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Featured Stories

Summer 2012


Personality Profile: Helpus Ndlebe after 17 years of service ...

Knysna Animal Welfare Society’s Newsletter

Who does what on the new Committee...

Behind the scenes... The making of the 2013 calendar..

All’s well that ends well! A young dog’s fight for health - and a home... Four months after finding a home, young ‘Pote’ (Feet) is bounding around his garden, eager to show off his prowess with a rope without a hint of the debilitating condition which may well have cost him his life.


rought to Knysna Animal Welfare at a few weeks of age, Pote was yet another unwanted animal with a bad case of rickets, a disease that occurs when a dog is not getting sufficient levels of calcium or vitamin D. Abnormally low levels of calcium and phosphorus during a period of rapid growth can cause the bones to grow in an irregular manner. The bones will be weaker, less dense, and more prone to bending/ breaking. Rickets can also cause softened bones which lead to skeletal issues such as bowed legs.

KAWS veterinarian Dr Hilana Steyn set to work and provided supportive treatment whilst supplementing his diet with the required nutrients. The results were spectacular! A few weeks later, Raymond Fernandez was driving past the kennels and decided to stop for a visit. There he met ‘Pote’, also fondly know as ‘Rick-ettes’. He returned the next day with wife Melissa who also fell in love. They decided to apply to adopt Pote only to be told that someone else had beaten them to it! Apparently Pote was booked by another adoring fan and so the couple headed back home feeling disheartened. Five minutes later they turned around and went back to fill in the application form ‘just in case’. Fortunately for them the other application had proved unsuccessful and the rest is history... Today Pote is a big strapping dog and lives in a large green garden where he spends his time enjoying his new family which includes 2 year old Ronaldo. He’s very alert to the presence of strangers and takes his security duties seriously. He loves the beach where he runs with no evidence of his previous condition.

Welcome to the new Committee... Marten van Leeuwen, incoming KAWS Chairman writes:


would like to thank those members who made themselves available at the AGM and voted in our new committee. We have a wonderful group of people on board who are working tirelessly at their given tasks. Some are well known in the world of KAWS; Luline Spies has been the secretary for many years, and we have Colleen Cooper who is stalwart at controlling finances. Then we have Veronica Carter who was re-elected onto the committee to be our fund-raiser, an area in which she excels. Elaine Levitte is a bundle of energy; no job is too big for her to tackle. Melissa Smith was also elected back onto the committee, where she is doing wonders with her communications skills and artistic abilities. Hedy Camody is the woman in charge of gathering new members, and Jane McBeath will be launching our educational programme into the schools in the new year. Our vice chairman, Eugene Badenhorst has been connected with KAWS for many years and is now our pillar of strength.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our hard working kennel staff and to welcome our new manager, Rita Brock. She is a lovely woman, full of enthusiasm and bursting with new ideas. As we enter the new year, so does KAWS enter a new and challenging era. The population of unwanted and neglected animals grows annually and we need to gear ourselves to respond effectively. There are also many caring individuals who bring their pets for treatment and inoculations, so our need to help these animals is growing daily. We are looking into ways of providing a better service as well as having educational programmes in schools. As the years go by, so do the needs of our society. With this in mind we are striving to meet the demands of those creatures big and small who cannot talk for themselves. I am aware that KAWS is supported by a range of volunteers; from those who run our very important shop to the dog walkers and those who on week-ends and public

holidays spend their time feeding, cleaning and walking our kennelled dogs. There are so many of you and I hope to meet all of you in the near future, but for now all I can say is a very big thank you. Our committee members are full of ideas and enthusiasm for the future of KAWS, and with this attitude we should be able to achieve great feats. These are exciting times and we look forward to forging ahead with gusto in the new year. Lastly I would like to thank the previous chairman, Karel du Toit for his many, many years of dedication and hard work. A Merry Christmas and a peaceful and fulfilling new year to all animal lovers and supporters of our precious Animal Welfare. Marten van Leeuwen

Talk to us... For queries or input regarding policy or mandate issues, or any matter that cannot be resolved on an operational level or that concerns the performance of the organisation, please contact the Committee in writing via email at or PO Box 288, Knysna, 6570. General Manager: Rita Brock 044 384 1603

