Thursday, 15 December 2011

My Story


Sorry to be morbid all. As you will see I had the crap beaten out of me when I did the slightest thing wrong as a child.

Unfortunately my family still expect me to be their doormat. they expect me to allow to be treated like trash.

I refuse! I will not lay down.

I will NOT let them break me. I was allowed to be broken for too long!

I deserve respect! I deserve love!

Up until I was 22 I lived in fear and I refuse to do it now. I will help the abused! I will save animals until every cage is empty!!! I know too well what its like to be there…

This is why i miss my grandparents. i wish they were here now to say “LEAVE THE CHILD ALONE!!!”

My Story.

My Granny sat me down when I was about sixteen years old and explained that when I was born I was immediately given up for adoption. My mom was only 19 years old and in those days, having children out of wedlock was frowned upon.

This is where my story begins to have two stories.

I am not sure how accurate it is but she explained that I was at Cotlands Children’s Home for about three months, when my grandfather “could no longer take it” and went to fetch me. According to her, they would visit me on Sunday’s, and when they arrived one Sunday I had burn marks on my face. This is what made him decide to bring me home.
My mom explained that she was under a large amount of pressure from my grandparents. After three months at Cotlands she decided that I was her responsibility and brought me home.

Living with my grandparents was great. Gramps would take me to buy veggies on alternate Saturday mornings. I was allowed to choose one type of fruit, he would buy a whole box and they were labelled as “mine”. We would then go to Checkers where he would buy his cigarettes and I would get a box of Sugus. It’s moments like these that I try to concentrate on – when the bad ones start to filter through.
On the Saturdays that he would be at work, my Aunt would come by early so we could go shopping. My Gran couldn’t drive, so this was an outing for her too. We would buy “something nice” to have for tea when we arrived home. I would always choose a jam doughnut. There is something about that sugary coating and the gooey apricot jam ooze in the middle that was just delightful.

When I started school my aunt would arrive early at our home to take me to school. Our home was only two blocks away from the Nursery and Primary School, so my Gran would walk up to my school in the afternoon to fetch me. She would point flowers and acorns on the path and it would make the time go faster.

I loved both my grandparents dearly but poor Granny was only good enough when Gramps wasn’t around. There was that special something about him that made him fun. He would do funny things, play games, (no matter how silly they were) and when I got older his stories of yesteryear would have me engrossed for hours. He would tuck my blankets in very tight at night and sing “Had Gad yo” to me at bed time. Some nights he would sit for what seemed to be hours singing until I would finally fall asleep. He was my hero.

*Had Gad Yo is a Hebrew rhyme that is usually sung at the Seder table to keep the children’s interest to the end of the Seder which is a very long meal.

An only kid
An only kid
My father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid…

Had gad yo, Had gad yo di z’van ab-bo bis re zu ze had gad yo, Had gad yo.

Granny had her own hobbies and in the school holidays I would accompany her at her Bible study classes, or a visit to one of her many friends in the neighbourhood. She would take me to swim at the sports grounds across the road and would do puzzles and play games. She was more of a disciplinarian than Gramps, although he wouldn’t tolerate it if I was “out of hand”.

I realised today that I don’t remember much about my life with my mom during my first few years. The only memory I have is that I woke up really early one Christmas, very excited to open my presents, and to give my mom the bottle of “You’re the Fire” perfume that I had “bought” for her. She cuddled up in bed with me until it was time to wake up. Again, I seem to have more memories of Granny getting everyone together to bake a Christmas Cake and various other Christmas goodies. She really made that time of the year so exciting.

My mom met my step father when I was six years old. I was afraid of him from the start. I remember him visiting one Saturday and giving me “the evil eye” because I wasn’t happy that he was monopolising all of my mother’s time. This “evil eye” was a terrible thing. It was a look that had lasers that would tear into your soul and frighten the living hell out of you. You knew that something bad was going to happen after one of these looks. With my heart pounding so much that my ears were ringing, I ran as fast as I could to Granny and Gramps who were sitting on the veranda. By then he had raced to the front door and was continuing his death ray stare. I was shaking so much I could hardly breathe, but I stood next to granny, telling her about what Gramps said we would be doing on the following weekend.

