People from all over the city opened their hearts and their homes when The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) put out an urgent appeal for volunteers to foster dogs from the society’s kennels during lockdown.
Called “The Great Escape”, the plan is to give rescue dogs a safe home during lockdown while Tears and its charity shops are closed, says the organisation’s general manager, Lauren Carlyle.
Tears will still provide emergency services to sick, injured, stray and abandoned animals in Masiphumelele, Ocean View, Redhill and Vrygrond.
The veterinary hospital will also remain open to treat animals in need, and the Tears mobile clinic will continue to ambulance sick and injured animals and rescue strays and abandoned pets.
Thousands of people had emailed offers of support and care within the first three days of the appeal, and all 117 dogs and puppies had been fostered, Ms Carlyle said.
Kittens in their care have also been fostered while a team, working on rotation, is caring for 100 cats at Wenga Farm.
Tears director and co-founder Marilyn Hoole said it was inspiring to know there were so many caring and compassionate supporters who wanted to help them.
“We’ve already heard from many of the fosterers, admitting that they are foster failures, and won’t be returning their fostered dogs,” she said.
Gabrielle Miglietta, of Vredehoek, is one of them. She responded immediately after seeing the plea on Facebook.
“My daughters aged 6 and 11 have been asking me for a pet for ages, and I thought this would be the ideal situation to see if they are ready for a pet,” she said.
They drove to Tears and fell in love with a dog called Albert. However, her daughters convinced her to get a friend for Albert and they decided to take Skye too.
But when they returned the following day to collect the dogs, Albert had already gone to a foster home so they took Skye.
“She is just divine and so loving and opened her heart to us,” Ms Miglietta said.
She said they had had a lot of fun with Skye and had taken her to the tennis club the day before lockdown.
“There is no way she is going anywhere. We are keeping her,” she said.
However, Ms Miglietta said she couldn’t stop thinking about Albert.
“I fell in love with him when I looked into his eyes, and I believe he does not have a forever home yet.”
Tears has created an emergency relief fund so it can continue its rescue work during lockdown and offset the loss of income it will suffer from temporarily closing its four charity shops.
* Visit https://tears.org.za/donate/ to make a donation or www.tears.org.za/shop/ to order pet food or supplies from the Tears online shop.
To follow the rescues during lockdown, visit The Great Escape on Facebook.