PE Express

Cuddle overnight with a furry friend for charity

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Billie is looking forward to meeting new people and spending time playing with them.
Billie is looking forward to meeting new people and spending time playing with them.

HAVE you ever wanted to cuddle with a furry friend for 24 hours who desperately needs love and affection but does not have the ability to express those needs?

Well, now is your chance.

The Animal Welfare Society of Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) is making it possible for residents to sleep over at the shelter on Saturday, November 27, and spend the night cuddling and sharing an enclosure with a dog or cat.

This unique experience of being able to share enclosures with their shelter pets forms part of their annual Shelter Sleepover, which is also a fund-raising initiative.

According to the shelter’s Kirstin Brackenridge, this year’s sleepover is a rustic style camping experience in solidarity with their homeless pets.

“Participants can team up or do it solo and are requested to pledge to raise a minimum of R3 000 per enclosure, which can be sourced from family, friends, colleagues or actually anyone. Space is limited,” Brackenridge said.

She added that there is going to be an amazing vibe provided by live music entertainment, braai fires and of course, the stars of the event, all of the shelter cats and dogs.

“A truly magical evening will be spent with family and friends socialising until dark, followed by cuddles with furry companions, ending with a gentle morning wake-up and then packing up with tearful joyful farewells to special friends (humans and animals) made through this unique experience,” she said.

Since space is limited and only a certain number of people are allowed due to COVID-19 protocols, for the second consecutive year, there is an additional option of participating in the fun virtually.

“The virtual sleepover event proved very popular last year with our recent adoptive pet families and those with younger children at home.

“This event allows you to take part in the comfort of your own home no matter where you are.

“The virtual participant entry is a minimum donation of R250 per family or home but it doesn’t have to stop there. Participants are encouraged to challenge other friends and families to do the same. Space is unlimited for this event and we encourage participants to share their experience on our Animal Welfare Society Port Elizabeth Facebook page as well as on Instagram,” Brackenridge explained.

She mentioned that there is a marketing opportunity available where one is able to “Adopt A Spot” for the evening to erect signage, banners, gazebos, stalls or hand out information pamphlets to the participants, visitors and interested parties.

“We will announce your ‘Adopt A Spot’ support on our event page on social media.

“We request a R1 500 donation for this opportunity.

“No sleeping at the shelter is required.

“We are all so excited at the shelter to be able to host this event and that includes our dogs and cats too.”

Brackenridge said that this year’s funding will be going towards their veterinary and security requirements.

“Animal Welfare has over the last few months, experienced a rise in break-ins at our shelter.

“We are concerned about the safety of our animals, as well as the safety of staff and volunteers that are on the premises every day.

“We need to upgrade our existing fencing, lighting and surveillance equipment.

“Our basic veterinary services are offered by our in-house veterinarian for pets of underprivileged owners who would otherwise not be able to afford veterinary care.

“As living costs keep increasing, sadly the number of pet owners who apply for animal welfare rates are increasing as well.

“Our hospital treats and sterilises hundreds of animals every year, including those housed at AWSPE and we rely on the contributions from loyal supporters to help subsidise veterinary care,” she said.

For more information, Brackenridge can be contacted via email at

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