Matlosana Animal Shelter: The Little Rescue With A Big Heart 

By Vanessa Papas: Meet Themba – a little dog of about four years old that was dumped on the N12 highway last month. The Matlosana Animal Shelter in Stilfontein, North West Province, were alerted to the poor pooch’s plight and inspector Nidine van Zyl immediately responded. The bewildered mixed wirehaired small breed was an emaciated little bundle of fear with a bad leg injury. Looking at his condition, it was estimated he had probably been on the street, and forced to fend for himself, for about two weeks. It appeared that his leg might have suffered an old break that had never been fixed. He was battling to walk and stand, showing clear signs of pain, and his balance was off.

The dog was rushed to the vet and put on a drip as he was very dehydrated. For the next two days staff carefully monitored his condition. By the third day he was off the drip and eating on his own. The team at Matlosana Animal Shelter worked day and night with the dog, who had at first shown signs of aggression, until he was accustomed to and trusting of people. Only then did his real character and personality start to shine. Under what was a rough exterior, Themba was actually a sweetheart who loved to cuddle and play.

After much consideration and different opinions, the decision was made to have Temba’s leg amputated. Fortunately, a second batch of x-rays gave a glimmer of hope. Themba could probably keep his leg if he underwent extensive physio and water therapy. It is predicted that he will one day regain not all but partial use of his leg.

A family in Canada, Thalita Brown and her husband Des, decided to adopt Themba. This is not the first four-legged child they have opened their home to from Matlosana Animal Shelter. About a year ago the couple adopted a cross breed township dog named Bongani after reading about the dog on the Shelter’s website and in local newspapers.

Bongani had been found in Khuma Township in Stilfontein with severe burn wounds. It was discovered someone had thrown boiling water over the dog and left her for dead. She suffered extreme burns to her head and the right side of her body. She had to undergo several skin – a gruelling process that continued for roughly five weeks before Bongani was discharged from the vet. If everything runs smoothly Themba will be flying to Canada by the end of the month and join Bongani. As with all overseas adoptions through Matlosana Animal Shelter, Themba’s new owner will be covering the translocation costs from the flights, to the vaccinations, to the sterilisation. Fortunately, the dog will not need to be quarantined when she arrives in the country. Canada SPCA has also conducted a family and home check to ensure everything is in order before Temaba arrives.

Matlosana Animal Shelter is a non-profit organisation that consists of a group of dedicated animal lovers who rescue dogs from a life of homelessness, hunger and loneliness. The team consists of a qualified animal inspector, two kennel assistants and one office lady, as well as a few dedicated volunteers who fight animal cruelty, rescue animals and educate people on general animal welfare. The Shelter’s biggest goal is to be a voice that is heard throughout the nation to put an end to shelter euthanasia.

“Matlosana Animal Shelter, which opened its doors on 14 June, 2016, is a totally no kill facility. We do not kill healthy or treatable animals even if the shelter is full. Euthanasia is reserved only for terminally ill animals or those considered a danger to human society, we use many strategies to promote our shelter animals by expanding our resources using volunteers, excellent housing and medical protocols,” says Suzette Kotze, co-founder of the Shelter. “We have various programmes including spay/neuter programmes, adoption programmes and retention programmes. Currently we have over 200 animals who are looking for homes. In addition to the dogs we care for, we also have two donkeys and a rescue horse on our premise.  The horse was very abused and came to the shelter on her death bed. With all adoptions, we consult with potential owners offering advice on the dogs and pairing and matching your home with the most suitable pet that fits into your home.”

Pay it forward

Without your support Matlosana Animal Shelter can’t change lives!  Funding is important to maintain the life and vitality of the institution for the benefit of all animals in their care. They need funding from the public, and in order to be operational they rely solely on the support of the community. If you are in a position to assist, donations can be made into the following account: Matlosana Animal Shelter, FNB Cheque, Account: 62620437691, Branch Code: 240538.​ The Shelter is also in need of the following items: paper towels, dog biscuits (small or medium size), plastic pet carriers (medium size), stuffed animals, dog collars and leads of any size, building material, dry chlorine or F10, hosepipes, water boots, toys for recovering animals and dewormer. For more information e-mail: [email protected], or call 072 814 5927.