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Survival of Animal Welfare Charity in Zimbabwe

by SPCA MUTARE
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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
Love finally. Never to be discarded again
Love finally. Never to be discarded again

There are no words that will be able to portray the sense of quiet aloneness we feel in the small towns of Zimbabwe at this time of the Novel Coronavirus, Covid-19. If the first world cannot get their preparations smoothly and swiftly effected, how on Earth shall we? This small country has no need to be poverty ridden, but it is. So, how will we get through? With a wish, and a prayer, and courage.

Our conversations are peppered with completely new or re-invented words and phrases. Pandemic, the nightmare version of epidemic. Pan. All. A part word that cannot more brutally state the amount of change in our lives. All of our lives, all changed.  

Lockdown. Social distance. Self-isolation.  Herd Immunity. Flattening the curve. The first time we tried to explain this unseen, unexperienced illness to our staff,  it was received with blank faces. A week later, thanks to the media, particularly through SMS and WhatsApp, we saw the first fear and incomprehension. Automatically the chairs were spaced far apart, under the thorn tree. One man had tied cotton hat over his mouth. Many questions were thrown out and, in true Zimbabwean manner, discussed from every angle, at length. The town, no, the whole country was, like the rest of the world, unprepared. We could not find hand sanitizer or masks to purchase, and for sure there were very few ventilators in the country. But if you know this people, you will know a plan would be made. A friend made us washable face masks, the guys remembered a box with a strange product left over from the devastation of Cyclone Idai. Could it be sanitizer? Yes! We allowed, for the first time ever, the old SPCA rescue truck to be used for commuting, so our staff did not have to travel in jam-packed commuter transport. This 20-something year old car is our charity’s most precious asset, so to allow it to leave the premises overnight was a big decision for us.  Answer was very inventive by setting up a basic hand wash station at the entrance to the SPCA. But no-one came to see us.

A rumour was tragically spread that Coronavirus came from dogs, and other animals. That was the end of visitors coming to look at our dogs and cats. Fuel has been harder than ever to find, and fund. Prices have soared yet again, and I will admit I have a cold feeling in my chest when I think of our survival as an animal sanctuary. Survival was the word Lynne and I chose when we named our GlobalGiving project, and it could not describe better how we operate. In survival mode.

The GG forum really gave us hope that we could.  Survive, that is.  We have always endeavoured to not sit back and simply hope people will: 1, notice our charity amidst the multitude of others, and 2, send us a gift. Seriously, now more than ever, we have to rely on GlobalGiving. The local community has always been poor, but exceptionally kind. But between lockdown, and obviously frozen incomes, we can expect no help.

Adopting a pet is far from one’s mind when budgeting in lockdown and hyperinflation. We have found some homes in the past months, loving good homes. Not many I know, but we are living through unusual times. The cost of licences, dip, vet support and pet food, as I have said in the last GG report, has sky-rocketed, which dissuaded most potential adopters, and now the big freeze of lockdown.

On the bright side, two beautiful cats were chosen, both very similar in nature, but unrelated. One had been found tied in a sack and thrown away. A passer-by noticed the movement, and we were called to help. Being as adorable as she is, she was homed.  Then second cat, who had birthed 4 pretty kittens, was also found discarded. Things did not go smoothly, as her first kitten adopted died suddenly. The family kindly took another. Now mum and her last kitten have been chosen, and we are just waiting for lockdown to end before we can send them off to their new home with three delightful children who we know will make the best owners for these very friendly cats.

This week we had a week that must have been heavens sent, (sic).  We had a litter of three playful and cuddly pups, but we had reached a point of despair in finding homes. Well! Did we home a pup? No, not one, not two BUT THREE! Are we feeling proud of our cute litter? YES! One perfect-fit Forever Friend took the brothers Benjamin and Jackson, (they have already had their first jog) and a very kind couple chose Jesse, their sensitive sister.

