Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Andy fund

Spent most of the day sleeping on the couch. It's become a bad habit - not sure if it's med related or not, but by 09h00 I'm exhausted, and my body is exhausted too, and the call of the couch is unavoidable. Up if I have to be by 12h00, and back again by 15h00. Up at 17h30 to feed the cats, and in bed by 21h00 most nights, sometimes earlier. I am literally planning my life around when I can nap, or at least just lie down and pretend to sleep.

Only constructive things for the day were fetching another Rameron pigeon from one of the local vets and feeding Mikey and the pigeon brats at just about the right times. And putting together a usable mail of the whole Andy story.....

Andy's story

On Good Friday, I got an emergency call for help from my ex next door neighbour, who runs Children of Fire - a burns victim charity. One of the families she knows from her work at Slovo squatter camp had just called, asking to borrow R100 before the Melville vet would even look at their cat. They had carried him in a pilllow case, all the way from Slovo, because, being a public holiday, the SPCA etc were all closed. Melville wouldn't even give him a pain killer without the holiday consult fee being paid first.

I was about to fetch a snake from Craighall vet, before they closed 20 mins later, so ended up taking Andy the cat with me. He had been caught in a snare (we think), torn all the ligaments in his leg and degloved about an inch of flesh, which was becoming septic. He had to see a vet, firstly for pain relief, and secondly for anti-biotics.

Now, because I took him to Craighall, he is going to have huge vet bills. I've kind of agreed to meet those, and although I will beg Dr V for all the discount possible, it was still an emergency holiday consult, and a lot of treatment to follow.

Children of Fire has donated 40 boxes of Belgian chocolates to me for Andy and I have been selling them at the rehab centre to help towards his vet bills. (18/04/2007)

Andy spent the day at the vet again today, having his leg cleaned and rebandaged, and, as the vet phrases it, 'his pockets picked'! So hopefully there will be less incentive to ramble into snares when he goes home. The leg is looking good, but needs another week of bandaging and confinement. Hopefully, by next week it will be ok enough to send him home.

Andy has a loving family - they cared enough to carry him in a pillow case from Joe Slovo to Melville, to try get him help. He is certainly a happy and affectionate (very!!) cat, and they are looking forward to his return. I think from the descriptions I've heard, that while it might be a poor home, it is a very loving one, where he is well treated. So the plan is to return him there as soon as possible.

His vet bill so far is R1880, so should come in at less than R2000 all told. Thanks to Ken Cosgrove of the Fury group, who bought 20 boxes of chocolates, we've raised half the costs. My hope is that we will cover the remaining expenses, have enough to send Andy home with a few bags of food and that anything then remaining would be given to animal care organisations directly active in the Slovo squatter camp, either as cash, or as subsidised food and medical equipment.

The best way of getting money (or supplies) or buying chocolates for Andy would be at the rehab centre. If you'd like to make a bank transfer, call me on *** and I can give you account details. (19/04/2007)

Thanks for all that you are doing. I have never seen any animal group do anything in Slovo in the past ten years. I have taken a couple of dogs for vaccinations myself and provided dog food upon occasion. I tried to get the veterinary college to sponsor deworming all animals if I did all humans but they wouldn’t assist.

Any surplus should be spent on actual animal food rather than cash being handed over.

But there are jolly big rats in Slovo so paper sacks of food might not survive long. (Bronwen Jones, Children of Fire 19/04/2007)

Update on Andy cat:

He went home to Slovo squatter camp today, although he stilll needs confinement for another week. He was starting to feel very sorry for himself, and only eating when F sat with him, so we decided that it was worth balancing the definite confinement versus the happiness and letting him go home.

I went with Bronwen of Children of Fire, who'd called me about Andy originally, as well as two of the burn victim kids that COF are currently caring for. Within seconds of our arrival, I think, one of the Slovo kids had run to call Busi, as she came racing towards us before we'd gone 50 m. We carried an ecstatic Andy in his crate home to Busi's shack, with an escort of about 30 children. When she picked him up he purred and purred, and rollled around in her arms. I will fetch him from her on Thurs morning, and take him back to Dr Shackleton at Craighall for (hopefully) his last checkup and bandage removal. Busi was in tears, especially when Bronwen told her what it had cost to care for Andy - care that she would willingly have given, but could never have afforded.