Education: Jane McBeath 083 358 0205

Secretary: Luline Spies 072 604 2818

Office Manager: Tarryn Gillitt 044 384 1603

Fundraising: Veronica Carter 082 600 1796

Treasurer: Colleen Cooper 082 301 8977

Marketing/Communication: Melissa Smith 082 343 7012

Volunteer Co-ordinator: Elaine Levitte 082 568 9954

Membership: Hedy Carmody 082 452 9589

Shop operations/schedules: Anne Schaaff 083 240 9922

Chairman: Marten van Leeuwen 083 629 4297 Deputy Chairman: Eugene Badenhorst 079 902 9929

1 Marlin Street, Hunters Home • PO Box 288 Knysna 6570 • Tel: 044 384 1603 • Fax: 086 512 8919 •

KAWS 24hr Emergency Line - 073 461 9825

Great supporters... Our thanks go out to all our volunteers and loyal supporters who make it possible to treat, feed and home the many animals who are in need of our assistance.

Shake that tin... Thanks to all our volunteers who took part in the recent street collection organised by Luline Spies, KAWS Secretary. The collection was a great success with R6066.50 being raised on the day. If you are able to assist with future collections, please contact our volunteer co-ordinator, Elaine Levitte on 082 568 9954 or

Rain or shine... Husband and wife team Wessel and Cobri Vermeulen won’t let anything stop them from walking the KAWS dogs every weekend, rain or shine. This was particularly evident when a summer cloud burst caught them on the hop and left them steaming one recent Saturday morning. This devoted couple exercise and care for all of the kennel dogs every weekend and public holiday as well as take care of a large brood of their own. Wessel has been called a ‘dog whisperer’ with his uncanny ability to calm even the most distressed animal, whilst Cobri is renown for her hand rearing of various infant animals. Every one of our dogs thanks them with lolling tongues and wagging tails...

Golfing ladies raise R5285! On Thursday the 15th November, Knysna Animal Welfare held their Annual Ladies Golf Day, once again sponsored by Builders Express. The weather was great and 76 ladies arrived laden with food for the kennels and participated in a shot gun start at 12.30. This is the 11th year

Xmas Table a huge success... Thanks to the wonderful team who were instrumental in getting the Christmas Table going at the Leisure Isle Festival and raising R9000 for KAWS! The idea started about five years ago when KAWS got a whole lot of Christmas decorations in the charity shop which is not quite the right market for this kind of stuff. A group of women used their initiative and recruited people who could be relied upon to bake, others collect and badger friends to donate things and others help with the wrapping paraphernalia or to work From left to right - Penny Houreld, Susie Lambert, for an hour or two on the day and so a whole Elaine Elliott, Linda Culbert, and Joan Rounce product base was created. This year was touch and go with bad weather but our team persevered with great results. Well done to all the wrappers and the sellers, who had lots of fun while working for such a worthy cause!

that Builders Express has sponsored the day, and Mario Barnard certainly spoilt the ladies once again with his more than generous sponsorship. The winner was Sam Bruce with 43 points and runner up Jane Housdon with 42 points. Prizes were paid down to 10th position. A beautiful water feature was also donated to be raffled. Knysna Animal Welfare wishes to thank Anne Schaaff for organising the event again this year and to Mario Barnard of Builders Express for once again making the day such a huge success..

All God’s creatures...

Dr Hilana Steyn

It goes without saying that working at KAWS calls for hard work and dedication as well as strong emotional reserves and inner strength. Dr Hilana Steyn, KAWS veterinarian, describes her recent adventure when taking time out to rejuvenate and gain perspective earlier this year. Clearly the Doc’s love of animals is not limited to her four footed or winged patients but to the creatures of the deep too...


rom time to time I need to step back, to rest and replenish, so that I can come back and do my work properly. I find that the best place for me to restore my equilibrium is under water. Recently I travelled with a professional dive tour operator to east Indonesia for some superb diving. The trip involved a fair amount of flying: George-Johannesburg-Singapore-Denpasar (Bali)-Surabaya Ujung Padang and finally, Ambon. Here we boarded a dedicated dive boat with 20 divers and 12 crew. The trip consisted of 3-5 dives per day, whilst travelling north towards the marine reserve in Raja Ampat. Wake up calls were around 5.30am daily with a quick breakfast and then off on the first dive. The diversity and health of the coral and sea life in that area is absolutely breath-taking. On one dive we saw pygmy sea horses of a mere 2 cm in length as well as huge manta rays of 4-5 metres. There were wobbegongs and walking sharks, nudibrachs and electric clams, octopus and cuttlefish (once even a pygmy cuttlefish of about 5mm), barracuda, jacks, several shark species, and zillions of reef fish in all their splendor. Night dives provided an interesting insight into the marine life that only becomes active after dark. These featured slipper crayfish, walking sharks on the prowl, squirrel fish and a huge type of sea urchin (which looks like a WW1 bomb!) hunting and moving about. We used torches to illuminate this wonder -world and interesting sounds were even more accentuated at night. We dived through the Banda Islands, past east Ceram, around Misool and on to Raja Ampat. On one particular dive we visited a

