“If this healthy young animal does not find a home today, it will be sent to a kill shelter.” All too often that statement is put on social media platforms, chain emails and in desperate appeals to find animals homes.

However, that feeling of wanting to save the animal from this drastic fate is temporary for many. Daily we hear of animals being returned, dumped or abandoned at welfare shelters due to people facing the reality and responsibilities that come with owning an animal.

With the holiday season fast approaching, people decide to ‘rescue’ an animal and give it to a loved one as a present. While we all want to give gifts that are special and meaningful to our friends and family, especially children, a pet is not a gift. Although pets are cute and offer unconditional love, they also require a life time commitment from you, the owner!

Many animals are handed in to shelters after the holiday season is over. Many of these animals were given as gifts.  Do not dump unwanted pets.  Make a plan to reach a welfare shelter and sign the unwanted pet over correctly.

Having discussed the realities of owning an animal, please note that there are many other ways to assist our four legged friends. AWSS encourages the public to donate money to their organisation in lieu of a gift or alternatively make / purchase a Santa Paws Box for one of the AWSS rescues at the shelter.

For those who have researched and understand the commitments of caring for an animal, and still feel you would like to add a four legged companion to the family, please visit AWSS and adopt one of the many animals in need of a good home.


If you are already a pet owner, the Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch is appealing to owners to be vigilant and responsible during the Festive Seasons celebrations.

– Christmas trees and decorations add a touch of festivity and get everyone in the Christmas spirit, but for inquisitive pets its can be hazardous. Ensure the tree is secure and won’t topple over, put any electrical cables and lights out of reach.

– Discard of any wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and carrier bags as your pets could easily get entangled and injure themselves.

– Refrain from letting off firecrackers and be mindful when pulling Christmas crackers and popping champagne corks and balloons.

– Provide a safe quiet environment for your pet to go to should the celebrations or rowdy visitors become too much.

– Before sitting back and relaxing after a meal, ensure any leftovers are put away and are out of reach from your pet, turkey and chicken bones can splinter and become lodged in your pet’s throat or damage their intestine. Keep alcohol out of reach. Don’t be tempted to change your pet’s regular feeding habits, overfeeding or diet changes can cause digestive upsets.

– Should you wish to spoil your pet, rather choose to purchase a toy or treats that are provided by a reputable vet shop.

– In the event that your pet gets out of the property, ensure your pet is micro chipped and has a means of identification. The AWSS Clinic provides microchipping for R130 and this includes an AWSS identity tag.

– Last but not least, when on your travels, NEVER leave your pets in the car, especially not during the hot summer months.

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