By Haley Bredberg...
Truly, I have never met a stronger woman. Nicky, from 4 Paws and a Tale Rescue blew my idea of human kindness and compassion out the window the morning I met her in Scottburgh, KZN, South Africa at 4:30am to tag along on a feeding. I was opened up to a world of heartache, but also of incredible miracles that fateful morning.
Nicky and her friend, Nick, wake up in the dark every single morning of their lives to drive through the local townships and underprivileged areas in Scottburgh, Umkomaas and Amanzimtoti to feed and medically treat numerous stray, severely neglected and abused dogs and cats.
The respect the locals have for Nicky is astounding and the love the starving animals showed us was heartwarming and tearjerking. Nicky and Nick call each one of the stray animals by the names they have fondly allocated them and are familiar with each one of their lovely personalities. I do not remember the name of the dog in this photo -
Nicky will tell you if you ask - but I do recall Nicky telling me to just wait behind for this feeding because this dog can be aggressive and has bitten many people. However, by Nicky's complete empathy and respect for this beautiful creature, she was able to put her face right up to the doggy's face, portraying to me 1) dogs' excellent judgement of character and 2) Nicky's absolutely exquisite heart.
These precious creatures (cats included) would sprint up to the car as we approached. I assumed they were excited for their daily meal, but what they seemed to crave most is love and affection. Even through the neglect and often terrible abuse they have suffered by the hands of ignorant and uneducated people who do not know any better, these animals were so incredibly trusting of us, forgiving us for our fellow human beings' misdeeds. The majority of the starving dogs with mange-spotted coats had to be nudged encouragingly
towards the only small meal they would receive for the next 24 hours because they couldn't help themselves jumping all over us, tails wagging uncontrollably.
I witnessed Nicky and Nick speaking to different people from the communities on various occasions,
trying to educate and spread the message that these animals are living beings, just like us, who feel physical and emotional pain, just like us, and who love, suffer and deserve good lives.
I was able to speak to Nicky and Nick as we drove around feeding and treating about a hundred different dogs and cats; they revealed countless stories of the animals they have rescued from dire situations of abandonment, abuse and neglect, and sterilised and re-homed them.
The beautiful souls at 4 Paws have given rabies vaccinations to all the animals in the areas they can reach in those two hours before their work days start. They both also have separate jobs unrelated to the animals in order to keep up enough funds to continue doing their charity work. They are also trying to spay and neuter all the dogs and cats they can, as well as buy a big property where they can house any rescued domestic animals before finding them wonderful homes, but, as in most situations like these, funds are extremely low...and unfortunately the above mentioned veterinary services and facilities are absurdly pricey.
If you would like to help these remarkable people and the sweet creatures they help, please, either donate money:
Name: 4 Paws and a Tale Rescue
Branch code: 220227
Acc no: 62370111991
International swift code: FIRNZAJJ