On the finances, thank you to Kristy, who donated the total balance oustanding on Andy's vet bill, Amanda, who made a direct deposit, and FM volunteers/committee members Phillipa, Becky, Phillip, Hillary, and Dr Jill Drake who have all bought Andy-chocolates. I am still hoping to sell the rest of the chocs, as I had illusions/delusions of grandeur last night while thinking of all the people who had so readily helped with Andy. I sent him home with food, and will continue to make sure that he has food supplied. There's just something about the way his mom cared enough to carry him all that way that has gotten to me, though. Expenses to date are R1970, income/promises are R2100. If the rest of the chocs are sold, we should reach about R3100.

My current plan is to use the remaining money to buy food and dewormer for some of the animals that Bronwen knows of. She says though, that none of the recognised animal welfare organisations are particularly active in Slovo squatter camp. So what I would really like to organise now, is that the Andy-fund becomes an unofficial helper of the animals in the squatter camp. That where possible, we could provide vet care for cases such as Andy, and that on a more regular basis, we could provide food, spaying/neutering, deworming to a few animals a month.

It's not much, I know, compared to the needs of the people and the animals in the squatter camp. But it would be something small and of real value to the animals there, most of whom are loved, even if they are not always able to be cared for properly. If there are a few people who'd be willing to help me, I would like to open an Andy-account, to which donors would be able to transfer R20 or R50 or R100....any amount would help....and on a monthly basis, I would then use this for food, spaying/neutering, deworming or any other medical treatment that the fund could afford.

As I said, this might be a somewhat grandiose idea, based on helping one special kitty. But, if there is anyone who would be interested in helping by providing regular funding, no matter what the amount, could you mail me? If even a few of us would be prepared to do it, I will then go ahead with setting up the 'Andy-fund' as a non-profit organisation etc. (21/04/2007)

I spoke to Andy's mom Busi earlier. She is still keeping him confined except when he gets a cuddle - he needs his loving, she says! She says he is eating well though, and seems reasonably happy. I'll see him on Thursday morning when he has his next vet trip to Craighall Village vet for a checkup.

On the financial side, thanks to Carol for a very generous donation. We have now received R2150, with another R300 promised, and (touch wood) only R1970 spent. (23/04/2007)

The Andy-fund

We also have commitments to R500 at least, on a monthly basis, so it looks as if the Andy-fund will go ahead! Children of Fire have very kindly said that it can be run as a special project under their NPO status, as they already do huge amounts of work for the people of Slovo, and have the community knowledge that will help us greatly. I'll be opening Andy's own bank account (wonder which paw he'd need to sign for withdrawals....!), speaking to the PDSA and SPCA, as well as the local vets and other animal organisations doing similar work. Any advice or assistance would be appreciated.....I've never done anything like this before! (23/04/2007)

The intention will be to provide spaying/neutering, deworming and vaccination to as many of the animals at Joe Slovo squatter camp as is possible. I'd like to arrange that a set number of dogs and cats be treated monthly, with some surplus being accumulated for emergencies such as Andy's (I'd like to keep a balance of about R2000 for this), and anything extra being spent on food. And of course, making sure that Andy himself has an ongoing supply of food!

You have received this mail (and my apologies for duplications), because you are on the mailing list of an animal welfare group, or because someone you know thinks you might be interested in our work. If you'd like to receive ongoing info on Andy and his fund, or would like to make a contribution - monthly, or one-off - please contact me, as I will be setting up an 'Andy' mailing list.

SO....over the space of a week, this has turned into a whole project. Scary!! Especially when, if I get other people involved, I have to still set it up to run without me. Kind of feel like I'm setting up a legacy project.....

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