manta cleaning station where huge manta rays regularly come to be cleaned by small fish. We waited quietly for them to appear like Martian space shuttles and watched as they circled the area while being cleaned of parasites by several species of fish. We were a tired but happy bunch of divers when we flew back from Sorong-Ujung Padang-Jakarta-Singapore-Johannesburg. Petrol tank replenished… for now. I have wonderful memories and, luckily for me, my dive buddy is an underwater photographer who took many pictures to remind me of this special trip. (Photos courtesy of Trish Owen)

Snakes alive!


iving as close to nature as we do on the Garden Route means that we also share the environment with multiple species who also call this beautiful area home. Snake bites in dogs are all too common and are largely avoidable. Karis Bryen, animal trainer and behaviourist runs snake aversion training courses where dogs are taught to leave snakes alone. “For those of you who are not familiar with what snake aversion training involves I hide some live, non-poisonous snakes, as well as dead (but looking very alive) puff adders, in some grass and we will let your dog sniff out the snakes and they get a quick shock from an electric collar. The very effective lesson is “if you get close to a snake it will hurt, so stay away”. I’ve been training dogs in this way for many years, and so far the dogs who have been through the training have left snakes alone when they find them” says Karis.

17 Years of help...


elpus Ndlebe is an inspector at KAWS with a

The snake training takes place in two parts, the first being the initial exposure to the snakes. The second lesson is essentially a ‘test’ where, about 10 days later, we meet at a different location and test the dogs with more snakes to ensure sure they run away when they find them.” This training is done with the support of Knysna Veterinary Clinic and Lawnwood Snake Park. Both the dogs and all the wild snakes are better off if they stay away from each other! The cost of snake training is R200 for both lessons. For more info contact Karis at 073 729 8194 or Karis Bryen is a licensed animal wrangler, animal trainer and behaviourist who regularly assists KAWS free of charge . For more information on her services go to

a small bath and wash them with our feet just to help our machine because there were so many blankets!” His many years at KAWS have allowed him first-hand experience of the progress of the organisation. He says, “I’m

most appropraite name. He

so pleased with KAWS and all the

began working at KAWS

improvements... We’ve now got a

in February 1996, making him the

clinic, and our vet who does many

longest standing staff member, and an

life-saving operations every day.”

integral part of the organisation.

After 17 years working as an

It is his passion for animals that

inspector at KAWS, Helpus’s resolve

motivated him to begin this job, and

to fight for animal rights has not

even after 17 years, his passion is

diminished. Daily, he is out in the

strongly evident. “I love animals, and

community dealing with a multitude

I grew up with my father’s animals

of animal welfare cases. For him,

including his 8 dogs. My aim is to

his job is “to stop people abusing

show people that animals are very

animals, to speak for those who can’t

important in our lives, and people

speak for themselves, and to protect

must stop abusing them”, says Helpus.

and fight for animals, and to love

KAWS has grown from strength to strength since its inception 60 years

all animals.” Importantly, Helpus wants the

ago, and Helpus has made himself a key part of that growth.

community to understand, “KAWS is not here to fight with

Looking back, he chuckles fondly at some of his favourite

people, but to help them. KAWS is willing to help you any

memories from the past, “In 1997, we only had a small front

time you have a problem with your animals, even if you

loader washing machine. We used to load blankets into

need advice, please feel free to call us.”

The power of social media... Did you know that KAWS has a vibrant and active Facebook page? Here you will find delightful images and posts regarding the day to day activities at KAWS as well as pictures of four footed furries who are lost or found or up for adoption or loving their forever home. Join us on Facebook today and keep informed...

