Left to right: Zettie Van Dyk (volunteer), Richelle Graham (Founder and Manager), Angelique Loubser (Kennel Manager) and Chantal Ellis (volunteer) and Shirnol Willemse (Farm Manager) in the front
Professional photography by LumoX Images
Nine years ago, Richelle Graham was volunteering all her time at a local SPCA when, one tragic day, a call came in about a pregnant dog tied to a railway line.
Little did she know that this dog was to be the catalyst for thousands of animals being helped and, ultimately, the founding of Dead Animals Walking.
The dog that started it all
Richelle rushed there as fast as she could, but, horrifically, the train had already gone over the dog. Her front leg was severed and she was in complete shock. After cutting the heavily pregnant white-and-black dog loose, Richelle rushed her to the nearest vet, begging them to do everything possible to save the traumatised dog’s life and vowing to raise all the money herself by getting her story out in the public. She did exactly that, and although the little dog lost all her puppies, she survived her ordeal.
Richelle named her Lucky Lucy, and today she’s alive, happy and well, despite having only three legs. Inspired by Lucky Lucy’s will to survive, Richelle quit her modelling and acting career to dedicate herself to work full time in animal welfare.
Dead Animals Walking
After several years in animal welfare, Richelle founded Dead Animals Walking (DAW) in 2014. The name of the organisation represents exactly the sort of animals we rescue: those that would otherwise not have a chance at life.
Located in Joostenbergvlakte, some 30km outside Cape Town, DAW gives badly abused and neglected animals, on the verge of death, a DAW (door) to a new life. Almost everyone at DAW is a volunteer.
Angelique Loubser, our kennel manager (and only other full-time staff member), dedicates her life beyond means to help run DAW successfully. She helps Richelle do the daily township runs, countless vet visits, mass sterilisations and 24/7 care of every sick animal in our haven, which she keeps clean and organised. Her passion and commitment to DAW is very commendable.
Our board members also play an integral role in the proper management of the organisation, as they too dedicate all their time and efforts voluntarily.
Our mission statement says it all: we actively work and live by our set of principles of rescuing, rehabilitating, relieving, sterilising and rehoming one animal at a time, as well as educating and uplifting one destitute child or adult at a time.
We are unfaltering, fearless, dependable and staunch animal rescue workers who’ll stop at nothing to make a difference!
To reduce the number of unwanted, severely neglected and abused animals.
- To minimise the incidence of animal cruelty and abuse.
- To improve general standards of animal health and welfare, thereby improving the health and welfare of people too.
- To encourage responsible pet care and farm animal care and ownership through humane education.
- Provide primary healthcare services such as vaccinations, deworming, sterilisation, tick and flea control and microchipping
Working tirelessly for the animals
In a nutshell, Dead Animals Walking is a registered (NPO 148-719), non-profit, animal welfare foundation that works tirelessly against the plight of animals deemed hopeless and on the verge of death due to torturous over-population, cruel, intentional abuse and neglect, and lack of education in the humane care of all animals.
We’re also committed to the rehabilitation and rescue of farm animals, and to social improvement and education of destitute children and families in the communities which we serve.
We pride ourselves in providing rescue, rehabilitation, relief, primary healthcare, sterilisation and educational efforts in impoverished communities and farms in Cape Town by applying lifesaving interventions.
DAW rescues hopelessly abused, neglected and unwanted animals, to ensure they never have to suffer again, by rehabilitating them and then rehoming them into loving homes. We provide relief for animals who’ll have no quality of life or no positive prognosis for recovery by humane euthanasia.
TO DATE WE HAVE
- Sterilised over 2,085 animals.
- Rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed over 500 dogs.
- Rehabilitated and educated the owners on further care, over 488 dogs and cats.
- Rescued and rehabilitated over 200 farm animals.
- Provided primary healthcare for the poor or impoverished, over 1,880 dogs and cats.
And every single day these numbers climb continuously.
Rescue, Relief, Rehabilitation and Rehoming Campaigns:
We do this daily by working in the impoverished communities and townships where we’ll rescue the truly hopeless, almost lifeless animals. We perform daily rescue missions in the townships and surrounding areas.
