My Journey started in 2007 - Yvette Wilde
My mom passed away from cancer and I wanted to do something in her honour. Our local SPCA ( Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)was very run down. In South Africa, SPCAs are basically volunteer driven. They receieve no income form the government and whilst they have to abide by the rules and regulations which are set down by the NSPCA ( National Council) they survive on donations and volunteers. Our SPCA in our community had a long run of ineffiecient people that used the resources to further their own interests and the mainetnace and staff morale was at an all time low. Looking back, I think it mirrored my own life;the loss of my mom and the fact that I had not had a good relationship with her.
With this bleakness facing the daily visitors to the premises it was no wonder they were struggling to keep their heads above water. Nobody wanted to spend time there and they were even less interested in supporting the place. This took its toll on the staff – morale was at an all time low, so we were all in good company. They lacked funds and motivation , I was hurting and Joe Public avoided the place like the plague, so I decided to assist them by mowing the lawns and doing a bit of landscaping.
My idea was to make their work environment a pleasing place on the eye so it would encourage the staff and make them feel proud of the premises whilst making the place more people friendly which would bring more volunteers and visitors through the gates. I never envisaged the road I would embark on when I started there, the highs, the lows and how it would change me as a person. Working in the gardens started in September 2007 and finally ended on the 31 January 2014, when I handed in my resignation as Chairperson.
I served on the committee for approx 6 years and I worked with an awesome team of animal enthusiasts who inspired each other daily and made the SPCA what it is today. In this time I really found out what I was made of as nothing, but nothing could prepare me for the abuse and neglect that I would be confronted with on a daily basis, how I had to cope and how I had to keep the staff coping. How we would go to war on ignorance, hatred and pure evil, the battles we won and those we lost, giving us ammunition to take on the next case. I saw and learnt a lot and when I decided to resign it was purely motivated by the fact that I had come to the end of my reserves on patience and before I did something that would put the Society in disgrace, it would be best to leave whilst the staff and volunteers were sad to see me go rather than line the street and have a party when I finally left.
My idea for 50 Shades of Spay stemmed from the success the original steaming hot book and movie had and as I had just celebrated my 50th I thought why not? Change a word and you will still have a catchy phrase. I would never be able to leave the world of animal welfare behind, once a trooper always a trooper, and as I knew that unchecked breeding was the catalyst in all the problems the SPCA faced, I wanted to do something to assist my community. Walking away was never an option.
So, I had to use what I got given in life, that being an avid baker and cook. I think my love for baking comes from my Gran as she was a master baker in her time. She used to make the most beautiful creations whilst I sat in the kitchen watching her and waiting for that icing flower to be bestowed on my hand so I could lick it off. I spent my young years in her kitchen and when those cakes came together, some of them 14 tiers high, I was enthralled. Today, I am always in my kitchen, cooking up something and this motivated me to bake for a spay. My ample hips can attest to the fact that my baking is good…really good. As the saying goes: “ Never trust a skinny cook…”
I started baking cakes for my friends for special events, nothing too fancy, but the money for said scrumptious, delicacies was paid directly into the vet account from where it would be used to spay or neuter an animal. My vet came to the party and he agreed to assist by charging a nominal fee for the spaying and I would then direct the business towards his practise. My cakes are rather lovely but so is the charge levied on them. My motto here is you are buying a spay and getting a cake included. This has motivated many people to simply buy a spay as a gift on birthdays or even Christmas, cake now excluded.... And so it started, with cake and gutspa. Today, we raise funds by selling food at horse shows, having stalls at markets and having “high” tea. Never a dull moment. Cake lovers come together and FEAST, and in the process we spay and neuter as we go along.
Whilst we mainly assist in our area, the Vaal Triangle, we have also made a difference as far as Amahathli in the Eastern Cape. We are not bound by borders, our focus is on spreading the initiative as far as we can and thereby hopefully motivate others to start a small sterilization drive of their own.
This website will also keep you updated with all sterilization drives and also a few wonderful initiatives that assist with animal welfare. Whilst our aim is to educate and people on the merits of early sterilization and neutering , we also want to promote any animal welfare organizations that make a difference in the lives of animals and especially our youth.
As you go along, you will see that I refer to WE all the time. The reason for this is that it is impossible for one person to take the credit, do the work and eat all this cake. We includes a plethora of people, some you will get to know others can just be referred to as the cake eating fraternity.