Animaltalk Article published January 2016

In February 2014 I decided to resign from the Chair of the SPCA Vereeniging after 7 years of active involvement.  Impending menopausal moods and animal welfare do not go hand in hand and my decision was based on rather let the SPCA cry about my leaving them as opposed to them lining the streets and having a street party celebrating my departure, which was where it would end.  I did feel obligated to continue assisting in the community as I know that unwanted litters of puppies and kittens are a huge problem and sterilization fees are the further most from a person’s mind when you are living from meal to meal, so I started the 50 Shades of Spay initiative.  I turned 50 and I wanted to do something to commemorate my 50 th  year of existence, which was a far cry from running the Two Oceans when I turned 40 and coming stone last, so I opted for the more artistic version of celebrating half a century. My initial thought was to see how many animals I could sterilize in one year, my goal being of course 50.

As I am an avid home baker I decided to bake cakes and I would “sell” them to my friends and family.  The payment for these cakes was deposited directly into the vet or organizations account so it could be utilized solely for the purpose of sterilization.  Everybody needs a cake now and then and that is how I motivated the spay initiative.  By “buying” a cake you are sterilizing an animal and how can this not be a good thing?

This escalated as word got around and people love the idea of having cake and eating it.  I am not shy to say that my creations taste absolutely heavenly and this also helped the cause.  To date, my scrumptious cakes have paid for the sterilization of approx. 280 animals and probably added as many pounds to people’s weight, but they certainly get the job done.  Being the true cake artiste that I am, I like being given a theme and then let loose. Working according to a picture has just got me in trouble so I don’t venture there.

I have been actively involved (in my book this means eat, drink and sleep the cause) in the SPCA movement for a long time and now I am involved in a very high level, revolutionary (albeit peaceful) movement that will become public knowledge in the next 18 months.  The focus here

is animal welfare and how can we implement a peaceful change to the problems facing our society and the animals. Can’t say much more but watch this space….

I recently asked an animal spiritualist to say a special prayer for all my animals and when she asked for their names I was amazed and frankly a little scared by the amount of animal family that I have.  Once you have to write all the names down it is a reality check and the weight of being responsible for so many lives can actually scare you. In our family we have 6 dogs, 2 cats, 6 horses, 2 Lambradors (sheep that think they are dogs) and 3 goats and last but not least we have 4 humans. All my animals are sterilized, vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped and Bravecto’d and I have absolutely no intention of ever allowing any of them to procreate.

Most of my furry family is rescues, majority of the dogs from the SPCA and everything else either discarded at birth or rescued from the roadside except for the horses.  My daughter rides for the South African Lipizzaner’s and we still have her first and second pony that she rode as a child, one being 27 years old and the other 19.  They are pets and have been retired for many years. Even though we have so many animals everybody is family and they are treated as such. Four of my dogs are very large of stature and the remaining two think they are huge (not) and they all sleep inside the house.  We have tight moments in the bathroom when everybody wants to get up close and personal but we cope.

I am very privileged to stable my horses on a beautiful farm about 3 km from our house.  We go for out rides and all the dogs and one lamb (rador) goes with.  If not we go for early morning or late evening walks where the dogs all have a swim in the river and Mowgli, the lamb and I look on.  Mowgli was given to me when he was 4 hours old.  I brought him home and he became a dog, staying with us until he his 11 week birthday when he was joined by a cripple lamb called Mulan and they now live on the farm with all the are large family pets that won’t fit into our house…  He loves car rides and visits us at home whenever I have a day off.  I also have a wonderful pet sitter that loves all my animals as her own, she doubles up as their groomer so they visit her parlor once a month and therefore they know her very well.  Mowgli, the sheep also has regular grooming sessions and enjoys a pampering spa day very much!

Adopting a rescue is one of the most rewarding and unselfish things that a person can do.  Adopting a senior pet is of course a sure way to ensure that you get a flying pass through the pearly gates.  There are so many unwanted animals waiting for the opportunity to show you how grateful they are for giving them a second chance – why not consider the options when you are looking to expand your family?  If your motivation is that you want a purebred animal, please check for availability with your local shelter or even with the breed specific page on social media.  There is a rescue organization for nearly every breed and involve your children with your choices and motivations for doing so as they learn from their parents and will hopefully be motivated to do the same when they are adults one day.

I feel like I have always been a mom, I feel responsible for everything and I try and help wherever I can.  This has led me down a path of quiet destruction as I became disheartened with not being able to change the world.  Being involved in animal welfare has taught me that we save one at a time, one foot in front of the other, always moving forward.   Baking these cakes, each and every one of them, gives me the knowledge that together with the cake eating fraternity out there we are saving an animal at a time. Good enough for me.

I have met such great people, ordinary folk that have touched my life and inspired me daily, too many to mention.  50 Shades of Spay is not about me, it is about the generosity of people, the greatness of my vet, Dr. Hennie Boonzaaier, the struggle of all the people in animal welfare and
bringing relief to people and communities in a small way.

I love a challenge and have been asked to do some weird and wonderful cakes.  I have a very colorful repertoire of words that are not fit for human ears and I use it well when I am confronted with said challenges.  My dogs watch every move and listen to every word I am very glad to say that they have all signed a confidentiality disclosure and will not divulge any secrets.  Should you be in need of any celebratory cake please support our cause.  I am just adding that please
remember that you are actually paying for a spay and the cake is an extra. The fact that there are 6 fur bodies in the house also brings about extra fur, which implies an extra charge for the cake should you be lucky enough to find one….