Written by Corrine Wilson
Professional photography supplied by 1 Kennel at a Time.
I remember the thoughts I had when I first drove into Ocean View, an impoverished community near Cape Town… “There are guns, there are drugs, there are drive-by shootings. Why the hell was I doing this?”
Tired of feeling helpless
Why? Because I didn’t think I had a choice. Because I’d spent what felt like an eternity feeling completely helpless regarding animal suffering. I’d awoken a few days earlier after a restless night and realised that the only way I was going to emerge from the trenches of my despair was to become empowered. It was then, beneath the privilege of my 500-thread-count duvet, that I devised a plan: I was going to drive around Ocean View and feed 100 animals on Christmas Eve.
I can’t help but shake my head now when I think back to that day in early December 2015 when I first met Ingrid de Storie, “The Mother Theresa for the animals of Ocean View”. She’d looked at me unconvincingly and smiled. “Umm, yes, okay, I’ll help you.”
Most animal welfare initiatives don’t start off planned. They start with a “messenger” – an encounter with an animal whose scars run so deep they leave an indelible imprint in your mind. My messenger’s name was Coco.
Ingrid and I discovered her one morning in the pouring rain, trying to take shelter under a bush in a yard surrounded by empty beer bottles. I recall how we’d knelt in the mud trying to balance a piece of dry plywood in the branches and how Coco had lifted her wary head and looked at me, her deep, soulful eyes glistening with unconditional love.
I couldn’t sleep that night.
One of many
The next morning, Ingrid and I delivered our first donated kennel. I watched as the yellow paint followed the rough contours of the wood, and I remember how we both stood back and looked at the number painted on the side. “One,” Ingrid had said. “One of many,” I replied.
It was then that “1 Kennel at a Time” was born.
It didn’t take long before I became completely immersed in the lives of the people and animals in Ocean View. Through Ingrid’s eyes, I was given an incredible opportunity to see the world through a different lens, one that was far removed from the reality I was accustomed to, and it was through these humbling and often harrowing experiences when I decided to document our journey. Five years later, I hold the book in my hands: “Shine a Light”.
What an honour it’s been.
Today, with the incredible efforts of Ingrid de Storie, Trijntje de Jonge, Caron Farrell, Linda Faulty, Jeni Fleming, Tracey Stallard, and with the help of animal lovers across the Western Cape, 1 Kennel at a Time has distributed approximately 1,000 kennels to vulnerable animals, not only in Ocean View but in communities further afield.
To find out about how you can get your own copy of the incredible “Shine a Light” book, please go to: www.shinealight-thebook.co.za.