For the love of animals

Dr Annelize Roos, front, with Caro Swarts, Rene de Wet and Riaan Alexander on July 24, when they did their 50 000th sterilisation since July 2009.

I first met Dr Annelize Roos at a fundraising event at Blaauwklippen Estate outside Stellenbosch, at least seven years ago, where she made an absolutely unforgettable impression upon me.

Her intense passion for the well-being of animals resonated with me powerfully, and her “can-do” attitude spoke volumes about her temperament and steely resolve.

At the same time I met Rene de Wet, whom I bumped into again last Saturday, when I popped into The White Elephant, the fundraising second-hand goods store in Dirkie Uys Street, Somerset West, having walked over there from the vibrant market at at Southey’s on Main Road.

We did a quick catch-up, and Rene, who lives in Strand, told me the incredible news, that Dr Roos had just completed her 50 000th sterilisation a few days ago, while in Citrusdal.

And to qualify, that’s just the total since they started counting, in July 2009…

Every year, when 67 Minutes for Mandela Day comes around, I see Dr Roos’ name mentioned, where she’s helping out one or another animal welfare organisation, and spaying up to (and over) 67 dogs and cats, not to mention other animals, like donkeys.

Rene told me that she had been working at Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch (AWSS), when ex-premier Helen Zille had earmarked half a million rand for Dr Roos’ project to sterilise animals at Kayamandi, Stellenbosch.

They also have a Community Veterinary Clinic in Joostenbergvlakte, outside Stellenbosch, which is mostly run by Dr Maryke Thomas, while Dr Roos and her team work at the “outreaches”, travelling to Loxton, Leeu Gamka, Carnarvon, Niewoudtsville, Vermaaklikheid, Albertinia, Slangriver, Christiana, Springbok and other far-flung places.

Rene said animal welfare organisations usually have to do their own fundraising, but because of The White Elephant charity shop, they are in a position to fund quite a few projects themselves, including vaccination and deworming.

“It’s such a privilege to work with Dr Roos, who leads by example,” she said. “When we drive long distances, we talk non-stop, she is so passionate about her work, and an inspiration.”

They just drove to Citrusdal, where Dr Roos and Dr Thomas walked with the whole team from door to door, as there was a Distemper outbreak, to check if they could save animals, or where they had to be euthanised.

They were also blessed with a cake at Albertinia and at Citrusdal, from the grateful teams there.

“And yesterday I got the news that SAINTS from Johannesburg is donating R10 000 to us,” she said, sounding euphoric.

Dr Roos is currently taking a well-earned holiday in Namibia, and no doubt will hit the ground running upon her return.

For more information about donations to the charity shop, call Rene at 082 090 8166, or for services at the Joostenbergvlakte clinic, call 072 432 7525.

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