I remember overhearing my grandparents telling my mom that they didn’t approve of her relationship or the way he dealt with me. I then have a memory of him holding Gramps by the collar, threatening him that he would never see me again if he continued to disapprove of my mom’s relationship with him.

My mom and I moved to a flat in Berea shortly after that.

My time line of living in Berea is muddled. I can’t seem to remember what happened before my mom got married and what happened after.

It was a difficult move for me. Although I still went to the same school – my mom would drop me off at my grandparents’ house in the morning, my Aunt would take me to school and Granny would still fetch me from school in the afternoons – everything else had changed. I experienced my first ever beating of a hiding for not being able to fall asleep.

I know now, being a mother now myself – that this experience, of uprooting a child’s life is extremely distressing. Children find moving in general difficult, having to deal with these added extras of abuse and constant arguing is clearly not an ideal situation. From being treated like a little princess, I was now being treated like I didn’t matter at all.

I don’t remember my mom’s beatings from my step father at this stage. I think I blocked them out. I remember a lot of door slamming, tears from both my mom and myself, my mom would wear her dark glasses more often and my unbearable beatings. It may have been on my bottom, but hell he was strong. He beat a guy up for parking my mom in the one night. The fight continued after he was hit over the head with a pick axe handle, and the blood was pouring from his head.

One night I remember telling my mom that I had a headache. I used to get the most incredible headaches. My head would pound and I would get so horribly nauseous that I wouldn’t move. I remember being told “CHILDREN DON’T GET HEADACHES!” Later that evening my mom went into the kitchen and put ten Disprin into a glass. I remember counting them. She left the glass on the counter and walked out of the kitchen. Before she returned, I had already downed the glass of dissolved tablets, thinking it was for me. I remember being scolded by my mom but I can’t remember anything after that.

My uncle collected me at my grandparents’ house one night and joined my mom and I for dinner. I imagine that he was there to talk her out of marrying my stepfather. If that was the plan it never worked. It probably made her even more determined to marry him.

A couple of months after their wedding, we moved to Princes Avenue Windsor. I was seven or eight years old now. Things got even worse for me here. Some nights my mom and step father would cook dinner together. I would be called into the kitchen to stir sauces on those nights. The stove was next to the door. I would get tired of standing and stirring the sauce, so I would lean on the door.

On this particular night he hit me so hard that I landed on the floor in front of the stove. He then started to kick me at least six or seven times.
The next day I told my Gran about what had happened.

My Gran must have said something to my mom because when I got home I received another beating.”YOU DON’T TELL YOUR GRANDMOTHER WHAT HAPPENS IN MY HOUSE!” is all I got from my mother.

I really should have been removed from their care. I think my grandparents did nothing because they were also threatened. I’m not sure if they were aware of steps that they could take either, they never had to deal with anything like this before.

My trouble with sleep continued, my mom would wear her dark glasses more often and my step father’s ever increasing shouting tantrums at night which added to my problem with sleep.

One night I asked for the shouting to end. I received one of my step father’s famous lectures about how my mom was wrong and he had to set her straight. I remember asking him to speak to her and not shout, but that never worked. He thought that he was always right. The fight continued after my lecture and when I still couldn’t sleep I experienced yet another beating. When I was crying he’d yell at my mother “GO AND SHUT YOUR DAUGHTER UP!”.

As the years went on I learned to always have an answer for everything because he would always twist a situation to make himself look “right”. This has worked for me in some situations later in life and also worked against me. I still find that even today I’m always on the defensive and I don’t think that will ever work its way out of my system.

By this time I was so afraid to sleep at night that I would tuck my teddy right up against my back. The sweat would pour under my blanket but I felt more secure. I tend to over analyse everything and I realise now that I would tuck myself in so tight just to feel that security I had when Gramps would put me to sleep at night.

