Building Comfort Kennels in Mdzananda


Last month was one of the coldest months in Cape Town, South Africa. This year has been particularly cold with icy temperatures, heavy rains and gale force winds.

With an estimate of 500 000 pets in Khayelitsha, only a few have shelter or are allowed to sleep indoors. Many pets sleep outside without blankets or kennels.

Our aim over two days last month: to build kennels to provide shelter for cold pets.

Six corporate teams joined IFAW’s Mdzananda Animal Clinic to build wooden kennels out of second hand wood of donated wooden pallets and roof sheeting to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

The event drew more than 120 people from all corners of Cape Town. The Mdzananda premises were brim full with people building kennels in our covered car park, outside car park and even on our pavements. Luckily the rain held off.

The day did not only attract members of the public but children from around the community too. Family and friendship groups welcomed these children into their teams to build kennels together.

What I loved most about our kennel building events was not just seeing beautiful kennels built but witnessing complete strangers forming bonds and friendships in a quest to help an animal.

After the kennels were built they posed around their kennel, hugging each other, taking pictures and exchanging telephone numbers to stay in touch.

This is the beauty of compassion.

Something I have learned in life is that when I feel low, without hope or devalued the one thing that always makes me feel joyous, filled with hope and valuable is to be compassionate, kind and loving.

Giving of yourself to others in need removes one from your own thoughts and makes one value life. This is a simple but transformative skill which anyone can acquire with practice. Everyone who joined our kennel building day left with a smile on their face because they gave of themselves to better the lives of animals.

By the end of the two days of construction 30 beautiful kennels had been built. Some of these immediately left the Mdzananda premises to shelter pets from the rain. The rest are in the process of being distributed around the Khayelitsha community.


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