Our precious Charlie, one of SPCA Mutare’s longest standing residents, has also gone to a wonderful home. We could not have asked for a better one. We rescued him on one of our rural outreaches in a pitiable state. He was with another dog that did not look well. We routinely quarantine dogs with no instant diagnosis, and it’s lucky we did. The other dog died – of DUMB RABIES, a rarer form of rabies which shows no typical symptoms, but they do not react normally. Our experienced Inspector Noel was suspicious. Charlie had already been separated from the dead dog, luckily. He recovered quickly from his own ailments, but he had to undergo a seriously long quarantine for most of his puppyhood. That forgiving little guy was finally integrated into the main pack, and he has been a joy to know. It began to feel as if no one would notice what a fine lad he is. THEN FINALLY…..it happened for little Charlie. He has such a good and loving home. We needed that badly, almost as much as Charlie-Boy himself.

We press on, as you do, with the FEAR of Covid as an added extra challenge to the inexplicable others. You have to live here to understand. Animals on our patch of this Earth need us, and we are FEARLESS, resilient, and positive. To be anything else would not cut it.  If you feel you are in a position to give us a helping hand, we would be very thankful.

 

   

  

Jesse, first of the pups homed this week
Jesse, first of the pups homed this week
Jesse's brother Jackson, a fearless pup, homed
Jesse's brother Jackson, a fearless pup, homed
Benjamin & Jackson together, forever homed
Benjamin & Jackson together, forever homed
Our precious Charlie meets his new family,
Our precious Charlie meets his new family,
Answer & Thomasina, PLEASE come and meet her
Answer & Thomasina, PLEASE come and meet her
Mungo, happiest dog we have needs his own home now
Mungo, happiest dog we have needs his own home now
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WE RETURN A DOG TO ITS FIRST HOME
WE RETURN A DOG TO ITS FIRST HOME

January, 2020.

NEW YEAR, RENEWED HOPE

 

And so we ring in the New Year of 2020, and things in Zimbabwe are tougher than ever. Our natural resources are a closed barter between politicians and new immigrants and “investors.”  Our doctors have had to go on strike to get a liveable salary, and our hospitals have depressingly few medicines to administer to patients. Children are being removed from schools, homes sold and blame is directed wrongly. Costs soar just as salaries are in melt down.

Mutare SPCA Inspectors seem to be rushing from case to case, and it’s difficult to get any conclusions if we go to court to fight cruelty. Our predecessors were able to embody into Zimbabwean law great legislations, but the current legal process has ways and means to defeat us. We are a “chin up” society, but I must say that at times we feel jaded. But GG don’t give up on us now. Having this fund to resort to is the most incredible source of encouragement.

My report this month is much the same. We have great plans to help the poor. We are to hold a rural outreach to neuter and treat dogs, and we are ready to go, but our team is a little thin on the ground, as the state of the economy hits home.

We are not of the mentality to confiscate pets, but rather to educate and co-operate. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, we are elated. Recently, an older gentleman surrendered his lovely dog to us. She came in with a collar of pink hearts, and a happy disposition. Why did he bring her? Our town council has put up the costs to license beyond the reach of the regular household. To be fair, our currency has devalued by 23 times in the last 2 years. Salaries have not kept up as businesses flounder, and crash.  So she becomes our problem, as many people can’t afford the wonderful prospect of owning a pet.  Thanks to you and people like you, we were able to get her neutered, one of our volunteers paid for her licence, and we returned her to her home.  If you had seen the happiness in her and the child who welcomed her back, well, suffice to say, we were all in tears.

 

We have found a few lovely homes for both cats and dogs, but it’s a heartache for us, for the ones left behind.  Take a look at the photo of  Copper meeting his new mum. You know its a good home when she arrived with a blanket for him.

 

Our community is just the best, and this year the small school over the Christmas Pass in the nearby village of Penhalonga, put on a most entertaining play, proceeds coming to the Mutare SPCA. 

 

 While the news from us could have been better, I thought I would include, in an effort to keep a positive spirit for the new year, an article taken from the blog of our founder member Jill Wylie. The volunteers took a cake and held a tea for our stalwart former committee at the old age home. Remember that Mr Noel Usore, who is still with us part time, has been with the SPCA in Mutare for 47 years, so they were all delighted to be re-united. I hope you enjoy it…… as such is the quality of the precious people who made it all happen.

 

 

 

 

REPORT FROM WILDWOODS, Jill Wylie, 1993.

