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  • Writer's pictureAnimal-Kind International

Feeding and Caring for Dogs at Zimbabwe Animal Sanctuary

Although it's nothing unusual, it's been a very busy 2 months at the Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary (our newest Partner Organization). Here's how Animal-Kind International has been supporting our Partner Organization, Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary in Zimbabwe's incredible work feeding and caring for dogs, from Sarah Carter, Trustee.

Unusually hot and dry weather conditions have created food insecurity throughout Zimbabwe and the impact of this is already being seen within our rural community, impacting on food availability for the dogs. Most of our rural community will harvest little or no maize, and this will lead to widespread hunger for people and animals.

Plus, we currently have an inflation rate of over 55% here, and the drought will cause further hardship across Zimbabwe this year. This is turning out to be an incredibly difficult year in Zimbabwe.

This makes Doggy Tuesday absolutely vital for our dog owners and their precious dogs, both from a feeding and care point of view, and because the dogs will be needed more than ever to protect homesteads and goods. As always, we are committed to doing the best we can to assist and support the community through the Twala Trust, and the support of Animal-Kind International is so very important and so greatly appreciated.


Twala Trust: Feeding and Caring for Dogs in February:

February's Doggy Tuesdays was well attended throughout the month, and the vet station was particularly busy. All dogs were bathed to assist with parasite control, checked by our vet team and then fed a substantial meal of cooked chicken and beef. The meat was provided by various farmers who donate mortalities to the programme (so we didn't have to dig into AKI's Doggy Tuesday Pet Food Fund to buy meat in February). Wood to cook the food was provided by the local woodlot who donate 2 cords of wood monthly.

handing out food at Doggy Tuesday
The busy Doggy Tuesday food station

All dogs then took home supplementary packs of dry dog food and a bottle of dog meal that can be mixed into a porridge with water-thanks to the AKI Pet Food Fund. The Pet Food Fund also meant that we could hand out 12 packets of cat food for cats we have vaccinated and sterilised.

We were able to do 2 community visits to drop off sterilised dogs and check on dogs who either live too far away or who are too frail to walk to Doggy Tuesday, or have owners who cannot manage the walk due to illness or age. We delivered food (again, thanks to the AKI Pet Food Fund) to all these households and it was reported that all the dogs are in good health.

Twelve-year old Mama Roo joined the Waggley Tail Club (group of senior dogs at the santuary) in February. Mama Roo has a liver issue which caused dramatic weight loss. After so many years of protecting her family, we are happy she now can rest and heal. It is important to acknowledge and respect that she has far outlived life expectancy for most rural dogs in Zimbabwe, and that her family now want her to be able to retire with the care she needs.

Mama Roo, a senior dog at the sanctuary
Mama Roo, the newest member of the Waggley Tail Club, she has a liver issue, but can live out her life comfortably and loved at the santuary.

Mama Roo joins Trick and Porongi, 2 other Waggley Tail Club members:

elderly dogs
Trick and Pronogi, Waggley Tail Club members. These senior dogs live their lives out in comfort, with all the food and meds and love they need for their remaining years.

We are all so grateful for the ongoing support from Animal-Kind International. It has a significant positive impact on the quality of life of hundreds of rural dogs in our area, and as we head into a year of drought this assistance for the dogs will quite literally be life-saving.

In February, Twala Trust gave rabies vaccinations to 43 dogs, 5 dogs received five in ones, and 4 dogs, parvovirus vaccinations, 9 dogs and 7 cats were dewormed.

Cases seen by the Twala veterinary team in February were:

2 haematoma, 1 burn, 2 dental extractions – 1 dog with long-term issues caused by distemper had a canine tooth puncturing his top lip and the other dog also with distemper complications had 3 damaged teeth removed, 3 abscess, 1 urinary tract infection, 2 arthritis, 1 grass allergy, 1 bee sting, 4 enteritis, 1 pancreatitis, 4 mange, 2 parvovirus, 1 cancerous mass in the chest of an old dog (who sadly had to be euthanised), 13 sterilisations of dogs, 1 cat sterilisation,1 RTA with degloving wounds on 3 legs, 6 dog fight wounds, 2 biliary, 1 tick bite fever, 1  toe amputation, 1 back leg amputation, 1 spay wound re-stitch, 2 hot spots, 1 bite from possibly a jackal or monkey, 1 spider bite, 5 severe fly strike, 3 transmittable venereal tumours, 2 spirocircosis,  1 dog with hip dysplasia x-rayed.

