“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”
― A.A. Milne
The above quote talks directly about the people in the Cluny Animal Trust medical van who were working on the side of the Clarens Square on Tuesday 25 Feb – World Spay Day. With the support and help of Artists Cafe they set up Daisy the veterinarian theater on wheels and went about their usual weekend work of caring for sick and hurt animals.
A large part of this work includes the sterilization of strays, and Chantel van den Berg is the specialist in capturing the feral cats of the neighborhood, who are then vaccinated and checked up on before going under the knife. Any animal that is brought in for surgery has the procedure performed at welfare rates, and their pockets are picked at the same time.
Marthie Kleynhans, Denise Bell, Kat Barker, Jan Sander operate, assist, supervise and shave the wild cats and injured dogs who came in for care on Tuesday.
The project was started by Kat Barker, known throughout the area as a tireless veterinarian who has dedicated her life to those who cannot speak for themselves, and who started the sterilization project in 2004.
Operating out of her small Fouriesburg clinic she has another practice in Clarens, and follows a program around the area, from Bethlehem and Paul Roux to weekend work in Rosendal and beyond. Her endless enthusiasm is inspirational, and a passion burns deep inside her and her team of volunteers and interns.
Marthie Kleynhans is a SA Veterinarian Association Compulsory Community Service intern who performs procedure after procedure with a cheery confidence and brilliant stitch-work (not that I’m much of a judge in that department…)
Jan Sander is a general assistant and all round worker who does everything from admin to shaving and fundraising. Denise and Chantel are volunteers who give of their time and energy with constant passion and enthusiasm. Isaac Magoesi runs a weekly tick and flea dipping station where dog food is sold in small quantities at cost prices while the animals are treated against parasites and problems are identified early.
Another side project involves looking after dogs on chains or ropes. Cluny Animal Trust buys rugged but comfortable collars and put them on animals who are brought in obviously suffering.
Obviously the biggest challenge in performing their work is funding. With a monthly drug bill upwards of R40 000 a month, before they put petrol in the truck or begin to think of feeding or paying their group. Luckily they enjoy a little international support, some individual (sometimes anonymous) donors, and regular benefit events from golf days to musical events as well as a Polar Bear Challenge in Fouriesburg mid-winter help running costs. On a local Rodeo Event where they were looking after the animals, team members raced other Animal Welfare groups through the barrel race track for sponsorship from attendees!
To support this project, please visit their website on the link below and find out more about their various initiatives, achievements and upcoming events.
The Cluny Animal Trust aims to:
● End the needless suffering of animals by providing veterinary treatment
● Educate owners in proper animal care, feeding and preventive treatment
● Run an independent, small animal hospital and a mobile clinic
● Sterilise animals to prevent unwanted litters