Written by Colleen Smith – Founder ODIN
Photography by Lemaryn Barendse
The very beginning
Oudtshoorn is a small town in the Klein Karoo area of the Western Cape; resources are limited and poverty abounds.
My life changed completely in January 2016 when I went to our local municipal pound to adopt a puppy. The abject horror I was met with had me crying for three days. That Sunday morning, I got up and told my husband: “I cannot be one of those that say ‘someone must do something’. I WILL be doing something.”
And so, the slow, painful process began. Just me, the pound, and an uphill battle. I abandoned my tiny lucrative business, stopped exercising, stopped seeing friends and family… and started Oudtshoorn Dogs in Need.
Initially it was to get proper food and medical care and rehome. As everything began steamrolling due to our Facebook page exposure, some fantastic people in town got involved too. This was promptly followed by many incredible supporters in the Garden Route, the rest of SA and even from overseas; and a rainbow welfare was born.
Today we have a fantastic group of volunteers. We each have our specific talents and as such are able to respect each other’s views and ideas. Together this team rocks welfare in our town, each of us bringing a special contribution to the organisation.
What makes us different?
Oudtshoorn Dogs in Need (ODIN) is an animal welfare organisation in Oudtshoorn, operating from the municipal pound. The municipality collects the stray, unwanted and sick; they come into the pound and we assist.
We have, by default, also become a mini clinic – the community streams to us for assistance and, at the same time, due to our outreach programme and “No Warnings” policy, we receive tip-offs from animals being abused or in dire straits.
We offer assistance to the community (deworming, supplying tick and flea prevention, etcetera), and send animals in need to our vet (the bill averaging R45,000 per month).
We do not euthanise animals unless for medical or aggression reasons. And we find homes…all over South Africa. We’ve had dogs running around at our kennels for more than a year – just to find THE MOST fantastic homes. We RESCUE, MEDICATE, EDUCATE AND REHOME dogs, cats, farm animals and livestock.
Our dogs socialise. They are in runs (as challenged as the structures currently at the pound are) and people can walk in through the gate and mix freely with our animals. It’s a bit like organised chaos – rather like the proper “at home” feeling.
Our aim with our outreach programme is to educate people; to get one dog healthy in the yard and, in so doing, prevent the constant need for supply and demand of puppies since their dogs never get much older. We also assist immediately in educating and getting dogs off chains. We understand the importance of sterilising and pay for up to ten sterilisations per week – but we find it far more important to address the “no breeding” issue.
We interact and use the services of all the specialist rescue breed organisations, such as Cape Dachshund Rescue, Sidewalk Specials, Adorabull Rescue, Spaniel Rescue, Sighthound Rescue and many others. We believe in fostering as well as weekends “out” and rides in the bakkie for each dog.
The Mantra of Dignity for every animal is portrayed in our vision:
We provide much more than just food.
We give HOPE TO THE HOPELESS,
A place to call HOME to the unwanted,
Kindness to the abused,
Dignity to the old,
Confidence to the Young.
But, most importantly, we give LOVE to each and every one.
THAT is why we put our hearts on the line EVERY SINGLE DAY.
To some, they are nothing; to us they are the WORLD.
We see beauty beyond the scars, the terror, the dirt, the utter hopelessness.
They call us dreamers but we are the ones that never sleep.
WE ARE THE OUDTSHOORN DOGS IN NEED, WE ARE RESCUE.
How many times can a heart break? As many times as it takes.
The future is bigger and better
Oudtshoorn is a small town with limited resources to assist welfare organisations. Therefore, we appeal to our Facebook followers for assistance. We place 70% of our dogs outside the perimeters of Oudtshoorn, from Camps Bay to Gauteng! To date, the larger part of our support has come from our Facebook supporters, many from the Garden Route. Whilst we’re blessed to have overseas assistance occasionally, we still cannot stay ahead.
We supply all food, staff, medical assistance, vehicles, petrol, structures, and much more. And we’re going bigger and better!
ODIN has decided to put its toes in the water and go big (and alone). We’ll work closely with the SPCA Garden Route, which is taking over the Oudtshoorn pound, but will remain a rescue organisation on its own. We’re in the process of securing a large piece of land that’s close to the current pound but far more accessible to the community and out-of-town visitors. The larger grounds will offer more playing space for our dogs and cats.
On 21 November 2017, we’ll launch our stand-alone welfare organisation, NPO, calendar and video, and then the hard work begins.
We intend to establish a basic clinic three days a week, as well as a coffee shop, second hand shop, boarding kennels and puppy crèche. This will secure extra income, helping us to be self-sustaining.
How you can help
Aside from funding, we need all the basics – blankets, bowls, bedding, toys, and food. We’ll also be needing cleaning products to keep everything hygienic, medication such as ear cleaner and antiseptic products, and any other pet products.
Building materials and roll-on lawn will also be required. And, of course, we always need foster and forever homes for the animals.
Check out the video on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/1445656879040158/videos/1958431481096026/
To find out more, please contact ODIN on 072 084 1374 or 044 203 3927, and follow them on Facebook @Oudtshoorn Dogs in Need
Banking details: FNB – Kango Veterinary Hospital CC – Cheque Account; Branch Code: 210414; Acc. No.: 621 0377 4164; Acc.: A10061 Dogs in Need
Please let us know if you donate so we can thank you!