The summer holiday season is always a busy time for Hermanus Animal Welfare (HAWS) and there was some concern about how Covid would affect the situation this year, especially since a lot of the usual summer volunteers – mainly university students home on Christmas break and foreign ‘swallows’ – would probably not be available to help out at the kennels and cattery.
According to HAWS Chairperson, Pamela Quinn, in many ways it turned out to be completely different from previous years. On the one hand, they had far fewer abandoned animals to deal with, which she ascribes to the fact that perhaps not as many people travelled to other provinces for the holidays.
However, for some unknown reason, they were inundated in December with mother cats and their kittens – 115 of them in total. The cattery was completely overwhelmed and had some not been fostered and others homed, they would not have been able to accommodate them all. As it is, there are still about 74 cuddly balls of fluff waiting for new homes.
The clinic was also exceptionally busy during this period and since HAWS’ resident vet, Dr Nicole left in mid-December, the organisation had to rely on private vets to pick up the slack, for which they were extremely grateful. The demand for food has also grown exponentially as pet owners have lost their jobs or had their wages reduced.
Another valuable project which has suffered as a result of the pandemic has been HAWS’ ongoing outreach to children to create an awareness of the importance of pet care. However, Pamela says she would like to pay tribute to the entire Hermanus community for the generally low level of neglect and animal cruelty to be found here, even under these stressful circumstances.
Her greatest appeal at the beginning of a new year is for donations of dog and cat food and for volunteers willing to give some of their time to dog walking or playing with kittens and puppies – undoubtedly time well spent not just for the good of the animals, but perhaps even more so for the emotional well-being of the human volunteers. And don’t forget those kittens (not to mention older cats and dogs) all waiting for a new home to embrace with their love.
HAWS can be contacted on 028 312 1281 or for emergencies 072 360 0102.