We provide rehabilitation of these rescued animals through the safe haven on our farm and then rehome them through our adoption process into loving families. Unfortunately, some of the animals we encounter cannot be rehabilitated, as they’ve surpassed any return from the suffering they’ve endured; for these animals, we can only provide them with relief by humanely euthanising them.
Educational and social upliftment programmes:
We tackle this project once a month in our townships and schools in the surrounding area. Our goals are on teaching justice, respect and compassion for all life. Our programmes focus on stubbing out ignorance and promoting accountability and responsibility.
The destitute people and children in these communities suffer from lack of knowledge and thus cause suffering due to their lack of education. This can cause a vicious cycle, where the children get raised with lack of empathy or compassion for animals.
On a monthly basis we also provide food for the people and their animals in these disadvantaged communities. They can barely afford food for themselves, let alone for their pets.
Along with this, we believe in uplifting these communities by providing them with the tools and skills to sustain themselves. We teach them how to grow their own vegetable gardens and how to do woodwork; this contributes to their self-worth by not only learning something but having a way to create an income and sustain themselves and their families.
Funds permitting, we do mass sterilisations for as many animals as we can, whether it’s an animal in the township or on the street scavenging, or an animal with an owner who can’t afford private vet fees.
We do everything possible to prevent the contribution to the overpopulation crisis of animals. We focus on changing the numbers one by one to reduce overpopulation, abuse, neglect and homeless animals.
We have a haven on the farm in Joostenbergvlakte for the animals that we rescue. We work daily to provide them with only the best primary healthcare, shelter and love that they need and deserve until they’re adopted.
- Dog food
- Puppy food
- Dog treats such as Beenos, Dentastix, peanut butter, coconut oil, etc.
- Kyron Milko-pup milk replacement formula for bottle babies
- Hill’s A/D or Gastrointestinal food for the sickly animals
- Fowl mix for rabbits, and chickens and other feathered rescues
- Carrots, watermelon, apples or veggies for our tortoises and farm animals
- Dog collars and leads (new or second hand)
- Tea, coffee and sugar for our hard-working staff
- Automatic machine washing powder
- Dishwashing liquid, Domestos and Pine Gel
- Brooms, mops, cleaning rags and sponges
- Betadine ointment
- Betadine/Biotane solution
- Injection needles (23g) and syringes of all sizes
- F10 Disinfectant, F10 Ointment and F10 Wound Spray
- Dewormers (Tri-worm or Quantel)
- Rubber gloves for workers when cleaning
- Toilet paper
- Nexguard, Bravecto and Capstar for all sizes
- Big black dustbins and bin bags
- Large buckets to carry water
- Large plastic drinking water bowls
- Plastic beds for doggies and puppies, up to extra-extra large
- Building materials such as bricks, fencing, chicken mesh, roof sheets, nails, shade net, temporary fence panels, cement, etc.
- Hard rubber toys and balls
- Paper towels
- Non-perishable food items for the community’s poor families, second-hand clothes, shoes, toys, and books for kids
- Office furniture such as a filing cabinet, shelf and two cupboards, as well as stationery
You can help!
DAW has an open-door policy: there are no strict criteria to becoming a volunteer, just the sheer will to help love, care for and run the haven successfully.
When you become a DAW rescue volunteer, you’re giving the animals what they want and need most: personal attention, hands-on care and love. Whether you volunteer for a day, a week or longer, the animals at the haven truly appreciate the time you spend with them.
There’s loads to do when volunteering at DAW, from walking an enthusiastic dog to cleaning the dogs, farm, or animal runs to just sitting and talking to the broken, abused, neglected or shy ones. Volunteer activities include tasks such as assisting with the cleaning of the animal areas, feeding, walking, spending quiet time socialising with our animals, and grooming.
Although we’re a working haven, your volunteer experience doesn’t matter, as we’ll train you in all areas.
Taking some of our animals on outings to town or other nearby locations is another way our volunteers help give them new and valuable experiences. Volunteers can also take some of our animals on sleepovers that help prepare them for their forever homes. All these activities are very important for our animals, and we appreciate you coming to the haven and pitching in! We also need constant help with graphic design, administration, adoption days, outreach days and so much more.
If you can volunteer, please call us on 072 298 9086 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.