Education, alongside sterilisation, must be one of the most important jobs Winelands SPCA has to tackle, and also one of the most difficult.

In the communities in which WSPCA works there is such dire poverty, that a simple question "What food do you buy for your dog to eat?" can be met with a puzzled look. Where so many families and individuals struggle to feed themselves, pet food is a luxury many cannot afford.

Similarly where violence and shouting can be the norm, a request to speak gently to the puppy and carry it properly is often met with amazement. Nevertheless there are many children who derive great pleasure from their pets.  We welcome visits from learners, provided we have prior notification, so that we can prepare a short programme. Parents and small children are also welcome but please give us prior warning.

Instead of waiting for the schools to visit us, in 2018 Wendy Botha and myself visited a number of primary schools to try and shape young minds towards thinking with compassion when it comes to animals.

In his introduction to Catherine Tiplady's book 'Animal Abuse: Helping Animals and People', Clive Phillips says “The vital role of education and training are emphasized, with a focus on prevention strategies that instruct children to be empathetic to animals”.

Wendy gives an introduction before we show a short DVD (with thanks to the Humane Education Trust, entitled 'Becoming... Dog's Best Friend'. We have the DVD in three languages and show the appropriate one so that it can be fully understood by all ages at all the schools we visit.

We then go on to emphasise the importance of good care for their pets including listing the 'five freedoms' and also the importance of sterilisation and parasite control.

We have had a great response from teachers and learners and have managed some useful interaction with questions and answers in some of the classes.

We visited 10 schools in total in 2018 (although we did many more than 10 visits as there are a number of classes in each grade) and we still have many more schools and classes to visit.  We also visited the Breede Centre in McGregor. We presented to a number of grades in each school and reached a total of 3,218 children.

Wendy is already drawing up the list for 2019!

I was fortunate to get a projector donated this year (with many thanks to Abax Investments) but we do have a certain amount of costs as we leave handouts and posters with the schools, and we are also trying to encourage teachers to use the CAPS aligned educational materials produced by the Humane Education Trust which also cost money!

If anyone would like further information or is able to donate anything towards educational material or printing costs we would love to hear from you. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

And if anyone is interested in getting involved in any way please email for more info. You can also make a direct deposit into our Standard bank account (see 'How to Help' putting 'education' and your name as a reference. If you would like a Section 18a receipt for tax purposes please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your details.

Dr Yvonne Robson