My step father had strange friends and a half brother that would visit only when he wanted something. My step Gran, a petite, “prim and proper” lady, would also visit but that would almost without fail end with her leaving in tears because of an argument.

He once decided to make his own beer. The stuff was so potent that after one mug of the stuff he was unable to stand up on his own. He invited his new buddy from the complex next door to us. Well, my mom and this guy’s wife had to literally carry the guy home after his mug of beer. At least on these nights we didn’t need to worry about being beaten or shouted at.

We lived across the road from the golf course and my step-father got to know the care taker whose house was also across the road. They used to drive around the course checking on security together. Then they would get horribly drunk at the club house and go home. We were luckier on some nights than others, but the fear was always there.

My Grandparents and Aunt would always buy me clothes and shoes. This included everything I needed for school including stationery. My step-father would get very angry when they bought me things. Once my Aunt bought me shoes and I refused to wear them at home. I hid them under my bed at my Grandparents home and wore them there. My Aunt told me the other day that she told my stepfather, that I was her niece and she would buy me shoes if she wanted to. I’m surprised that he never threatened her – or maybe he did and I just never knew about it.

One Saturday morning my step father was “cleaning” his gun. He shot a hole in the floor. It happened behind closed doors but I remember the fear I had inside that my mom had been hurt. I was only too happy to see my mom come into my room and tell me she was ok.

When I was eighteen I wanted to learn how to shoot a gun but my step father wouldn’t allow me to. It only dawned on me today that he probably thought I would end up killing him if I did. I think I would have – and sometimes wish that I did.

We moved again, this time to Viscounts Ave in Windsor. Shortly after we moved my mom fell pregnant. Things were ok. I can’t remember any incidents that took place while she was pregnant.
My Grandparents would take me out pretty often and I would go on holidays with them to the Cape.

When my brother was born my chore load got bigger. I would have to see that dinner was made, so that my mom could feed the little bundle. They would also leave me to look after him on my own while they went shopping. It felt like they took hours to return. I would wrap my baby brother tightly in his blanket, his crying would eventually stop and he would fall asleep with red eyes and a crying hiccup. I was taught how to make a bottle and taught myself when to change and bath him. My mom would come home to a fed and bathed little bundle smelling of baby powder. I think that this is what caused me to argue with my brother when he was older. I was jealous that he had some kind of a childhood while I had to grow up very fast.

My step father’s tantrums weren’t always hidden from friends. Shortly before my brother was born I became very close to a friend at school. I would spend most weekends with her family. On one of the weekends she spent with me my step father started one of his night time tantrums. He was shouting at my mom again. I honestly can’t remember what sparked it but the next thing I knew he was trying to give me a beating. I tried to get away but ended up in a choke hold being strangled. My friend was probably petrified that she would be next. I remember consoling her afterwards; I was so scared that I wouldn’t have my friend visit any more. I would rather have her feel at ease and have a friend, than be alone and be consoled myself. We are still friends today, and it’s one of the relationships that I am most thankful for. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have felt safe enough to let her hug me or hold my hand in a caring way. Someone so wonderful, and I have unconsciously, pushed her away many a time. I realise now that it was because of my fear of letting someone into my space. I feel terrible knowing this as it has probably hurt her so very much and I wish I could have realised sooner that this mess I experienced had so many repercussions.

You see I have a lot to be thankful for too. My self esteem was in tatters and at my friend’s house my confidence was boosted, I loved it there. Her mom was one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever seen. She had oodles and oodles of make-up and hair ties and bracelets. After a day of shopping and swimming we would bath and go in to her mom’s room and experiment with all the goodies.

I must admit that the first night I slept there I was petrified for the moment her dad would come home from work. You see I had a Grandpa and Uncles. The picture of a “father” to me wasn’t a nice one, one that you could have an unconditional relationship with. I learned very quickly that my friend’s parents did argue, but the things that happened in my home, never happened in hers. Her dad still today is an amazing, caring, compassionate, human being. It is really amazing how some men differ like night and day.

