Celebrating 1000 sterilisations; to date we’ve done 1054, performing about 45 a month
Back row – left to right: Paulene Hardy, Carmen Stevens, Shirley Cowling and Elizabeth Coetzee
Front row – left to right: Colleen Sherren, Berenice Kilfoil and Barbara Barnard
Written and photography supplied by Paulene Hardy
In January 2020, two friends, Paulene Hardy and Carmen Stevens, were walking their dogs together, discussing the sad state of so many dogs and cats that were wandering the streets searching for food, neglected and continually multiplying and suffering. They were aware that more and more appeared on the streets. Breeding was out of control!
Their concern for the welfare of animals has always been a shared interest; they talked about how the situation could be alleviated. By the time their walk was over, they’d decided to try and raise funds and pay for sterilisations, which they agreed was the only solution in order to decrease the number of stray cats and dogs.
The hard work begins
First things first. Both these ladies opened up a bank account with hope in their hearts that money could be raised and their dream would become a reality. Spay It Forward was born and the hard work began!
After several constructive discussions with the SPCA, it became a joint effort. Paulene and Carmen would help to arrange cats and dogs to be brought in to Dr Kriel, the SPCA vet, and they’d fund local sterilisations. Local, at that time, meant Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape. The very first dog was safely brought in and sterilised on the 2nd of February 2020. Paulene and Carmen were advised to keep detailed records of every cat and dog sterilised, where the animals were picked up from or where they were living, whether male or female, and if they were actually owned.
Although encouraged and keen to proceed, their endeavours were thwarted when the country went into lockdown in March 2020. This was unexpected and unwelcome; however, it gave them both time to raise money ready to restart when the SPCA reopened.
Bit by bit
The sterilisations of three dogs were undertaken in June, three more in July, and a further three in August. This was far from where they hoped to be, having aimed at 8–10 sterilisations a month. It wasn’t long after Spay It Forward was established that Paulene and Carmen realised a little more help was needed. That help came from three more enthusiastic ladies, Colleen Sherren, Barbara Barnard, and Avril Tonks, and at a later stage, Berenice Kilfoil and Shirley Cowling.
Over a period of time, donations trickled in which, although minimal, were enough to cover the cost of just a few sterilisations each month.
A monthly book sale is held in the village of St Francis Bay, which is Spay It Forward’s main source of income; good quality books, jigsaw puzzles and board games are donated, sorted and resold. They now have four outlets also selling books on their behalf.
Over a period of three years, the monthly sterilisations of cats and dogs have increased way beyond the anticipated 8–10. In fact, on average between 40–45 every month are funded and logged through the records of Spay It Forward. Along with the increase in sterilisations, the area covered now extends all over the Kouga district.
A noticeable difference
Spay It Forward has become a well-established, recognisable organisation, prioritising street dogs and cats, and pets belonging to people on a very limited income. There’s a noticeable difference in the number of starving, breeding dogs on the streets, on rubbish tips and on informal settlements, and in exactly three years from their very first “patient”, Spay It Forward is proud to have funded 1054 sterilisations.
Spay It Forward thanks Dr Kriel, staff of the SPCA Assisi, their sponsors, supporters, volunteers and members of the public who’ve helped their dream become a reality, saving more and more cats and dogs from breeding, suffering and starving.
Spay It Forward
First National Bank
Branch Code: 210115
Account number: 62842701890