Chances are, if you have ever seen a dog on Victoria Street, trailing no more than 3m behind is a bright-eyed student who’s closest encounter with an animal is the rats outside Boho’s. If you have never seen this student, chances are it’s you.
On 27 September, the Promoting Animal Welfare (PAW) society celebrated its 10th birthday anniversary by partnering with the Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch (AWSS) for an event held at the shelter just outside of Stellenbosch. The event was made open to the public and included cupcakes, party hats, a photo booth and many, upon many puppy kisses. PAW is a student led non-profit organization. When speaking with Monique Gerber, a BComm Mathematical Sciences student and 2019 Chair of PAW, Gerber said that the society’s focus is “not just dogs and cats”.
The society is financially supported by the yearly R150 membership fee and come year’s end the accumulated funds are donated to various animal rescue organisations. Such organisations include: Lucky Lucy, Eagle Encounters and Oscar’s Ark. AWSS, however, “is one of our big partners” says Gerber. Marisa Pienaar, a house committee member at Metanoia Residence and event attendee, said “people are not always aware of the environment around them. Students aren’t really forced to think that much about animals.” She believes that students can play a far larger role in making a meaningful difference in the lives of animals. Pienaar suggests that people should just attend an event and hear what they can do to better the lives of these animals, even if that’s just by taking one dog for its daily walk through the vineyards opposite the shelter.
When speaking with Lorna Hughes, the head manager of AWSS, on how Maties can get involved she had this to say: “the nice thing is that if you just need a break from your studies you can pop down and walk dogs anywhere between 10am and 3pm, 7 days a week”.
Students can get involved by raising funds or networking dogs. Networking is when “you come down and pick a dog and make it your project to adopt out, so you would perhaps network it on your Facebook page, send it to all your mates, your family and then they could come to us to adopt the dogs” says Hughes.
Another way one can get involved is through the fostering of puppies. AWSS holds over 140 dogs and between 80 and 90 cats, and space is limited, especially for small puppies.
Students with accommodation allowing animals are encouraged to consider the possibility of fostering. Fostering can last anywhere between 2 weeks and a month. It involves feeding 3 times a day, making sure they go out and play and then bringing the puppy back to the AWSS for its vaccines. AWSS takes in dogs found predominantly around the Stellenbosch area. In the event you come across an individual attempting to sell animals on the street, Hughes insists you first contact the Stellenbosch law enforcement (021 808 8890) and immediately after that the AWSS emergency number (071 169 9922).
If interested in finding out more about PAW and its events email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO: Zoë Human