In my friend’s home I was made to feel a part of the family. I would even call her Gran, “Granny ………” When my friend’s parents bought a new lounge suite, her mom told us to go to the bedroom so she could surprise us. We waited so long, we decided to sneak out my friend’s bedroom window and walk to the shops. Boy were we in trouble when we got back and tried to climb through the window, only to find my friend’s mom sitting there. We never tried that trick again. We were punished though, not beaten to a pulp, or strangled or given death ray stares. It was made quite clear to us what we did wrong and that it was because we were loved so much that we should never do something like that again. I use this very strategy with my children today.

My friend’s sister tried to brush my hair after a bath one day. I had hair that I could sit on. The problem was that I didn’t know how to take care of it. It was so matted it was like the hair of an abused, uncared for, long haired dog. This is no exaggeration. I’m not sure how my Gran got to find out about it, but I have an idea that my friend’s mom paid her a visit and informed her. You see my step father would not allow me to cut my hair. In the next few days my aunt took me to the hairdresser and my hair was cut into a Princess Diana do.

Shortly before we moved to a house in Emmarentia, my step father’s, half brother phoned one night. My stepfather had been drinking heavily all day. I remember my mom being in a state and my step Gran and Stepfather’s sister being at our home. Who knows what more would have happened if they weren’t there. His half brother was going through a sticky divorce and wanted my step father to help him get his children for the week.
My step father left in a rage and ended up beating his brother’s soon to be ex-wife’s new boyfriend within an inch of his life. Charges were laid but he got off scott-free because of a crooked lawyer.

After that event my step father decided to stop drinking and turn his life around. Life was peaceful for a while. Then he got a new job and he started to go on “drinking” business meetings.
My mom ran her own business from home. He came home one day and beat her very badly. Things were strewn all over her home office. She had another black eye too. The nanny and I grabbed my then two year old brother, and we tried to get into the car with my mom and drive to my Grandparents house two blocks away.

My mom hit a pole on the carport and the door was stuck. We all ran out into the road. Luckily for us my Gramps was driving to the shop to get his daily newspaper. I have never got into a car so fast before. Late that night my step father arrived at my Grandparents house, and tried to convince my mother to give him my brother. I was so scared that I called the flying squad. She eventually went with him. In the morning she came to fetch my brother and I – and we went back home.

While I was on holiday with my Aunt, my Mom and step father bought a house in Randpark Ridge. We had a woman move in with us whose husband disappeared, literally off the face of the earth, leaving her pregnant, and jobless. There were no arguments at that home that I can remember. We didn’t stay there very long though.

My mom and stepfather ended up buying a house in Brackendowns, where the walls of their marriage would finally crumble. We didn’t move into this home right away as the sale would only go through after six months, so we moved into my Uncle’s flat in Victory Park.

My step father got insanely drunk again one night. He wanted to take my mom and go out “clubbing”. She refused, and a fight started. During the argument he grabbed my brother and tried to leave with him. My mother was exhausted so I ran after him and spoke him down to a point that I could get my brother away from him. Heaven alone knows what would have happened if he succeeded in taking my brother. My brother and I shared a room, so when I got home I got in to bed with him and clung to him all night. I doubt that I slept much but there was no way I would let my brother be in harm’s way again. I protected him against other children’s bullying and any other threats that may have arisen. What really gets to me is that there are more than just a handful of flats in that block, and NO-ONE came out to help.

Once we moved to Brackendowns things escalated over the nine years that we were there. The issue also came up again of my grandparents buying me things. My stepfather couldn’t keep a job so there was never much money. At one stage both he and my mom were working and I asked to go along on a shopping trip to get some underwear. Mine were holier than the pope. I waited and waited all day for them to arrive home, and they never did. My mom went wild in the shops; she bought herself new shirts, pants, shoes, underwear, the works, including a pair of fluffy teddy slippers. When I asked why they never came to fetch me I was told quite clearly. “Go and ask your Grandmother.”

