An unexpected COVID relief grant from the UK-based animal charity organisation, Battersea, enabled the Hartbeespoort Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) to keep the doors open and to assist pet owners during the past two difficult years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was totally unexpected and the grant came just in time before we had to make difficult decisions. Donations critically dwindled during the pandemic and the need among pet owners dramatically increased. We were at crossroads and then the grant came along,” says HAWS chairperson, Linda Spencer-Coye.
Battersea is a well-known animal charity organisation in London who attempts to help animal welfare organisations all over the world. “They formed a Round Table in South Africa and HAWS was invited to join. They offered us a grant, training and other benefits. The grant came at a time when we most needed it. We were very careful throughout 2020 and managed to get assistance but then 2021 came and brought with it bigger problems,” she says. Many people lost their jobs during the pandemic and could not care for their pets. HAWS tried to assist these pet owners and keep the animals in their homes to reduce the number of animals surrendered.
“The grant of 7 500 Pounds enabled us to assist struggling pet owners and save pet lives,” she says.
One such a case was a disabled man ‘Future’ who lives in an informal settlement and whose companion dog, ‘Moses’ got very sick. Despite his disability due to a leg injury, he walked 2 km with Moses to seek help.
The four-month-old dog had Parva and spent five days in HAWS’ clinic to receive treatment. Moses walked the four kilometres every day to visit his dog while he was sick. Moses made a full recovery and was later vaccinated and spayed. “Future did not know that his beloved companion needed to be vaccinated. He has now been educated about preventative care and he has already referred two other pet owners who have come to us for help. This grant enabled us to educate and save lives. It has made all the difference in many people’s lives and that of their pets.”
The Battersea animal welfare organisation is committed to supporting other animal rescue organisations all over the world. “We know that we can help more animals by working together with others than we can alone, especially in areas where the need is high but there is scarce resources and little public help. We offer a range of grants to help successful applicants develop and deliver specific projects that will benefit dogs and cats.”