Written by Lindie van Rooyen, founder of Purrpaws for Life
Photography courtesy of Philson Photography, Jannien’s Photography and Johan van der Westhuizen
As a child, my parents always had Miniature Doberman Pinschers and they were my best friends! During every school holiday, I spent time at the pool reading with my dogs as company instead of spending time with my (human) friends at their homes. But my little furry friends had to sleep outside as per my dad’s instructions.
I was the kid that decided my little ones had to sleep with me. Teaching the fur kids to run around the house and straight to my bedroom window was quite easy – sneaking them in through the window to sleep with me was the main aim. Which, of course, I did. And then, when they died, I cried my eyes out every night when I went to bed, never telling anyone of my little secret...
A dream of lots of animals
Years later, when I was finally a grown woman, my biggest dream was to have lots of animals and sufficient space to keep them all. And, in 2005, when we moved to the smallholding where the shelter is today, my dream started becoming true with four dogs, four cats and roughly 50-odd farm animals, including the six horses we had at that time.
But it was only years later, in 2010, that I became involved with Irwins Animal Rescue; helping them with finding food supplies and collecting food for them.
The one question I always had was what my purpose was in this life? At that stage I knew that I was good with animals, and had more patience than most people to work with them. That triggered the idea to start helping the stray animals that Irwins couldn’t help by providing a shelter in my home. The dream started small, but within six months we had 45 dogs and 80 cats!
A purposeful name
Then everyone started asking: “Is this a legit operation?” So I had to find a name for the shelter; playing with ideas but not knowing what I wanted was pretty confusing. And then the light came on, knowing that my question had been answered by realising my passion through the shelter: my purpose in life is animals – PURRS for the cats and PAWS for the dogs. My purpose was FOR the rest of my life. My purpose was to fight FOR LIFE for the animals.
And so, PURRPAWS FOR LIFE was born and registered, with our main aim to fight for animals’ rights for life.
A chance for every animal
We believe in giving all animals a chance. We don’t euthanise them because we run out of space or we run out of money. We only euthanise animals that have NO chance of a quality life, afflicted with a terminal disease or illness. We believe that dogs with aggression have rehabilitation issues and can be cured.
If we run out of space, we build more enclosures; if we run out of money, we send out pleas for help via the social media network we’ve built up over the last few years. Thus, the end result is a No Kill shelter with a purpose to fight for animals for life and rights.
Today we are fortunate to have some amazing supporters who help with fundraising initiatives and who support us in networking our cause.
And thus my childhood dream came true and I’ve dedicated my life to the animals, to be their voice.
The dream works through team work
It’s an extremely sad world to work in some days, dealing with the abused, abandoned and neglected animals that we get to work with. But the amazing heart-warming stories where animals are found and either rehomed or reunited with their owners, as well as the success stories of sick, emaciated and abused animals turning out into loving and devoted family pets are the reason we keep doing what we do.
Today, it’s no longer only my dream that came true but also that of my daughter, Chanel Welch, who supports me and works for the shelter. Awie, my husband, dedicates all his time and effort to my dream, and a handful of wonderful volunteers dedicate their own lives to helping the cause.
It’s not a task or a job that can be done alone. Without the help of my dedicated supporters I would not be able to live my dream or follow my passion to help animals, as we are today.
For more information about Purrpaws for Life, please contact Lindie at 083 650 9558, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, visit www.purrpawsforlife.co.za, and follow Purrpaws For Life on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/PurrPawsForLife