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December 2016

What makes you personally care about the issues that affect the wellbeing of animals you’ve never met? It’s a question, we at TEARS, ask often as we communicate with you through the year. It’s a question that fascinates us and we spend many hours trying to figure out what appeals to you most, what you care about, what makes you happy or angry.

The answers to this question have two levels: getting to know you better allows us to communicate more effectively with you, but have you ever wondered about the many life lessons that brought you to the moment when you chose to subscribe to this newsletter – throwing your energy, time and hard-earned money into helping us work towards our mission and vision which is: continuous improvement and expansion in order to rescue, heal, home, and re-unite every domestic animal that has nowhere else to turn and is in need of a champion?

One of the most rewarding things in life is when we truly connect with others, and it’s especially special when by caring and doing good we – from different countries, areas, backgrounds and belief systems – come together to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

So, it is with the deepest heartfelt admiration and thanks that we wish you a festive season that is safe and filled with blessings, as we take one final newsletter journey in the closing weeks of 2016.

Jane Goodall has said: “Only when we understand can we care. Only when we care shall we help. Only if we help will all be saved.”
The big question as we look back at a year almost past is: Has your help really made a difference this year?
According to available statistics, the yearly average increase in abandoned pets is 57% with many shelters reporting an average 25% drop in adoptions in recent years. And it’s not only South African pets in crisis.
The UK’s Daily and Sunday Express stated – based on a RSPCA report earlier this year – that “Harrowing stories of torture, cruelty and pure evil inflicted on thousands of pets defy Britain’s claims to be a nation of animal lovers.”
The RSPCA report showed that last year, the organisation investigated 33,884 cases involving cats and 15,965 for horses and ponies, but it has been "man's best friend" who has suffered worst with 81,146 complaints of cruelty.

Although the RSPCA's 143,004 complaints were down on the 2014 figure of 159,833, the horrific level of cruelty the organisation has seen in the last year – some of the most extreme cases their inspectors have ever dealt with – are on the increase.

Why are animals worse off?
The reasons behind the increase in animal welfare stats and levels are cruelty are:
  • Growing human populations
  • Increase in poverty
  • An economic downturn in many households
  • Increase of substance abuse
  • Uncontrolled tempers and stress levels
  • Psychological disorders and syndromes (the World Health Organisation puts the figure of sociopaths in the human population at around 25%)
Names over stats
Closer to home, TEARS has this year seen an increase in disease outbreak among our local animal populations, instances of cruelty as well as guardians who have given up animals to our organisation because they can no longer afford to keep them.
Admittedly, we have in 2016 managed to rescue and treat a total of animals that represents the tip of the iceberg.
What keeps us going – and we believe this applies to you, too, from your communication with us – is that we choose to concentrate on names over stats. If it was all about the numbers, most animal welfare organisations and staff would buckle under the financial and emotional weight of animals suffering around us.
Remember Gemma? The little black and white dog who was rescued with mange in such an advanced stage that she looked as if she had first-degree burns? She’s a happy girl now, whose world is a glossy coat, fabulous health, the security of a loving family and daily walks on the beach.
What about Grayson (first below) and Spirit (second below)? Dogs who shouldn’t have survived the abuse metered out to them - both healthy, safe and loved as we speak.
For these dogs and the thousands of other cats and dogs saved by TEARS this year, the world turned the right way up for the first time in their lives.
Thank you for choosing to be a part of the solution, instead of keeping yourself apart from the tears and triumphs.
We can do more for animals in 2017
As an extended part of the TEARS’ team, you helped us to rescue and get dogs like Gemma, Grayson and Spirit back on their feet. We receive no government funding. We rely completely on donations from caring people like yourself. So we’d like to ask you to do one more thing for animals in 2016 by making a festive season gift – no matter how small – that says: “Yes! We’re going to do more for animals in 2017.”
If you haven’t already watched our TEARS Best Moments of 2016 video, please do so – you’ll see that, yes, together we have made a difference! Thank you.

On a lighter, but important note; every human should have ‘the talk’ with their canine companions as the festive season begins. Here are some tips of what to include in the conversation.

To begin with, you'll need to point out the following...

Be especially patient with your humans during this time. They may appear to be more stressed than usual. They’ll come home with large bags of things called gifts. Do not assume they are all for you. Be tolerant if your humans put decorations on you. It’s humiliating, we know, but humans seem to get some special kind of pleasure out of seeing dogs wearing fake antlers – crazy!

The Christmas Tree

A large tree is brought into the house and set up in a prominent place and covered with lights and decorations. Bizarre as this may seem to you, it is an important ritual for your humans, so here are some things canines need to know and about Christmas trees…
  • Don't pee on the tree.
  • Don't drink water in the container that holds the tree.
  • Mind your tail when you are near the tree.
  • If there are packages under the tree, even ones that smell interesting or that have your name on them, don't rip them open.
  • Don't chew on the cord that runs from the funny-looking hole in the wall to the tree.

Your humans may invite loads of strangers to visit during this season. These parties can be lots of fun, but they also call for some discretion on the part of dogs…
  • Not all strangers appreciate kisses.
  • Do not eat off the buffet table.
  • Beg for goodies by all means but do it... subtly.
  • Be pleasant, even if ignorant strangers sit on your couch.
  • Don't drink out of glasses that are left within your reach.

