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Diary of a Langebaan Animal Care Volunteer

The first time I saw Langebaan Animal Care it was through a friend. She had told me about the dog walkers at the shelter and how a group of volunteers come together every morning to walk the rescues. She told me it was fun, I would get my workout in for the day and that the sense of community I would feel is like no other.

Little did I know that this would be the start of one of the most amazing experiences of my life…

When I first started at L.A.C. we were a small shelter at the back of a storage facility. Nobody knew we were there and our kennels and cattery was built with building materials that was donated by the community. In short, it did not look pleasant, but it was all we had and we were proud of it.

Even though our shelter was a little glued-together-sanctuary, it was built by a community – by our community. Every old brick, mismatched vibacrete wall and old, wobbly caravan was installed with love.

You see, we don’t have big corporate sponsors or big ‘MET GALA’ style events that take care of our animals and our sanctuary. Everything we do is funded by the donations of the community. Ordinary people like you and me who give their R200 every month or sponsor things we need. Without our community’s financial support L.A.C. wouldn’t exist and all those Cats, Kittens, Dogs and Puppies would either be on the street or not with us anymore.

L.A.C isn’t just a shelter that takes in animals and rehome them; we take care of our community’s dogs and cats as well. Our dedicated field work volunteers, lead by Ella Groenewalt, make sure that the animals in our less-fortunate areas are also taken care of by supplying food, medical care, sterilization and educating the owners on how to take care of their animals. They also oversee feral cat colonies in Langebaan, where they trap, sterilize and release all the ferals and supply cat food to all the colonies

After a while my family and I started fostering dogs and cats for LAC. They give us all the food, cat litter, toys, beds, etc. – everything we need to take care of their animals. But, after a while, that doesn’t matter anymore, because taking that little broken, mange covered kitten into your arms, loving them, watching them regain trust in humans, watching them go from a scared little kitten hiding away in the carrier to this amazing soulful bundle of joy ready to love again or setting your eyes on that abused scrawny puppy, taking care of him, feeding him, teaching him and watching him turn into a majestic dog ready for his forever home, is the most fulfilling experience of my life.

Near the end of 2021 we learned that we would have to move our shelter from the land we were on as it was marked for development. At first this was a big blow for us as we didn’t know where to go and we didn’t have a lot of capital to just pick up and setup somewhere else. Luckily the Municipality allowed us to lease a spot of land next to the waterworks in Langebaan.

We had a huge challenge ahead of us. We had to setup and build a brand new shelter using the existing decayed structure on the property with little to no capital. We started a campaign ,called Build-A-Brick, where members of the community could buy virtual bricks online to help us build the shelter and we also organized a big fundraiser event, called “The Grapevine Stroll” which is a 3.5 Km stroll on the LCE where you do wine tastings at different stalls. With the help of this campaign & event; the enormous support and donations from the community and, of course, our amazing volunteers, that spend their days involved with LAC, we were able to  raise some funds to put up a shelter.

We now have a beautiful shelter that looks pleasing to the eye and is a homely environment for our animals where the dogs get walked daily and the cats pampered. They are not locked up in small cages, but enjoy space with lots of friends to play with. It is a place where humans can experience serenity interacting with the animals. That is why we are now known as The West Coast Animal Sanctuary. We have expanded our organization to include the whole of the west coast.

Our journey is not finished though…

With the inclusion of the whole west coast area and a bigger shelter our costs have gone up as well. This means we need the constant support of the community more than ever so that our organization can grow and be able to help even more animals that are desperately in need.

We have a brand new shelter and a sense of hope for the future that is infectious. We are planning some great fundraiser events for the year including Bingo Nights, The Grapevine Stroll and Golf Days. Be sure to keep an eye on our Social Media page @LangebaanAnimalCare and our website LangebaanAnimalCare.org for more information and come and support us.

This is a chance to invest in a non-profit that truly practises what it preaches.

We understand that times are tough. We are not a “typical“organization though. If you give us your support, you’ll be able to monitor our success by visiting our sanctuary anytime. You can also volunteer your time with us to see what we do. There are so many ways you can help. 

Donating shows kindness to animals that have no power over what happens to them, who can never repay you. That is a powerful, loving, selfless act.

I just started out at LAC as a walker getting my exercise in for the day, but ended up falling in love with not only the rescues, but with the people and the community. I didn’t ever imagine that I would be so madly in love with an organization. It is sad sometimes yes; sometimes you do feel like life is unfair. But the good and the inspiring stories you experience outweighs everything else. The moment you see these dogs and cats find their homes and when you see that you aren’t just saving animals but humans too, you will fall in love too.

 You would think that we rescue them, but they actually rescue us…

If you would like to join us as volunteers or donate, please contact us on:

083 396 7198 \ LangebaanAnimalCareInfo@Gmail.com or visit our website at LangbaanAnimalCare.org

Written by Estefan Els

Edited by Anne Lombard

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