I was given a little puppy (cross jack russel) which was being ill-treated by the previous owner. I have to be honest, i couldnt really afford a dog, but I also couldnt bear the thought that this dog was being abused - considering it was only 7 weeks old. I must say at this point I am not an animal person per se, but abuse of animals I will not tolerate and will do what i have to to help. I have now had her for about 2 months now and she is so beautiful. A few days ago she stopped eating, her hair began to fall out a little and she lost weight quickly. I got quite worried and called the local SPCA who said i should contact Booysens SPCA as they had a vet on site. I called the "sister" who told me that he would see the dog (the dog was very thin at this point and still not drinking or eating) but that i had to pay an amount proportionate to my salary.
Now I am very aware of the SPCA policy. If a person is unemployed they will look at the animal and administer care of any sort, but if you are working then you pay a % based on your gross salary. Not wanting to lie to her, i openly told her that I was the bread winner as my husband had not worked for the last 6 years and that every cent of my salary was accounted for (car, bond, school fees, food, etc) - ialso have two school-going children. We do not live extravagantly - in fact we live exceptionally simply. She was not interested at all. She told me that if i worked, i should pay. I asked her whether they could at least give me some telephonic advice based on the symptoms and she refused. After asking her whether i should sit and let the dog die, she said she couldnt help. I wanted to ask her if my "unemployed" husband could bring her but felt like i was being deceitful and didnt bother.
Considering the economic times we are living in (many people are unemployed), i feel they should make conscessions in some instances. I felt this could have been one considering the dog was so sick (personal opinion) because i was getting totally disturbed about the health of this little one of mine. I phoned at least 3 other vets who said the same - some even wanted to charge for phone advice. The minimum charge was about R350 - and that was before administration of medicine and any other application she might have needed. My hands were tied and all i could do was try what i could. She is still very weak, but i have been force feeding her with warm, mielie meal in fluid form as well as water - with a syringe. She has been like this for about 4 days and is still lying around and very weak. But I am hoping she is picking up as she moves around a little more than before and she has been allowing me to syringe feed her more freely now. Hopefully she will get through this. Any advice is welcome - something that I can give her that is affordable but works.
This whole incident has made me realise that although people run businesses, and in the case of SPCA which is a non profit organisation which is also being run like a business, but whatever happened to the good old days when innoculations were covered and paid for by the government (these used to be held on certain days in the month at municipal buildings or schools). What happened to general concern - empathetic solidatrity with whatever your plight might be. And lets forget about animals for a moment - what about PEOPLE!!!
Do you know that hospitals turn away patients if they do not have a medical aid or if they are specific plans, they have to pay an up front amount before admission. Medical aid patients get in and are treated for 5 days for basic anti-biotic application - non medical aid patients are sent home to recover on their own with the "simple" medicines. I am lucky and i have a medical aid, but what happens to those even less fortunate and their baby becomes gravely ill. I have worked with people who have been turned away leaving them distraught and not knowing what next to do. Terrible and so stressful. I feel like this at the moment about my dog. Thank God my children would be covered under medical aid.
What has happened to the humane side to people. It has become like money making scheme - no matter what the consequences and no matter what the situation.
Thank heavens my little dog is still alive and hopefully she will pull through this, but i have to say that if she does not I will most definitely not keep quiet. They should look at circumstances of families who are willing to do what they can for animals without trying to suck them dry in the process.
One last point. An injured cat got into my yard over December and not knowing who it belonged to i called the local SPCA. It did not have a neck-chain on or have any telephone number, but a beautiful cat. They came to collect the cat - which was not that injured in my opinion - but the guy said he was going to put it down. It could have been somebodies pet but for the SPCA, while i am sure they have their hands full with strays, it was easier and cheaper to put it down than try to take care of it and find a home.
With attitudes like this, who knows what it would lead to.