So thank you all, and have a Happy Festive Season, or treasured family time. I know I say it every time, but in life, if you can make a difference, it matters. And this forum DOES JUST THAT. It makes a difference. For that, we thank you. From the bottom of our hearts….we thank you.

From the Mutare SPCA Team of volunteers.

Horses in need of our intervention 1
Horses in need of our intervention 1
Horses in need of our intervention 2
Horses in need of our intervention 2
Reaching out to children who reach out to us
Reaching out to children who reach out to us
Bongai children meet our little ambassador Bingo
Bongai children meet our little ambassador Bingo
Our rescue Petal Pig gets a mudpack for sunblock
Our rescue Petal Pig gets a mudpack for sunblock
 

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Organization Information

SPCA MUTARE

Location: Mutare - Zimbabwe
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @NIL
Project Leader:
Jane CLEGG
Mutare, Manicaland Zimbabwe
$25,119 raised of $60,000 goal
 
488 donations
$34,881 to go
Donate Now
$10
USD
will cover rabies vaccination, de-worming and a basket blanket for 1 dog or cat at our kennels. Rabies is a real threat for us and our residents. Fleece blankets are essential in winter.
$20
USD
will feed and medicate 1 dog and 1 cat for 1 month. As we struggle to safely re-home animals in this impoverished climate, we try to give each rescue the best possible chance.
$45
USD
will pay for an educational visit to a rural school, where we teach children about the FIVE FREEDOMS of animal welfare, the SPCA's work, and hand out varied education materials on animal welfare.
$50
USD
will neuter 1 dog. People simply cannot afford to spay their pets. SPCA's strict policy is that no animal is released unless it is neutered. This is vital in stopping the cycle of unwanted breeding.
$60
USD
will cover fuel, servicing maintenance of our 22 year old 'rescue' truck for 1 month. This truck is absolutely vital for us to respond to rescue call-outs, reports of abuse and to visit schools.
$250
USD
will provide the entire kennels with dog and cat meal for a month, one 50 kg bag of meal being $38.00. This does not include any meat.
$380
USD
will pay the salary for a desperately needed SPCA Inspector for one month. Our SPCA runs 1 staff member short due to lack of funds. This compromises many of our activities.
$500
USD
will pay for 1 month's outreach into a high density area where we can locate a 'pop-up' clinic to treat any animals brought in to us, neuter as many as is possible and offer counselling and advice
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