Irwin Animal Rescue Centre

Written by Tanya Pearce and Sue Rudnick – volunteers at IARC

Irwin Animal Rescue Centre in De Deur, south of Johannesburg, is home to over 60 dogs, most of which are over six years old. The majority have never had the luxury of a loving home and many grew up at the centre.

The dogs here come from all walks of life, from being surrendered by people who could no longer care for them to having been rescued from terrible circumstances. All of them are given a second chance at a new life.

A comfortable sanctuary

The rescue centre is a sanctuary for these dogs. They live comfortably in spacious enclosures, always have full tummies, and enjoy interaction with volunteers who walk and socialise them.

Our dogs get the best care possible; they’re housed in 20m x 20m enclosures with cosy kennels, and shade ports to cover them from the sun and rain. In summer, each enclosure has its own “swimming pool” for the dogs to cool down in.

The centre welcomes volunteers to come and spend time with the dogs, giving them treats, walking them and bathing them (weather permitting). Our dogs really appreciate it a lot and thrive on the attention. It also helps to prepare them for possible rehoming.

We also help in our own community when we’re called out to assist with a sick or injured animal, or a stray running in the streets.  

Adopting an IARC dog

All our dogs are up for adoption and it’s our deepest hope that, one day, they will all experience a loving home with a family who will care for them. Some of our dogs will probably never be adopted as they are shy and nervous. But we’ll never give up on them and will ensure that they have a home with us.

We don’t have an adoption fee, but will gladly accept a donation. We do, however, have a very strict home check policy. Our dogs are all sterilised, vaccinated annually and dewormed every three months, and get microchipped before they leave to go to their new families.

All our beautiful dogs can be seen on our Facebook (link below). And if you cannot adopt but would still like to help, you can sponsor a dog for only R200-00 a month.

Outreach work

Steynsrus is a small, very poor community near Kroonstad, around two hours away from De Deur. There’s no vet or animal welfare near them, and so there’s no vet care; there’s also a major animal overpopulation problem. Together with the amazing Society for Animals in Distress team, Irwin Animal Rescue Centre has made a real difference in this area and are proud to say that, over the last year, around 1,000 dogs and cats have been sterilised.

Every couple of months, for five days at a time, we run an outreach in Steynsrus. In the run-up, we appeal to animal lovers to donate dog and cat food, blankets, carpets, collars and leads, and bridles and bits for the horses. We want to change their lives for the better in as many ways as we can.

We’ve donated 50 of our own kennels that were not in use for dogs that have never had any form of shelter – the Steynsrus community are not well-off and cannot afford this kind of thing. We assisted those families who’d already sterilised their dogs by donating a kennel and bedding as a “reward” (and incentive to others). It was overwhelming to see these dogs who’d never had any comfort in their lives going into their kennels and lying down and looking at us with almost a smile on their faces.

Some of these dogs were on short chains and, wherever possible, we assisted with “runners” (a long cable/wire which is attached to the chain) so that they had a little freedom to move around.

Another important goal of the outreaches is to teach the community that being kind and looking after their animals will be for their benefit as well as benefitting the animal.

Where we are and how you can help

Irwin Animal Rescue Centre is situated in the south of Johannesburg, at 59 Aloe Ridge Drive, Elandsfontein, and is open seven days a week.

To find out more, volunteer, or adopt, contact 078 199 5861 or 079 051 2664, email us at or follow their Facebook page @irwinanimalrescue. To sponsor a dog, comment under the photo of the dog you’d like to sponsor or email them.

If you would like to assist us by donating, our banking details are:

Irwin Animal Rescue Centre

Standard Bank


Account Number: 021945756

Branch Code: 014537

Deposit Reference: Your name and cell number so we can follow up and thank you.