Your humans may take you visiting at Christmas. Here are the manners expected of you…
  • Respect the territory of other animals that may live in the house.
  • Tolerate children although avoid those who pull your ears; sticky fingers are fair game though.
  • Turn on your charm big time – there are extra treats to be had this time of year.
PS – A big man with a white beard and a very loud laugh may emerge from your fireplace in the middle of the night. Do not bite him! The milk and the cookies are also meant for him, by the way.

Dear Santa Claws,
I've been a very good cat this year. Although I do hope your definition of 'good' is broad enough to include the dismemberment of a few rodents and leaving some hairballs on the couch.
[Read more…]


TEARS Kennel & Cattery Wish Lists
Ready to make the tails of rescue dogs wag and get those kitties purring? It’s time for the TEARS Kennel & Cattery Wish List Drive.
The mission of the Christmas Kennel & Cattery Wish Lists is to bring holiday cheer to the rescued animals in our care. We know pets with homes are often showered with gifts and treats for Christmas, and we believe that shelter animals deserve a little holiday love too!
Our ultimate hope is that each one of our dogs and cats find a forever home, but if that doesn’t happen, we want our furry friends to wake up on Christmas morning to gifts, toys and treats. We’d like them to have the special Christmas they deserve and to make their days a little brighter at a time when they might otherwise be forgotten.
[Read more…]
TEARS' Article in Canine Zone
Interested in dogs and looking for some holiday reading? It doesn’t get any better than Canine Zone – SA’s most popular dog magazine with an emphasis on rescue stories and shelter adoption. The December/January issue features a TEARS-generated article that explores when it’s the right time to make the euthanasia call for our animal companions and how best to say good-bye. The article offers expert veterinary advice as well as a personal view point of handling the very emotional side of this important decision.
Canine Zone magazine is available at Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Spar, CNA and selected Exclusive Books and pet stores.
TEARS Charity Shop festive season hours
Please note that our charity shops will be open for a great shopping experience, as well as to receive donations of your second-hand items, on the Day of Reconciliation – 16 December - from 09h00 to 17h00. We will, however, be closed on 30 and 31 December.
Find a TEARS charity shop here or call us on 012 785 4482.

We are thrilled to report that, thanks to Woolworths, MyPlanet and all the other partners involved, but most importantly our AMAZING supporters, we raised R23,475.33 in October! We can't thank enough all those who have made us their card beneficiary.

Not sure what MyPlanet card is about? Would you like to help us? Read all about it on our website.
Share a Pet to #FeedAPet

Share a picture of your pet here ‪ or here and Boss Dog Food and Petley's will donate a tin of food to our shelter. We also get a tin of food every time you buy a tin of BOSS or Petley's dog or cat food in a grocery store nationwide. It's SO easy. Thank you for helping us feed our animals!
Christmas cake raffle draw

Have you bought your TEARS Christmas Cake Raffle ticket for R15 at TEARS Lekkerwater Rd or TEARS charity shops yet? You can win this gorgeous cake created by award winning decorator, Grace Stevens. Read more about it here. Our Christmas Cake Raffle draw will take place 17 December and we'll announce the lucky winner on 19 December. Every purchase makes a difference to the lives of our cats and dogs!
TEARS branded Christmas cards

'Tis the season to be jolly so don't miss your TEARS Christmas cards and risk ruining all the cheer! You can buy them at TEARS Lekkerwater Rd and TEARS charity shops as well as a number of vets, vet shops and outlets across the peninsula.

Cards are also available at kiosks in Cavendish Square until 11 December, and at Constantia Village until 17 December.
TEARS 2017 Calendar
Eyona the Lykoi cat is not the usual glossy-furred cover model one might expect on the 2017 TEARS Calendar, but his story is truly exquisite! His breed is so rare that he is only the 35th naturally-occurring Lykoi in the world! Read more about his unique story and to find out where you can get the 2017 Calendar.

It's the day before Christmas
And all through the house
The puppies are squeaking
An old rubber mouse.
The wreath which had merrily
Hung on the door
Is scattered in pieces
All over the floor.
The stockings that hung
In a neat little row
Now boast a hole in
Each one of the toes.
The tree was subjected
To bright-eyed whims,
And now, although splendid,
It's missing some limbs.
I catch them and hold them.
"Be good", I insist.
They lick me, then run off
To see what they've missed.
And now as I watch them
The thought comes to me,
That theirs is the spirit
That Christmas should be.
Should children and puppies
Yet show us the way,
And teach us the joy
That should come with this day?
Could they bring the message
That's written above,
And tell us that, most of all
Christmas is love.

Planking was cool in 2010, we had the Ice Bucket Challenge two years ago; now Mannequin Challenge videos are sweeping the web.

The Mannequin Challenge is a viral video craze featuring people imitating mannequins and freezing for the camera while music plays in the background.

We got our TEARS Community Clinic staff to play along and here's what happened.

Watch the TEARS Mannequin Challenge here #MannequinChallenge.
Thank you for journeying with us along a difficult but rewarding road as we’ve saved and re-homed so many animals this year. We look forward to growing our relationship with you in the New Year.

Together we can do more for animals in 2017. Please help us to get off to a good start by making a festive season gift that will make a very real difference in the lives of those who need it the most.


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