Left to right: Carla Lourens, Marliza Stander, Caron Burger and Elana Lodewyk
Photography by Sanjay Singh
Grace Animal Sanctuary (NPO 170-288) – where the paws are the cause.
Grace came into existence through the calling to rescue of founder Caron Burger after 30 years of private rescue experience. Joining her are the awesome women who make up the backbone of a well-loved team: Marliza Stander, our sensible head and treasurer, foster mamma and administrative support; Elana Lodewyk, our fearless “Barbie”, intrepid rescuer, admin support and safety and security officer; Carla Lourens, whose amazing C-max team never hesitate to accompany us into dodgy rescues or collect a lost soul roadside.
Grace at work
Grace rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes or retires an average of 900 animals (predominantly dogs) annually. We rehome lots of puppies, often taking in multiple litters at a time. All of them need names, so we begin each year on “A-litter” and work our way through the alphabet. To illustrate how many we rehome, as of December, we are on “H” for the fourth time in 2018…
Although we strive to one day own our very own Grace-land, we currently rely on foster homes for puppies and pay private kennelling for adult dogs or rely on other shelters to house our rescues.
Our aim is to sterilise and vaccinate every animal passing through our books.
We are blessed to have four amazing vets located strategically to assist with our rescues. Each member of the Grace team is also equipped to deal with minor medical emergencies.
We are publicly funded, relying on the beneficence of donors, supporters, fans and volunteers for funding of vet bills and food, blankets, toys and parasite control. Team members also work full-time jobs in order to support our rescue “habit”.
Grace regularly arranges fun events to cover our costs and raise awareness for our cause. From theatre, auctions, raffles and sales to adoption days and dog walks – we believe in giving something useful in return without simply begging for handouts. We regularly update our Facebook page with activities we invite the public to attend, so keep an eye out for fun ways to support the cause.
Grace also has our own branded range of flat caps, jt vests, T-shirts, hoodies, mugs and bottled water for sale upon order from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporters are encouraged to sign a monthly (minimal) debit order as Grace is StratCol approved. Without you, Grace cannot fly.
All our adoptions are strictly handled. Adoption forms precede thorough home checks (to ensure safety from theft, loss, drowning or injury), followed by meet and greet. All our adoptees are either sterilised (included in adoption fee) before leaving us or upon reaching five months of age.
All are vaccinated and dewormed before rehoming and have recently included microchipping in the fee. Unfortunately, the adoption fee seldom covers the costs incurred with very ill, young or injured babies.
We regularly update our Facebook page with our fur kids up for adoption.
Eradication through education
Grace believes in eradication of ignorance, neglect or abuse through education. Beginning at grass-roots level, we outreach into schools and townships, encouraging pet owners to not only take better care of their animals, but of themselves.
We accept invitations to visit and speak with children in every community and are always accompanied by a rescue dog or two to prove our point. Many disadvantaged communities or special-needs children have an unrealistic fear of dogs and fear brings defensive retaliation towards the advances or contact with animals; Grace aims to help alleviate these fears by showing their gentle, loving natures.
Grace deals with every breed of dog that finds its way into our lives. We have township specials and pure breeds, mini puppies and giant dogs, all needing our help. We take as many as we can without discrimination and equally successfully find homes for every single one.
Our expertise lies with “power breeds”, specifically the misunderstood and oft-vilified Pit Bull Terriers and other bull breeds. Because of our knowledge about the needs of these breeds, we are very particular and strict about their home checks.
Grace is incredibly trusted within poorer communities where baiting, breeding and fighting are rife and provide an income or entertainment to both adults and children jaded and immune to the harsher realities of life. Once again education is tantamount to eliminate cruel and “accepted” behaviour and build instead a foundation of pride, empathy and understanding of animal needs and basic rights to food, fresh water, shelter and exercise.
Paying it forward
Grace is incredibly humbled to often be privileged enough to be able to share. We are blessed to receive but never hesitate to pay it forward. We assist as many struggling organisations as possible with vetting, feeding and parasite control, and we share whatever we have to those orgs most in need at the time. Thus far we are proud to have helped 15 animal welfare organisations get through two winters without running short of food or dry bedding.
Recently, Grace has teamed up with Beagle in Mind, an education trust dedicated to assessing, fostering, and rehabilitating “problem” hounds and supporting their families. While helping a misunderstood, confused Beagle named Benji, the two organisations realised they could do wonderful things together… and so BRAG (Beagle Rehoming and Assessments with Grace) was born. BRAG is for the rehoming of Beagles under the umbrella of Grace.
“Grace has brought them this far and Grace will take them home.”
To view our adoptions, please browse our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pg/npo.grace/), email email@example.com for adoption forms or debit order forms, or to visit one of our kennels to volunteer walk, visit our website https://www.graceanimalsanctuary.org/ or you can contact us on 072 844 0250.