By Dr. Heather Nixon
The Zamani Community Veterinary Clinic started almost as soon as we had moved to Memel in the Free State. When people heard there were veterinarians in town, there was no turning back! The beginning was tough: opening a practice, starting a charity, building a house and having a baby all in that first year … but every bit worth it!
The first year we had our vaccination day in the informal settlement, it did not go exactly according to plan. We ended up vaccinating and deworming from the back of our bakkie. At the end of that day, we were sunburnt, dehydrated, exhausted and sore, but very satisfied. That was our first milestone and I’d like to think we beat the odds and came up smiling.
After that, people started bringing their animals to our practice for vaccinations and treatment. It is very far for some people, especially for a small child carrying their beloved pet. We were inspired to continue.
This year, we are very fortunate to have received sponsorship from First National Bank as well as a local sponsor. This means that we can also focus on sterilisations. It has taken years of building bridges and education to get to the point where this community is interested and willing to sterilise their pets. Over the next few months, we will set aside a day every couple of weeks to spend on this. The animals will also be vaccinated, dewormed, treated for parasites and looked after at the hospital for one night.
We are very excited about this next step. We couldn’t have done it without all the fabulous sponsors – suppliers of vaccines, parasite control and more, and, of course, First National Bank. Their donation will help cover the costs of drugs used for the sterilisations. I am always overwhelmed by the generosity and support we receive! We do not pretend to fix the world but aspire to help make our piece of earth a better place for all who live here!