It reminds me of the Christmas that my brother got a brand new “top of the range” cricket bat and accessories. I got a R2 water paint set from the bargain shop. I was considering buying each child in the class I was teaching one of these sets, so yes I did know the price. What really irked me is that they knew well that I had an expensive set which was bought for me to take to college but I never needed. So it was unused.

Other than that there were a lot of the usual arguments, drunken rage, black eyes and lectures. Five incidents stand out to me though.

The first occasion was when my step father drank heavily at a soccer match of my brother’s. The minute we walked in he started to beat my mother. I ended up calling a friend of my brother’s – father -  who came to our rescue. My mom looked worse this time than any other time. We spent the night at these friends. In the morning my mom decided to take my step father back again!

The second: He got horribly drunk on another occasion, this time my brother had one of his friend’s spending the weekend. This time I had two little boys to keep calm and out of harm’s way.

The third: I had started to work and because I had money of my own I would buy cold-drinks to share etc. I put the cold drink in the kitchen and went to the cupboard to get glasses, so I could pour a drink for everyone. My step father came in and chose a huge mug to pour his cold drink into. I asked him to rather use a glass that was the same size as everyone else’s. He flipped, He grabbed my left arm and twisted it, knowing that he would hurt me the most there. (I broke my arm one Christmas when I slipped on slasto. My arm never healed properly because I had a drunken idiot for a doctor and because every time I did something that pissed my step father off he would grab it first)

He threw the two litre bottles at me so hard that they broke and there was cold drink splattered all over the kitchen. He then threw me across the room into a cupboard door. I slumped onto the floor, and then he started to kick me. I had so many bruises after that beating. I had to take my Gran shopping the following Friday and I still could barely drive my car, let alone push a shopping cart.

On the fourth occasion I remember running into the street yelling “FIRE!”. Once again no one helped. The neighbours that did come out were friends of my step-father’s and turned around and walked away. If I knew where they were today I would probably have them beaten to a pulp and then ask them if it was nice when I walked away and never bothered to help. I phoned another of my friend’s mom’s that night. She came to my rescue. I am more than grateful for what she did. She even had the guts to speak to him and tell him that what he was doing was wrong. I still use her as a reference to my life today. What a strong amazing lady.

The fifth was my mom’s last beating. He threw a glass lamp across the room at her, and then a steaming hot cup of coffee. She had finally had enough. By this time he was having an internet affair and also beat my brother for “spying”.

The sixth and final beating was when we were moving out. I tried to get my dog. Yes I had to protect our pets from his wrath too! He would train the dogs to walk on a lead by dragging them on a long lead making their paws bleed. No one was safe.

He punched me in the face through the gate, so hard that I literally flew to the ground metres away. My arm was once again wrecked and I was very sore, but my babies were safe. Yes  – When I say I have been directly in the line of fire for an animal I was. I laid charges but the court papers were “lost”. Once again thanks to a crooked lawyer. So this is my justice.

It has been a long hard journey to get me to where I am today. My self esteem is still shaky, and I still sometimes flinch when my husband puts his arms around me, moves suddenly or reaches to get something from a cupboard when he is standing next to me. I refuse to let it cause a rift between us though. I hope that one day my invisible scars will eventually heal.

I still ask questions like – why wasn’t I good enough? I still sleep very lightly and I can’t seem to close my bedroom door at night. That fear is still there that something may go wrong, and that I will have to save someone from danger. I still keep most people at an arm’s length in fear that I will be hurt, but at least I’m allowing the people into my life who have been there through it all, through thick and thin. It’s because of them that I am still here and am able to tell my story.

I will continue to fight against those who abuse women and children, or animals. It sickens me to see how little people are willing to step in and help.

My children don’t know all the details but I am educating them. My son will never raise a hand to a woman, and my daughter will have enough strength and self esteem for it NOT to happen to her.

