The Centre started very informally in March 2007 when we were called about a thoroughbred who was battling out on a plot on the outskirts of Johannesburg. One look at him, at his ribs, knotted mane and sad demeanour and we couldn’t look the other way. We loaded him up and brought him back to our stables and started his rehabilitation. He was in a bad way, sad and mistrusting and close to starving. Watching his slow and steady climb back to good health, shiny coat and happy disposition started our journey along the rescue road.
Our next charge was a young pot bellied pig who had been kept in a hot bright courtyard and had gone blind as a result of the sun on the stark white walls, and various dogs and cats followed. Our treatment is triple fold, healing body, mind and soul. We start with the physical side first, getting some good food into them , all the while working gently with them and restoring their trust in humans. Once trust is regained, we get to know them and what makes them happy and we give them their happy lives back. The rewards are immense, a complete turnaround from the sad neglected and abused souls who come through our gates. We have specialised in treating the supposedly “untreatable” horses, those who have “misbehaved” so badly that they should have been euthanased (according to experts out there). Here there is no pressure on them to be anything other than themselves. Our horses live as naturally as possible, they sleep out, spend their days together in a herd and have hay constantly until the grazing is good enough to keep them adequately sustained during the summer months.
The dog we have rescued and fostered are here and being spoilt and loved back to their happy selves, no cages or kennels – they live in the house, and some of them sleep on couches and beds. The cats have the same choices – they sleep wherever they want, as only cats can do! Our pigs would like the same conditions but sadly have outgrown the furniture and the width of the pasages so they sleep in their own “lodge” type accomodation at the bottom of the garden. They get cooked meals daily and a plunge pool in summer.
Bokkie our goat, who has claimed the title of “Most badass goat” in South Africa, patrols the garden, bullying whoever he can and terrorising those who don’t pay him enough attention.
Our two donkeys could not be more different if they tried. Maggie who used to pull heavy scrap metal carts, has decided that humans are her best friends and she can be heard bugling away in greeting morning and evening, hoping for a quick snack while no one is looking (her hopes are seldom dashed)
Don the donkey, her partner in crime is the centre’s watch donk. He does not tolerate intruders and has an underwear fetish. He loves stealing underwear off the washing line and running around the property proudly displaying his find! He also puts any new dogs through the centre initiation, just to show them who’s boss.
Snowflake and Beano are our two smallest equines, Snowflake is over 25 and was put in foal just about every year of her life, almost losing her life with the birth of the last foal, who dies just 4 days after being born. She was then sent to us and we are slowly building her back up, giving her the respect a lady of her age deserves. Beano is also in his senior years and has decided that he is going to make the most of his retirement – he charms his way around any snacks going begging,.
The centre is privately run, and run as a total non-profit organisation. Donations are welcome either via Gofundme on Facebook, Paypal, direct deposits or deposits made in the centre’s name at a local feed company called Midfeeds. People are welcome to come and visit at any time and we welcome the interaction with the residents – they are not cages, and the interaction is very close up and personal. Our horses love saying hello to people, as do the pigs, goat, dogs and if you have a couple of bribing catnip snacks – the cats too. There are always birds here, in various forms of injury or recovery. Those that can be released are, the others stick around for as long as their quality of life determines.
We are situated on the outskirts of Johannesburg, on an agricultural holding where the horses go out to different day paddocks and then are brought back in close to the house for the nights.