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Shelter Life

Wow so they say any publicity is good publicity. I think every pro life shelter in South Africa will vehemently disagree after the social media frenzy, followed by the Carte Blanche insert about a no kill shelter that was investigated by the SPCA after calls of neglect recently.

There are many incredible shelters out there doing incredible work but sadly they never make the headlines. Only when abuse and neglect are discovered does the media give animal shelters such exposure.

The major side effect of this recent coverage is, there is an immediate backlash to all animal shelters, good or bad .

Since that broadcast we have seen a decline in donations because sadly the terms no kill and pro life are thrown around like we all fit the same shoe and anyone that has visited Dogtown will know we strive to be the glass slipper of animal care.
Most people watching the Carte Blanche insert had a knee jerk reaction after seeing the state of the animals in the TV insert. Naturally people are upset and the general public tar all animal shelters with the same brush.

We fortunately have a good track record on providing high level care second to none for the dogs at Dogtown. Our Townies are an integral part of our family so they know how we roll. We have qualified certified staff seeing to our dogs daily needs and we work with the best vet in the country. But even we have felt a considerable pinch with the backlash to animal shelters from this recent media coverage.

Dogtown is pro life because we believe every dog deserves a chance to live but we NEVER go above the number of dogs we can provide our high level of care for. Living at all costs is not what we are about. Before any dog enters our centre we always check so we have the funds and skills to improve this dog’s life ? If the answer is yes then that doggie will receive the best care out there.

It’s an unrealistic expectation for a pro life to take in an endless stream of dogs, that’s how overcrowding and hoarding happens.

Of course we would love to take in every dog that needs our help, if funds allowed we would expand and save more but at the current rate of our donations 175 dogs is our absolute maximum amount of dogs we can properly care for.

Let’s take a look at a recent rescue Axel, he was found in a bad state after roaming the streets for weeks, after finally catching him, mainly because he was just so exhausted and weak, he was rushed to the vet. That treatment for one dog set us back R****
But that’s not where the costs end, once they have recovered there is a continued monthly cost for as long as they remain in our care.

At Dogtown we believe it is vital that we meet our dogs physical and emotional needs, even though the dogs have large 150 m2 gardens, with a maximum of 3 dogs per garden . They need daily enrichment, they need to leave their living areas and receive one on one interactions with their caregiver.

Whether it be on a peaceful walk through the mountain, a dip in the pond or a chill out session or game of ball in the play area. That’s how we learn the intricacies of our dogs personalities, things they love, like, dislike. You can’t do that when they are in their gardens with other dogs around them, they are too focused on what else is happening.

At Dogtown we pride ourselves on the fact that a caregiver has a maximum of 12 dogs in their care. To give this level of care is costly, I’m not going to lie. Could rescue be done cheaper? In some people’s eyes yes, but in anyone who has studied and understands animal behaviour and how dogs learn and survive, you would realise that no person can adequately provide proper care to more than 12 dogs in a day. Break that down. There are 9 working hours in a day, that means with 12 dogs can have 45 minutes of your time for the day. Deduct feeding, cleaning, water, poop patrol and that time can go down to 30 minutes. Can you imagine 30 minutes? That’s nothing. You can get a short walk in and then a bit of time in the play area to chill or play, you need to still squeeze in a bit of training and if we are working with a behaviour or medical issue we need to work that in to.

We also want to take part in the group classes and social walks and play dates. Yet we are often asked why we have so many staff and why do our staff have to have animal behaviour qualifications? In my head I’m asking how can we have so little? You can’t just have people there doing a job when you are working with sentient beings. You need to people who are passionate about dogs who understand and know how to enrich their lives in a shelter environment.

Humans have already let them down. We’re here to show them that they have truly been rescued.

Please help us to continue our level of care for our dogs by supporting us

You can sign up to be a furry feeder. Sponsor a dog in our care and the biggest area we need is help with our vet bills. Oh boy those vet bills.

Please help us today. Email pat@dogtownsa.org and find out how you can help us save and enrich abandoned dogs lives.