A dog’s life at the dump

The dogs are quite well-fed as they scavenge at will, and they’re surrounded by rich and wonderful smells.Randfontein Municipal Waste Disposal site – aka The Dump.

A long barrow-mound, the place where all our stuff comes to die, is dotted with people scavenging for any remotely useful piece of detritus they can use, sell for scrap or recycle.

It’s the last place you’d expect to find happy, healthy dogs.

But you do.

With an impish grin, Cora Bailey, director of Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW), explains: “The dogs are quite well-fed as they scavenge at will, they’re surrounded by rich and wonderful smells, and they’re with their people all day on the dump and all night in the shacks. They’re quite happy.”

The dogs live in the community that has sprung up alongside the dump. Many of them had been abandoned here by people who had shoved a dog out of the back door of a car, leaving the abandoned, unwanted animal to fend for itself.

A young man named Moses, also known as the ‘Dog Boy,’ is CLAW’s contact at the Randfontein Municipal dump.

Fortunately, CLAW’s contact at the dump, a young man called Moses who is also known as the ‘Dog Boy,’ is on hand to take them in and help them. And CLAW’s mobile clinic visits regularly to give tick and flea treatment, to vaccinate and to check out any health problems the animals may have.

Abandoned at the dump, Lulu has been rehomed in the suburbs of Johannesburg.

Take poor little Lulu, a Maltese terrier cross pushed from the back seat of a luxury sedan and rescued by a dump couple, who adored her, but were unable to groom her so that her fur had become a painful carpet-like mat. They agreed to let CLAW rehome her, and now little Lulu is in a happy home in the suburbs.

Of course, wherever there are people, there will be children.

Recently, we parked on the level ‘soccer field’ where the dump residents play fiercely contested games – and have built a cheerful stand for spectators. Moses rounded up the children and we soon had a queue of kids waiting for dolls, toys, soccer balls and treats.

More than 50 children ranging in age from babes-in-arms to young teenagers went back home with a prized possession that day, thanks to the very kind and generous donations of Bronwen Odendaal and Flight Centre, whose gifts paid for the presents and treats.

--MS

Related: CLAW’s vets rely on their hands to help dogs

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