An only kid
An only kid
My father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Then came the cat
and ate the kid
my father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Then came the dog
and bit the cat
that ate the kid
my father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Then came the stick
and beat the dog
that bit the cat
that ate the kid
my father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Then came the fire
and burned the stick
that beat the dog
that bit the cat
that ate the kid
my father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Then came the water
and quenched the fire
that burned the stick
that beat the dog
that bit the cat
that ate the kid
my father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Then came the ox
and drank the water
that quenched the fire
that burned the stick
that beat the dog
that bit the cat
that ate the kid
my father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Then came the butcher
and killed the ox
that drank the water
that quenched the fire
that burned the stick
that beat the dog
that bit the cat
that ate the kid
my father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Then came the angel of death
that slew the butcher
that killed the ox
that drank the water
that quenched the fire
that burned the stick
that beat the dog
that bit the cat
that ate the kid
my father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Then came the Holy One, Blessed be He
and destroyed the angel of death
that slew the butcher
that killed the ox
that drank the water
that quenched the fire
that burned the stick
that beat the dog
that bit the cat
that ate the kid
my father bought
for two Zuzim
An only kid
An only kid

Had gad yo, Had gad yo di z’van ab-bo bis re zu ze had gad yo, Had gad yo.

Monday, 05 December 2011

Basic Rules for Cats Who Have a House to Run


This one is for cat people.

Thanks Cherece for the email.


xx Di


CHAIRS AND RUGS: If you have to throw up, get into a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug.

If no Oriental rug is available, shag is good.

DOORS: Do not allow closed doors in any room. To get a door opened, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an outside door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, and mosquito season.

GUESTS: Quickly determine which guest hates cats the most. Sit on that human's lap. If you can, arrange to have "Friskies Fish ‘n Glop" on your breath. For sitting on laps or rubbing against clothing, select fabric color which contrasts well with your fur. For example: white furred cats go to black wool clothing. For the guest who claims, "I love kitties," be ready with aloof disdain; apply claws to stockings or use a quick nip on the ankle. When walking among the dishes on the dinner table, be prepared to look surprised and hurt when scolded. The idea is to convey, "But you always allow me on the table when company isn't here." Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It isn't necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

WORK: If one of your humans is sewing or writing and another is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called helping, otherwise known as hampering. Following are the rules for hampering: A. When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You can't be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on, picked up and consoled. For book readers, get in close under the chin, between the human's eyes and the book, unless you can lie across the book itself. If it is a news paper, claw at it until shredded.

EATING HABITS AT NIGHT: Remember when you come in during the early hours of the morning after a nice romp in the neighbourhood to make as much noise as possible in order to wake your human slave quick and abrupt. It is most unsettling to be starvingly hungry only to find an empty bowl and a snoring human. If that does not help, climb on top of his/her pillow and start working your way through the hair to get as much nail leverage into the scalp as possible. Never mind the screams. If all else fails, sit on the human’s face, especially after a good, healthy shit, and prepare for a lift off!

Friday, 02 December 2011

Tough Week


Enjoy everyone! Smile its an email I received…

Have a super weekend

x Di


It all started this morning

When I made breakfast

For the cranky youngsters And fed the baby a bottle.


I loaded up the kids in the car seat

And took them to daycare & school


I was late for work and

Traffic was a nightmare


My husband called my cell Phone to tell me he got laid Off from his construction job


I got to the office

(I'm a Tech Analyst)


My supervisor chewed me out


For misplacing the mouse


I went out for lunch and

Got caught in the rain


I left work early to pick up

My new glasses (wrong size)


Drove the boys to karate lessons


And the girls to tap & ballet


When we got back home, all

They wanted to do was watch TV



Instead of doing their homework

After much chaos, they took

Their baths, got ready for

Bed and brushed their teeth


I read them their Nightly bedtime story


And they finally went to sleep


I tried doing some aerobics

In the living room


Uh oh, I don't think all the 'fast-food' and exercise is agreeing with me


Now, I think I'm getting a migraine


And a runny nose


I'm pretty certain it's the flu


After a long and gruelling day, I crawled into bed and Was just drifting off when


I realized I had forgotten something


Dear Lord, despite the

Topsy-turvy day I've had,I give thanks to you

For all the blessings you've

Bestowed upon me and my family...


