DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group) - what a great way to spend a few hours
by, 05-02-2009 at 08:35 PM (5817 Views)
DARG - Domestic Animal Rescue Group
Hout Bay, Cape Town
Entering my final year of an LLB degree, I find myself confronted with the need to do 60 hours of community service in order to graduate. This is something I have been looking forward to for some time. You always want to do something good for some or other charity or worthy cause but typically never 'find the time'. Being 'forced' into these 60 hours is a great way of having to do something good for someone else, for nothing in return.
Now I say nothing in return, but this is not really the case. Volunteering at DARG, you certainly get a whole lot in return. So far, I have only been there a few times, but the experience has already had a profound effect on me. I find myself wanting to make time to go back there whenever I can.
DARG is a shelter which caters mainly for abandoned, abused and stray cats and dogs, along the same lines as your local SPCA. They also have all manner of farm animals - pigs, cows, donkeys, geese, ducks and some other odds and sods.
The shelter is run on a completely voluntary basis and survives on donations (of both time and money) from kind-hearted citizens and organisations alike.
So far, my volunteering has taken the form of taking some of the many dogs for walks (or, more accurately runs) along the fields behind the complex and socializing with the many cats in the cat shelter. It really is most rewarding work and does not take a lot of time out of a day. In 2 hours, you generally can manage to walk 4-6 dogs, depending on their size. This is great, as they are not walked that often. I was there today and, while some of the dogs had been out at least once since I was last there on Sunday, the vast majority hadn't been walked at all since then.
I choose to walk the least popular of the dogs, those that people tend not to want to walk, mostly through fear and partly due to ignorance. Three big, strong staffies are my regular walkees. Ex-fighting dogs, rescued mostly from ships in Cape Town harbour, they are not allowed to socialise with other dogs, have separate enclosures and may never be put up for adoption - apparently we can never know if one day they will strike out at another animal or even a person. So they are left here at shelters like DARG, to spend their days. This is why I make it a priority to walk at least the three of them every time I go there. Sure, they are strong, and can be quite scary, but they are beautiful animals, and quite obedient once out on the field. The main problem is that they are so happy to see you when you get into their enclosure, their overwhelming joy, coupled with their large size and strength mean that they can easily knock you off your feet or into the sometimes jagged edges of the enclosure. So, in a way it is understandable that they are not the first choice for budding walkers.
I write this blog to highlight the existence of DARG (an institution I did not even know existed until a month ago), in the hope that more people will donate just a few hours of their time to bring some much-needed joy to some very appreciative animals.
If dogs are not your scene, or you have children, they can always play, stroke and brush the many cats that DARG has taken in. Although many of them are still shy and scared, there are quite a number that will come bounding up to you when you enter the enclosure, just looking for some love and a bit of a stroke.
Sundays seem to be the days when everyone goes and they are literally inundated with volunteers. So, if you can spare any time in the week (after 9 and before 4) then I'd advise going then, as not many people manage to find the time to go during the week and as such the animals don't get as much attention during these times.
If volunteering is not for you, then you can always donate in other ways. Their banking details are on their site. Or, better yet, if you are looking to adopt a new cat or dog or know of someone who wants to, then go and check them out. There are many wonderful, friendly animals in great condition dying for a great new home!
It needs to be said that I am in no way representing DARG in any official capacity, any more than I am a volunteer there as I have mentioned.
So, go and visit www.darg.org.za and decide how you want to change one of these wonderful creature's lives today!