 

Come the new year I’ll grit my teeth and try to count the costs and the losses, the despair and the devastation of the last year. But now, with the hooves of Christmas ringing on the wind, there must surely be some more pleasant things to write about. Life at Wildwoods, I’ve been reminding myself, isn’t all dramatic rescues, exhausting patrols, frantic chases after rabies suspects, and bitter battles to save our precious wildlife and wild places from poachers and fires against unrelenting odds. Ordinary, homely, peaceful scenes can usually be found here and there amidst the chaos.

 

Several times a year, for instance, a pretty bantam lays her eggs in a basin in the old downstairs bathroom we use as a laundry. I don’t mind, really. It’s better than nesting in the shrubs where predators abound. She comes and goes, as we all do, through the low-silled window. A cheeky Somango monkey and a very small round mouse also pop in now and then to see if she’d left any grain in her dish. This time she’s hatched out two little chicks, a cock and a hen, and every evening she tucks them up for the night in a nest of hay on the ironing table.

 

To conserve water we rigged up a shower over the ancient bath tub. The chicks have got used to the light going on and off: sudden day, sudden night. At first, when we switched it on, they’d stretch and yawn, rubbing their eyes and saying: is it time to get up? Now they just make drowsy comments in soft, whistling voices. But when i draw the shower curtain back and start to dry they stand up and preen their feathers and flap their little wings like the flapping ends of the towel. The moment I stop they settle down to sleep again.

 

Later, when the smells from the kitchen which tend to drift into that room have dispersed I close the window against night-time predators. The bantams really relax then, safe and secure. They even snore. When we have chicken for supper we tell them it’s pork.

 

Eventually, when the little cock chick starts trying to crow, the dogs will herd them gently down to the hen house each evening to join the rest of the flock, because that is one sound you don’t want before daybreak from your downstairs bathroom.

 

*

Almost every day a sleek lizard somehow gets into the sitting-room through an ill-fitting window and can’t get out again. I find him on the wide sill, nose pressed against the pane, eyes gazing longingly out at the garden. I have to reach across him to open the rather stiff window. If he panics and flops onto the floor there’s no way he can get out unless he slithers and slips right round the room to the door. usually he gets in a corner and exhausts himself trying to climb up. So I plunge after him, slither and slip on my stomach – more becoming, I always feel, than bottoms up – and guide him to the door or catch him and let him out through the window. Sometimes he makes a dive for the curtain and hides in the folds. If he misses the return dive we’re back to the slither syndrome and all that en-tails.

 

Lately he has waited for me to open the window for him, tapping his nails impatiently on the sill. The other day I stroked his tail as he waddled out. He stopped and looked at me with his south-side eye, muttered something I didn’t catch, and went unhurriedly on his way. The next time I stroked him from nose tip to tail tip. He came back in for more. I see the unfolding of a beautiful friendship.

 

*

A pair of tiny sunbirds, in an effort to elude marauding monkeys, build their nest each year on a branch so low it almost touches the window. The nest is a beautiful little rondavel of grass and fibres, bound with spider hammocks from the virginia creeper, and lined with the soft silk of wild kapok. It has a domed roof, a porched entrance and a high sill to keep the weather out and the chicks in. And there they sit, feet up on the little sill, and watch TV through the window. Of course, when the chicks have hatched, we draw the curtain on certain programmes. They can have the cartoons!

COPPER MEETS HIS NEW FOREVER FRIEND
COPPER MEETS HIS NEW FOREVER FRIEND
PENHALONGA SCHOOL PLAY RAISES MONEY FOR OUR SPCA
PENHALONGA SCHOOL PLAY RAISES MONEY FOR OUR SPCA
WE HONOUR OUR FOUNDERS
WE HONOUR OUR FOUNDERS
SO MANY KITTENS SEEKING HOMES
SO MANY KITTENS SEEKING HOMES
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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!!

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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
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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
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Organization Information

SPCA MUTARE

Location: Mutare - Zimbabwe
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @NIL
Project Leader:
Jane CLEGG
Mutare, Manicaland Zimbabwe
$29,479 raised of $60,000 goal
 
566 donations
$30,521 to go
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$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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