Adopting a Pet (Part 1)

Why saving a life though adoption is a great idea!
South Africa is overflowing with unwanted dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, even rabbits, birds and other animals. It’s sad to think that most of these animals in shelters will never experience a loving home and the security of a family they deserve. 

We have a massive overpopulation crisis on our hands because people: 

  • don’t sterilise their pets 
  • actively breeds animals 
  • support breeders/pet shops/animal dealers 
  • don’t take responsibility for their pets 
  • let their animals roam the streets 

The reality is that there are just not enough homes for all the animals. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born find a forever home and millions of animals are euthanized (put to sleep) every year. More unwanted animals end up as bait dogs/cats/rabbits for dogfighting or get passed from one owner to the other until they eventually, if “lucky” end up in a shelter instead. 

We understand that it seems easier to buy a pet, but let us share with you why buying a pet is part of the problem.  The pet industry in South Africa is not regulated and pet shops do not promote responsible pet ownership (sterilizations, home checks, etc.). They make their profits by promoting IMPULSE BUYING. These animals can also come from a questionable source.

What is Adoption? 
Many animals come in as strays found and other animals are dumped, abandoned or surrendered by their owners. If these animals are not claimed by their owners within the pound period, the shelter has two options namely, euthanize or adoption. Adoption is when you give an animal from a registered rescue organisation/shelter a second chance, as part of your family. You will pay an adoption fee and go through a process of responsible homing.

It is never just about a good home, but rather good placement for that animal! 
There are many BENEFITS to adopting. You not only save a life but will also make resources and space available for the next one to be rescued. If you can do the math, you know you will save money by adopting! Pets are good for our physical and emotional health and adopted ones for the most part are already “trained”. You also help to lighten the load of a shelter that rescues animals and make the rescuers go on for just one more day. 

Image: Rustplaas Dog Shelter

Things to consider before adopting:

  • Are you ready for a pet? 
  • Can you afford pet care in the long term? 
  • Have you researched their specific needs and can you meet these needs? 
  • Does the animal fit your family’s lifestyle?
  • If you live in a townhouse complex, written approval from the body corporate, that pets are allowed, must be obtained.   
  • Municipal By-laws must be adhered to with regards to allowed number of pets.  
  • You may never know their breed, medical history or behavioural history. 
  • You will have to pet-proof your home beforehand. 
  • Get the necessary items for your car and for travel. 
  • You will still need to buy beds, blankets, toys, leashes, deworm every 3 months, vaccinate every year, buy good food every month, this does not even include saving for an emergency!  
  • They need to be spayed/neutered and a form of identification added. 
  • Social animals should not be the only animals in the house.   
  • They might need some training and patients to build trust, more time to adjust and might not get along with all people or animals. 
  • If you think adoption fees are too expensive, then we will advise that you rather not get a pet.  If you do the math a responsible pet owner would do, then you will know that the adoption fee which includes sterilisation and more, is at least half the price you would normally pay for everything which is included and that is excluding the animal itself.  

Image by Best Behaviour now operating as Beyond Behaviour

Rescue is the best breed! We always advise you to go and meet the animals available at your local shelter.  Shelter pets are not broken, they were only failed by humans. Adopting an adult pet can even be better than a puppy. You might just fall in love with one that you never thought of. Choosing the right breed for your lifestyle is however especially important. NEVER MAKE A DECISION based only on a dog’s LOOK or SIZE or BREED etc. The energy level of that animal should fit with that of your family.

If you like a particular breed, there are many different ones up for adoption through breed-specific rescues (e.g. google “Poodle” rescue SA).   Be careful with any organisations that do not do responsible homing which should include sterilisation and a home-check.

Changing a life through adoption is priceless! ADOPT DON’T SHOP!

Next week we will look at how the process for adoption works. 


Source: The Bulletin

Looking to Adopt?
Search our Welfare Directory!

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3


Image: Pixabay

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3

Your pets can be healthier and happier in 2024 with some or all of these pawsome pet new year’s resolutions!

A new year brings new goals and more than 300 days of opportunity for you and your pet to bond, develop healthier habits and discover new ways to live a full life. Your pet can live a better tomorrow with your help. An important first step is to avoid becoming overwhelmed thinking you need to make big changes overnight. Baby steps in the right direction are the way to go. The important thing is to make a plan and move steadily forward.

Re-publication: Originally published 18 January 2023


  • Keep toxic substances like medications, cleaning or gardening products, alcohol and toxic plants out of reach.
  • Just because a pet shop or vet sells something, doesn’t make it safe. Buy safe bedding and toys made of natural material without strong smells.
  • Clean their food and water bowls daily. We prefer stainless steel bowls to plastic.
  • Be careful about cleaning products, non-stick pans, air fresheners, or perfumes and candles you use that can affect your pets.
  • Resolve to take the time to safely secure your dog in the car on all car trips, regardless of the length of the journey. Never leave them alone in a car!
  • Start firework preparation before the festivities catch you unprepared.
  • Secure your yard so it is safe and so that pets can’t escape or get poisoned from the street.
  • Keep your cats safe in your yard.
  • Make sure there is proper shelter from all the elements.
  • Have a safe space in your home that belongs to them.


