When we visited my mum-in-law and Graham in their home in Durban earlier this year, they introduced me to their cat. She had belonged to the neighbour who kept kicking and hitting her until she eventually slunk onto m.i.l.'s veranda. Now mum-in-law, like me, is a campaigner of all things helpless and vulnerable, be they orphans, widows, the old and infirm, neglected and abused animals, the unemployed... She gradually made friends with this hapless cat and eventually enticed her indoors. Within days she was as settled in m.i.l.'s house as if she'd been there all her short life.
When I saw the cat, I asked Graham and mum-in-law to keep an eye on her and when the time came to have her spayed and my husband and I would pay the vet's bill.
The time duly arrived about two weeks ago, when Graham told me he thought Madam (as they named the cat) was ready for spaying. In order to assist me, he then phoned the SPCA who were not very helpful and told him the cat's operation would cost R500 / US $65 and he'd have to drop the cat off in the morning and collect her in the afternoon. Graham doesn't have his own transport and he began to stress at the costs and all it involved to get Madam spayed. I decided to take over and make the arrangements from my logistically-challenged position of living 550kms/345 miles up the road!
Through the telephone enquiries department I obtained the telephone number of the Animal Clinic closest to Graham and m.i.l. The receptionist listened to my request and then stated that the cat's operation would cost R750/US$ 98 and I had to get her to the hospital. I explained where I lived and that it was impossible for the cat's elderly owners to get her to them, so she gave me the number of an animal transport company, called Pets Transport. I could arrange with them to collect the cat for an additional fee.
I phoned Pets Transport on and off during that particular morning with no success. There was no reply to that number. Eventually I phoned the Animal Clinic again to check if the number was correct. A different receptionist answered the phone! I told her my story all over again and she asked me to phone the SPCA and ask them for the number. She gave me the SPCA's number and I duly phoned them. They gave me another number for Pets Transport which was answered on the second ring. Yay!
When I repeated my request to the gentleman on the other side of the phone, he told me his company doesn't transport pets! (I wonder where the Animal Clinic and the SPCA got their information?) He kindly suggested I phone the Animal Anti Cruelty League and see if they could help me.
I did and they could!
They were WONDERFUL! They took down all the details to collect the cat; they gave me their bank details and I paid by electronic transfer. The cat was collected last Thursday, taken to the AACL's surgery, spayed, all her injections were administered and she was kept overnight for observation. She was returned to mum-in-law on Friday morning at 10. She is well and eating like the provebial horse. The person who delivered the cat, arranged with m.i.l. to collect Madam in ten days' time to have her stitches removed and bring her home afterwards. The total cost of the operation, immunisation, overnight stay, later removal of stitches, and transport to and from my m.i.l.'s home? R450/US$58.50!
All throughout my endeavours to contact various people to help with Madam, I realised how difficult it is for pensioners and the ederly in this counry to get physical assistance and medical care for their pets. For me the whole process was not a problem. I have unlimited telephone time, (which many pensioners in South Africa don't have: they use "Pay as you Go" cell phones) I have a computer and Internet to pay the account and I have, in comparison, "youth" on my side (tongue-in-cheek!) to be patient while I wade through all the hitches and red-tape.
The liaison officer at Animal Anti Cruelty League told me that they survive on donations only so I have decided that I will be donating to this wonderful organization on a regular basis. If anyone else reading this blog would like to donate to this worthy cause, click on the link above to find out more.
For other interesting posts on pets, click here.