By Vanessa Papas PEOPLE HAS HEART: WHEN Woodrock Animal Rescue announced they wanted to build a medical clinic that would help hundreds of animals in need, an environmental lawyer with a heart for adventure and animal welfare stepped up to the plate.
Woodrock Animal Rescue is a non-profit, pro-life, rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing facility in Gauteng that believes that each animal deserves a loving, stable and ‘forever home’. Woodrock provides assistance to countless abused, neglected, stray, injured, ill, geriatric and unwanted animals that would otherwise have miserable lives and premature deaths. At Woodrock all animals receive personal attention, touch and love. This promotes the rehabilitation and healing process so that successful re-homing can suffice in the shortest turn-around time possible, thereby creating space for the next rescue.
Nicholas and Estelle Meldau, the founders, together with amazing staff and ongoing community support, will go above and beyond the call of duty to save an animal’s life. They are also involved with the local community and strive to educate people, especially children, on responsible pet ownership and the humane treatment of animals. As a township initiative, Woodrock feeds animals from these communities, regularly spays and neuters animals, supplies shelter and comfort to these animals in the form of dog kennels and blankets, provide inoculations, rabies injections and other veterinary assistance, and conducts a regular dipping service.
“One of our biggest dreams has always been to build a clinic on our premises where we can medically treat and sterilise rescue animals that come into our care,” explains Estelle. “At the moment many of animals we are looking after – and we have over 130 dogs at the moment – to be transported to Johannesburg for treatment – an hour and a half round trip – which is traumatic for the animals, expensive, and often wastes precious times when there is an emergency.”
When Matthew Burnell heard about Woodrock’s dream, he immediately offered to help in obtaining the funding – by walking one step at a time across Greenland! Matthew is hoping to
become the first South African to have crossed Greenland and reached the magnetic North Pole on foot and, on doing so, fulfil Woodrock’s aim. Burnell is appealing to corporates and individuals to raise R1 000 000 before he reaches the eastern coast of Greenland on 20 May 2016. All money will go towards building the clinic at Woodrock’s facility in the Hennops River Valley, 20 minutes north of Fourways, Johannesburg.
“When I welcomed a miniature schnauzer into my family- who I named Henry – I was exposed to the Schnauzer Friends South Africa community. In 2015, they shut down a large schnauzer puppy farm in Mpumalanga with over 300 breeding schnuazers being medically treated, sterilised and rehomed into loving homes,” explains Matthew. “Woodrock stepped up to the challenge and assisted the Schnauzer Friends South Africa rescue team with advice and infrastructure, even when their own shelter was overflowing. Having a medical clinic on their premises will enable Woodrock to medically treat and sterilise many rescue animals that come into its care. In addition the clinic will assist Woodrock with its flagship township outreach programme to assist the surrounding communities to care for and sterilise their pets. A clinic at Woodrock will change the lives of many rescue animals going forward. ”
Matthew says he was inspired to follow Woodrock’s mantra ‘Action not Words’ and wanted to make a difference to rescue animals’ lives. “In April 2013, I trekked from Resolute Bay in Canada to the Magnetic North Pole. We overcame blizzards, polar bears and temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius (with the wind chill),” he says. “This year, in April/May I will be undertaking another one of the famous Arctic expeditions: a coast to coast crossing of Greenland. This 540km trek is extremely challenging. I will have to negotiate crevasses in the glacier, where it reaches an altitude of 2500m above sea level. This trip will be unsupported which means that we will be pulling all of our supplies and kit behind us in sleds, weighing around 80kg each. Upon completing this expedition, I will be the first South African to have achieved both of these milestones.”
Pay It Forward
The first phase of the medical clinic is its actual construction and this will be the phase that readers will be contributing towards during this fundraising effort. If you are in a position to donate, log onto www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/operation-greenland-crossing-the-arctic-f. Alternatively you can donate via a deposit with reference ‘clinic’ to Woodrock Animal Rescue, First National Bank, Account Number: 62463902299, Branch Code: 254005, Cheque Account, Reference: CLINIC, Swift Code (international): FIRNZAJJ. Woodrock is also looking for volunteers who can assist in caring for the animals, as well as donations of goods like water plastic baths, playpens, dog and cat food, cleaning equipment, balls, leads, and blankets. Items can be dropped off at Woodrock (Plot 51, on the R511 between Fourways and Hartbeespoort, Hennops River Valley), or a drop off point at 43 Lincoln Street Woodmead Sandton. Alternatively collection can be arranged. For more information on Woodrock email [email protected]