Since our pets spend the most time at home or in the garden, we should do our best to build them safe, entertaining places to rest and play. Make sure all potentially harmful plants or substances are out of reach. Create some nice hiding places and vertical territory for your pets to enjoy and explore. Learn more about zoopharmacognosy, which allows your pet to self-select remedies that best soothe them, especially during periods of anxiety.


Be better prepared for the unexpected. This is a healthy habit and can save you a lot of worries later. Pet owners can now choose from a variety of pet insurance plans that meet their needs and fit every budget.


What do you think your senior pet wants to do before crossing the Rainbow Bridge? You can make the last phase of your pet’s life memorable by compiling and completing a list of activities that will have their tail wagging and your heart soaring. Prepare in advance to navigate the Rainbow Bridge journey and making the tough but kind decision to euthanize your pet.


Image by The Paw Company


  • adopt or foster a pet
  • donate to a rescue or shelter
  • donate pet products like beds, towels, bowls, leashes, collars or food
  • volunteer at a shelter
  • say thank you to rescuers (and a vet)
  • take a shelter dog for a walk
  • sign a few petitions to help us save more animals
  • share lost and found animal posts to improve their chances of being reunited with their owners
  • join a specific cause like “stop fireworks”, “say no to the circus” or sterilizations campaigns


Animals can pick up on our energies. We see how sensitive animals are to our emotional state. They get excited when we are or try to comfort you if you are down by climbing on your lap. If you’re continuously agitated or angry when you come home, this could negatively affect your pet’s emotional state. Maybe a good New Year’s resolution idea this year is to learn how to have balanced energy before coming home to see your furry family. Even though a walk might do you good, maybe not attempt it on a day that you are angry or frustrated or not in the mood because you might ruin the experience for your pet.

Keep in mind that barking, humping and digging for example are natural behaviours, but don’t allow your pet to do things if it frustrates you as this will not be good for either of you. There are alternative and healthy ways to deal with such natural behaviours.


Identify what type of pet sitter service you need. Start your search as soon as possible, ask for referrals and interview potential sitters. For us, a big factor (apart from being trustworthy) is someone who has training in pet first aid (behaviour and grooming are a bonus) and who has professional documentation (forms and terms & conditions). List your pet sitter at your vet.


If you are planning to get a new pet, please do your homework in advance about the specie and their needs. It is important that the animal and breed you choose fit with your family’s energy levels and lifestyle. Please do not support breeders who fuel this massive overpopulation crisis, so opt to adopt from reputable organizations that include home checks, a contract and sterilization.


Image by The Paw Company


Only visit True Sanctuaries and say no to those that offer animal rides, interaction, walk with, pet, or taking of photos with the animals.

  • Use your birthday to raise donations for a reputable animal shelter by asking friends and families to donate or let your wedding registry be donations to an animal shelter.
  • Organize a community clean-up because plastic and other trash are harmful to the environment and animals.
  • Support the life in your backyard like the small ecosystems, and animals and insects that live around your home.
  • Say no to pesticides and poisons because poisoning rats and other animals influences the natural food chain.

Choose to wear it kind by buying and wearing clothing ethically. Avoid leather, fur and wool and try sustainable, animal-friendly alternatives because their lives matter! Don’t buy products that are tested on animals. You can find the approved beauty brands on the Humane Guide.


This is one we really want you to help us with! Try and share an educational post about animals regularly to help others learn more about animal care and welfare. Advocate for the voiceless and the unheard, especially about topics like breeding, selling, petting farms, the circus and fireworks.


Almost done. You have your pet and you have decided to make some pet-positive changes in the new year. You even have some great ideas now for pawsome resolutions. To execute these resolutions though, there needs to be detailed goals and an easy plan to follow every day. It is important to create a plan that you can stick to. Consider asking a friend to check in with and make sure you are keeping to those resolutions. Maybe start a calendar and write down the days and the goals. The most important part…..get excited!

Do you have a New Year’s resolution for your pet? Are you sticking to them?


Source: The Bulletin

TEARS Animal Rescue -TEARS announces rescue intake capacity and warns of pet homelessness and adoption crisis


TEARS Animal Rescue -TEARS announces rescue intake capacity and warns of pet homelessness and adoption crisis

TEARS Animal Rescue has announced that it can no longer accept rescue intakes as the organisation has 363 pets in its care at its Kennel and Cattery and in foster care. Of those, 75% are considered adoptable while the remaining 25% are in its rehabilitation programme either convalescing from illness, injury, and/or abuse; or are too young to be adopted and are still with their mothers or being bottle-fed via its Puppy Foster Programme.

