Cape Town ‘soup kitchen’ for cats and dogs working overtime

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Ingrid on one of their community rounds. (PHOTO: Supplied).
Ingrid on one of their community rounds. (PHOTO: Supplied).

Ingrid de Storie, Corrine Wilson and the other volunteers at 1 Kennel at a Time are doing wonderful work in communities where people now have even less to spend on their pets because of the strain the lockdown has put on their finances.

In Ocean View, south of Cape Town, the dogs start barking when they hear the 1 Kennel bakkie approaching, says “Antie Ingrid”, as she’s known in the community.  

The animal welfare group that’s been providing care and information programmes in the Cape Town area for a number of years is now focusing mostly on feeding the area’s cats and dogs.

Ingrid feeds the animals a nutritious mixture of softened rolls, rice and cooked chicken that’s easier for hungry animals to consume.

The chorus of hungry dogs sounds up before the bakkie even arrives. “Then the people say, ‘Antie Ingrid, just listen to how our dogs are carrying on. They know you’re here’,” Ingrid says. “Yes, the dogs know the bakkie’s sound.”

The hungry animals come running from far off, Corrine adds.

“At first, the animals might be wary or scared but it takes only a day or two before they recognise you and come towards you. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to help these animals. But the need is great – the situation is desperate sometimes.”

The organisation also distributes dry pet food to owners. This lasts about a week per animal but on Tuesdays and Thursdays the volunteers prepare large pots of hot food for the animals.

“It’s almost like a soup kitchen for cats and dogs,” Corrine describes it. “We try to make the hot food as nutritious as possible because we don’t know when some of these animals will next get a meal.”

Corrine and Ingrid started 1 Kennel at a Time in December 2015. Since then the charity has expanded and they’ve gained four more volunteers: Trijntje de Jonge, Linda Fautley, Jeni Fleming and Tracy Stallard. The bakkies they use for delivery belong to Corrine and Trijntje.

Volunteers receive no remuneration and the organisation runs on donations. But the women say the gratitude they’ve seen the past few weeks has been more than enough reward.

“I’ve always loved animals,” Ingrid tells YOU. “I get very emotional about them. Many nights, I lie awake thinking of all the hungry and ill animals.”

In hard times such as these, animals are often a last priority, she says. “That’s why I want to be their voice.”

She joined the animal welfare organisation Tears 18 years ago. For the first five years, she worked as a volunteer. “With the money I made selling fish-and-chips takeaways from my home, I bought biscuits and dog food and started feeding cats and dogs. And as people discovered what I was doing, I worked with more and more people.”

And now she and her volunteers offer the only source of food many of these animals have at this time.

 

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