And the successes are... KAWS has achieved the following successes in the past 6 months:

Adoptions: 96 Sterilisations: 365 Strays returned home: 69 Hospital admissions: 392

In addition KAWS attends to between 400 and 500 enquiries from the public each month. It is clear that the work done by our wonderful team is hugely valuable and we thank each and every member for their efforts...

Did you know... Those chocolates you enjoy so much around Christmas could be seriously harmful to your dog. The effects can be anything from sickness and diarrhoea to much more severe symptoms like seizures and even, in extreme cases, death. So, while you’re indulging over the holidays, avoid those pleading puppy eyes and bake some healthy dog-treats like these instead :

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits with Soy Milk Ingredients: • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour • 1/4 cup rolled oats • 1 tsp. baking powder • 3/4 cup soy milk • 3/4 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth) • 1 tbsp. Honey Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 180° C 2. Combine the wheat flour, oats and baking powder in a large bowl. 3. Using a food processor, blend the milk, peanut butter and honey until smooth. 4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. 5. Continue to mix and knead the dough, while still in the bowl, with your hands until fully incorporated. The dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky. 6. Cut the dough in half. 7. Roll the first batch of dough on a floured surface to 6mm thickness. 8. Cut into shapes with fun dog bone cookie cutters. 9. Roll out the remaining dough until all the treats are cut. 10. Place treats on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 11. Turn off the oven and let the treats cool overnight. 12. Or cool on a wire rack. Make sure they are completely cooled before serving. Storing: These homemade dog treats should stay fresh in the refrigerator for two weeks. Keep them fresh in the freezer for up to four months. Yield: Depends on the size of your cookie cutter. With a medium size cutter, this recipe will make around 35 homemade peanut butter dog biscuits.

Behind the scenes... The making of the 2013 KAWS calendar It took plenty of patience and lots of laughs to produce the 2013 4 Footed Celebrity calendars.


to that many of the models’ companion animals also wanted to take part so we had to work hard to keep focused’. Well known animal behaviorist Karis

olunteer photographers Charlene Harte and Martin Hatchuel along with Melissa

Smith (graphic designer) found themselves rolling in pastures and trotting after farm

Bryen helped to wrangle a number of models on Thesen Island which made the world of difference. Armed with a bag of treats and some squeaky toys, Karis got her subjects into the perfect pose, seemingly Karel du Toit, supplied the descriptions

animals in an attempt to get the

of each of the celebrities. With a sheep

perfect shot!

from Skaapfontein, a human-whispering

“We had the challenge of optimum

dog and an educated cat amongst others,

(natural) lighting and models with limited

Karel has created a fun and funny dialogue

exposure to humans. That coupled with

with wide appeal.

a “nature” brief and their inherently short

‘Last year’s Animal Aspirations calendar

attention spans proved quite challenging.

raised more than R30 000 for KAWS and

The inclusion of farm animals meant

we are hoping to increase that figure to

that we also worked in wide open

R45 000 this year’ said Melissa. with little effort. ‘The shot of Pilot with

The calendars are on sale for R100

that goofy expression is just priceless’

each and are available from George Rex

said Elaine Levitte who sub-edited the

Veterinary Clinic, Pet Pool Warehouse,


Lesleys Health Shop, the Drive In Dog

Jane Mcbeath also assisted with the two Shih Tzus, Rosie and Molly who had to be

Nursery, 3@1 Postal Communications,

encouraged to perform simultaneously...

By-Design, Wagtails Grooming Parlour, the

Well known for his particularly dry brand of humour, previous KAWS Chairman, spaces as opposed to contained studio photography.“ says Melissa. ‘Lucy the

Parlour, Knysna Veterinary Clinic, Hedges

Knysna Animal Welfare charity shop and the kennels in Marlin Street. They are also available at Mandala Health and Knysna Veterinary Clinic in Sedgefield

Springbok and Stew the sheep kept moving out of shot whilst Charlize the pig appeared to want to eat the camera, and everything else... Tiger Murray kept nodding off to sleep and the cats appeared overwhelmed by the catnip and then grew bored after 5 minutes. Added

Published for KAWS

by Melissa Smith 082 343 7012 Please mail your submissions, comments or suggestions for this publication to the editor at

Tail & Guardian  

Newsletter of the Knysna Animal Welfare Society

Tail & Guardian  

Newsletter of the Knysna Animal Welfare Society