elderly dog treated at Twala Trust
Super, an elderly boy who was checked in to Twala's hospital with a massive haematoma from being kicked while chasing an intruder away

dog with injuries from a dog fight
Brutus recovering from a dog fight

We collected 2 stray dogs and 1 puppy, plus 1 unwanted cat and her kitten, who are now residents at the sanctuary.

rescued stray puppy
Winnie, a stray puppy, now safely at Twala Trust

cats surrendered
Mama cat and her beautiful kitten were surrendered to Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary


Twala Trust: Feeding and Caring for Dogs in March:

Doggy Tuesdays were very well attended in March. As always, all dogs attending Doggy Tuesday had a substantial cooked meal of meat and biscuits, and also took home supplementary dry food sponsored by Animal-Kind International's Pet Food Fund. The dogs were all bathed to prevent ticks and fleas and checked by the vet team.

The Pet Food Fund helps us provide 600 meals a week.

Doggy Tuesday
Doggy Tuesday is for everyone

pop up library
The pop-up library keeps the kids entertained as the dogs eat and entertain themselves

Major vehicle breakdowns meant that we had been struggling to get dogs to and from the community, and the new 3 wheeler motorcycle funded by AKI was invaluable. We took delivery of the 3 wheeler bike in March, and there was much excitement when it arrived at Twala!

motorbike arrives
The 3-wheeler bike & wagon-the Doggy Waggin'--arrives at Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary!

The drivers needed a bit of practice and the enthusiastic participation of the Waggley Tail Club, the occasional squawking chicken and the ever present and eternally inquisitive donkeys popping up unexpectedly made the driving lessons a little chaotic!

The bike is now constantly in use at the sanctuary and around the neighbourhood, carrying feed and maintenance items, transporting dog food to the Doggy Tuesday site.

The power situation across Zimbabwe has deteriorated with long daily power outages, and this will get worse as the levels in Kariba Dam, which supplies hydropower, drop because of the drought. This makes keeping the meat for our dogs and other animals a challenge, and again the 3 wheeler bike makes life much easier as we can do more frequent trips to collect fresh food.

Doggy Tuesday cases in March were as follows:

68 rabies vaccinations, 5 in 1 vaccinations-17, dog sterilisations-23, venereal tumours-2, growth removal-3, cat spays-2, de-worming-19, liver failure-1, malnutrition-2, infected open wounds-4, parvovirus-4, fungal infections-1, eye infections-3, dental extractions-2, abscesses-3, dog fight wounds-7, enteritis-2, urinary incontinence-1, amputation (left hind leg)-1, flea/grass/grain allergies-6, lick granuloma-1, spider bite (cat)-1, biliary-1, tick bite fever-1, head trauma causing temporary paralysis of back legs (dog recovered well and is now mobile)-1, spirocircosis-2, skin cancer (cat)-1, goat sterilised-1, hip x ray confirming severe hip dysplasia – dog is on lifetime medication-1. We now have 17 dogs on daily treatment for arthritis.

injury required amputation
Bully with horrific injury requiring amputation. He'll stay at the sanctuary as the newest member of the Waggley Tail Club.

Bully's story is very sad. We were contacted by a woman wanting to ‘dispose of’ two of her dogs. The one dog was seriously injured and had been in a great deal of pain for at least several weeks with no effort by the owner to assist the dog. We were unable to save Bully’s leg due to the catastrophic damage done and the amount of time that had passed, but he recovered well from the amputation, and it was wonderful to reunite him with his very anxious elderly companion Scooby. They will both now live a life of kindness and happiness as part of the Waggley Tail Club.

dog recovering
Bully, now an amputee/tripod, reunited with dear old friend, Scooby

A beautiful cat and her six tiny kittens were dumped at the gate in the early hours one morning. The mother was very thin and frightened, but the little family are now safe in our cattery at Twala. It is lovely to see how the beautiful mother cat has settled into a tranquil life here, loving the good food and care and the safe, cozy space to raise her family.

rescued cat with kitens
Mama and her 6 kittens were dumped at the Twala Trust gate

We hosted our local school, Mapfeni Primary, for a free educational visit to the sanctuary where 280 students learnt about animal welfare, why wild animals are important, and lots of fun facts  about the Twala residents, including our lions, reptiles and owls. As owls and reptiles are animals these children may come into contact with in the community we hope that the visit to Twala has helped nurture an understanding that these animals have an important place in our community too. The highlight of the trip was seeing the lions, as is clear from the rapt faces of the children!

kids watching the sanctuary's lions
Wow! Lions!

What a lot of news and work in just 2 months! We thank you Twala Trust for the amazing work you do on behalf of Zimbabwe's animals.  


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