Says TEARS Operations Manager, Mandy Store, “This is a last resort but TEARS can’t admit any more rescued and/or surrendered animals to its Kennel or Cattery unless our adoption rates increase substantially to allow for new admissions.  Even our stray runs, which hold a maximum of 16 animals, are full.”

This comes five months after TEARS announced in December 2023 that it was no longer able to accept admissions to its Kennel due to decreasing adoption numbers not keeping pace with the number of homeless pets needing homes.

“It’s heart-breaking what’s happening within the companion animal welfare sector at present, “says TEARS Head of Fundraising, Lara Van Rensburg. “Cape Town is reflecting the same trend that national and international shelters are experiencing. Adoptions simply aren’t keeping pace with the number of homeless pets needing homes. It’s a harsh reality that over-burdened shelters and veterinary clinics are dealing with as the non-profit sector has to face and fund the full brunt of the pet homelessness crisis. We call on local government and corporate social investment donors to mobilise funding and resources to implement a mass sterilisation solution that includes better policing of pet ownership by-laws. Without this dual approach, irresponsible and non-compliant pet owners will continue to perpetuate the endless cycle of illegal breeding, pet over-population, illness and suffering that companion animals experience.”

TEARS acknowledges that the Cape of Good Hope Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is shouldering the bulk of the surrender and euthanasia burden as dozens of animal welfare organisations send homeless pets to the organisation as the official ‘pound’ for the Cape Town Metropole.  SPCA spokesperson, Belinda Abraham confirmed in an Independent Online interview last month that the SPCA is “extremely overburdened”. Abraham was quoted as saying, “Based on current trends the SPCA will admit around 20,350 surrendered and stray animals to its facilities this year alone. Approximately 2,300 of these animals will come from other animal welfare organisations including those who call themselves no-kill. And while no-kill is certainly attractive to animal lovers, it creates a very misleading narrative about animal welfare realities.” 

TEARS, as a pro-life animal rescue and veterinary treatment charity, is committed to the humane treatment of companion animals to include all life-stages, including end-of-life care.

Says TEARS Head Veterinarian, Dr TanIa Heuer, “TEARS is opposed to euthanising healthy animals and doesn’t euthanise any of the animals that have been admitted to its Kennels or Cattery unless for inoperable or extreme medical reasons, or in the case where an animal has proven to be a danger to people and pets. However TEARS has had to adjust its’ euthanasia policy to adapt to the changing landscape that its operating within as the euthanasia burden being born by the SPCA isn’t equitable or in the best interest of animal welfare. TEARS is committed to making a difference to vulnerable pets in the face of the current animal welfare crisis and acknowledges, with sadness, that humane euthanasia is a compassionate and ethical option for animals that have no other options. Where the TEARS Kennel and Cattery are full, and all options to rehome or transfer a stray to an alternative animal welfare organisation for admission have been exhausted, we consider humanely euthanising the animal to be the most responsible option under the circumstances.”


TEARS has rehomed 22,522 vulnerable pets since its launch in 1999 and works hard to ensure that its adoption rates remain as high as possible as each adoption creates room for another pet in need. But based on year-on-year averages adoption rates are down by nearly 40%  and surrenders are increasing exponentially as pet owners aren’t able to feed their pets.  

TEARS Kennel Manager, Katie Butler comments,“ While we’re pushing for more people to adopt, we don’t want to encourage adoption if it’s not something that will be sustained. The Mars Pet Homelessness Report of 2022 estimated that 15% of dog owners and 13% of cat owners consider giving up their pets in their second year. TEARS has recorded a massive increase in the number of pets being surrendered because of affordability or due to the limited pet-friendly rentals available to families with pets. Our Feed Hungry Pets campaign contributes to supporting responsible pet owners in our welfare communities by providing critical pet food support in the interests of keeping pets in loving homes. And for those who can adopt we encourage adopting a shelter pet as not only do they have lots of love to give, but it means pet adopters are saving two animals because a space becomes available for another deserving and needy pet.”

The TEARS adoption process includes three simple steps: completing the online Adoption Application; visiting TEARS for a meet-your-match, and passing the home check so you become the official pet parent to your new four-legged best friend!

To help support the life-saving work that TEARS does, the public can consider adopting a shelter pet, donating financially to TEARS, or donating any pre-owned items for re-sale via the four TEARS Charity Shops which contributes 100% of proceeds to fund 30% of what it costs to keep the TEARS Veterinary Hospital and Mobile Clinics, Kennel and Cattery in operation.

Those who are interested in donating to TEARS can do via the TEARS bank account:

  • Acc Name: TEARS
  • Bank: Standard Bank
  • Current Bank Account: 072062886 / Branch No: 051001
  • Donations to TEARS are tax deductible, with donors receiving a Section 18A tax receipt.

For more information:

Source: TEARS


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