A Hout Bay volunteer dog walker has created an educational initiative to teach children about the importance of sterilising pets and adopting rescue dogs and cats.
Sue Austin, has been a volunteer at Hout Bay’s Domestic Animal Rescue Group (Darg) for 18 months.
She says that while walking the rescue dogs she saw the strain that unchecked animal breeding placed on shelters.
She came up with Denim for Darg Day, a school civvies day that encourages pupils to wear denim or something blue and, for those who can afford it, make a donation to Darg.
Two pilot Denim for Darg civvies days have already been run at Kronendal High School and Hout Bay International School, and now Ms Austin plans to officially launch the programme at Disa Primary School on Monday September 18.
Ms Austin would like to see the Denim for Darg Days supported by schools across the city. It would include creative projects such as poster making and poetry competitions, and winning classes would earn a visit to Darg.
Hout Bay International School pupils Bella-Shai Righini, Amelie Bridgeford, Nikol Dashanova and Alexey Belyaev organised the civvies event at the school in June.
Bella-Shai said they had wanted to educate their peers about animal welfare.
They took photos of the best denim outfits and raised R10 000 for Darg.
Kronendal Primary School Grade 3 teacher Georgia Bailey said the programme had also been a hit at their school.
“It’s great to get the learners involved. Some classes really made the most of the opportunity and had an awesome, creative time. The combination of effort with donations made it a more equal playing field for the classes which have more learners who cannot afford to donate. The outing to Darg is also an awesome motivation. This is such a brilliant programme,” said Ms Bailey.
Ms Austin said re-usable posters would be put up at Disa Primary School in preparation for the launch, and teachers would be provided with support materials.
Disa Primary School deputy principal Michelle Swanepoel said having Darg at the school would be a valuable experience for pupils
“Knowing more about caring for their animals will really bring important knowledge into their homes and communities. Showing our children how they can give love to their animals, as well as receive love from their special pets, will bring a rewarding relationship between children and animals,” she said.
And educating the children and their families about the importance of sterilising cats and dogs would prevent abandoned and neglected animals, she added.
To find out more about Denim for Darg Day, contact 021 790 0383.