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WATCH: This doggy daycare is making a difference to humans...

23 March, 11:54 AM

Sharlene Rood, News243

When Tamara Coumbis realised there weren’t many employment opportunities for her stepson Julian she decided to create an opportunity.

Julian has a mild intellectual disability. He had been struggling to find employment and volunteered his services at a doggy daycare – and although he was adding value he wasn’t being remunerated. 

“We thought no ways, we are going to create opportunities ourselves, we don’t have to wait for somebody else to give Julian a job opportunity. And the great thing about that is that it has created opportunities for plenty other special needs people,” said Ron Coumbis, Julian’s father.

Tamara opened the Sandton Doggy Daycare in Bryanston about a year ago. The Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo agreed to give them some space at Hamilton Park in the heart of Bryanston. They average 30 dogs per day at this facility.

They have just opened a second branch in Kyalami, which doubles up as a home away from home dog lodge.

Tamara now employs three young adults with special needs and two volunteers and pays them a market related salary.  She is hoping to also employ the volunteers permanently soon. 

 “The reality is that a large majority of young adults with special needs can and want to work,” she says.

Tamara initially didn’t advertise the Sandton Doggy Daycare as a place where special needs adults are employed.

“It’s not a charity. It is a professional doggy daycare. I didn’t want people to be scared to support us.”

 “Now I realise that people can follow suit and perhaps need to be made aware of the opportunities that they can create.” 

Tamara says her employees often get showered with gifts and cards of gratitude as owners of the dogs can see just how happy their furry friends are.

“There’s a real love, it’s not just a job. It’s giving them hope and a life and something to do every day. Besides that they earn a market related income now, they just have a purpose which I think everybody needs,” says Tamara. 

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