Next week, I'm off to the spa and pool for some much-needed rest and relaxation with my girlfriend


That's how MY life is going....How are things with YOU?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Elephant rescue


I received this email over the weekend – it was too good not to share wit you all.

Enjoy. Smile


Most conservationists believe that man should not meddle with the natural order and that we should allow nature to run her course however cruel or grim it seems to be. We agree on the whole, unless a wildlife problem has been created by man (for instance in the case of snaring or being trapped in a fence, in which case it's justifiable to intervene) then nature should be left to her own devices. She has a plan.

However - every rule has an exception and the dreadful plight of a baby elephant trapped in the mud of the Kapani Lagoon and her mother, who had also got stuck trying to save her yesterday had us all in a frenzy of activity. We simply could not stand by and watch them struggle and slowly die. South Luangwa Conservation Society together with our neighbours - ZAWA - the wildlife authority - agreed with us and we all joined forces to try and save the mum and baby. I usually try to keep the newsletters short, but I hope you'll forgive me for making an exception with this one and agree that this story is worth a little extra time and attention.

Abraham got these great photos of the unfolding drama......

ele rescue 1

The family herd desperately trying to help the screaming Mum and baby escape

ele rescue 2

but they were completely stuck in the deep, rapidly drying mud with no chance of getting out

ele rescue 3

The brave and skilled SLCS team manages to slip a rope under the baby, narrowly avoiding mums thrashing trunk - and starts to haul her out …..

ele rescue 4

Nearly there - the whole team is hauling as hard as they can.....

ele rescue 5

But the baby is terribly frightened and won't leave mum's side

ele rescue 6

Again - she's out and we think we're almost there......

ele rescue 7

But despite my frantic waving and shouting - she won't leave her mum

ele rescue 8

One more try - the team pull her further away from mum this time.....

ele rescue 9

They unwrap the ropes and help her to her feet

ele rescue 12

This time - thanks to a young herd cousin calling her to safety.....

ele rescue 13

she makes a dash for it as the rest of the herd scream for her to come to them

ele rescue 14

Now back to mum who is dehydrated and exhausted - we've been pouring water over her to try to protect her from the scorching midday sun. SLCS staff carefully slip a rope under her....

ele rescue 15ele rescue 16

and the tractor starts to pull and pull - inching her out of what would have been a muddy grave - she seems to sense that there's a chance of escape and begins to struggle for her life...

ele rescue 17

ele rescue 18

With us all shouting encouragement and just willing her to keep going "come on Mama, come on Mama"....... to the delight of us all - she makes it! Weak and wobbly she drags herself out

ele rescue 19

ele rescue 20

and runs to find her baby and the rest of her waiting herd! The happiest possible ending!

ele rescue 21


The SLCS team all share a celebratory drink on the Kapani deck with our relieved guests!

ele rescue 22

This is all in a day’s work for the amazing Rachel McRobb and her outstanding team at The South Luangwa Conservation Society. Go to - it’s a fantastic site and well worth a visit. You will be amazed at what this relatively small group can achieve – their dedication and commitment to wildlife is inspiring. Together with our local wildlife authority – the South Luangwa Area Management Unit of the Zambia Wildlife Authority, they are extremely effective at anti-poaching activities including anti-snaring and patrolling in vulnerable areas of the National Park. Rachel and her team are also skilled at darting snared animals, removing the snares and treating the horrific wounds they cause. Their awareness raising activities and work with other local conservation groups are incredibly effective. Of course – this all takes money so please consider becoming a regular supporter.

Our MD Dave Wilson and NCS Director Adrian Carr are both active trustees in SLCS. It was extremely heartening for us all to see how many local people joined in the efforts to free these two elephants – the cheers of joy, first when the baby ran to his cousin and then when Mum was finally released from the jaws of the sticky, cloying mud were wonderful! Everyone seemed to identify with the mum’s plight - we all saw the incredible emotional bond between the worried herd members and mum and baby. Thank you SLCS and ZAWA and also all the NCS staff who bravely fought to make this a happy ending!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Immigrating With Your Pets – Part 2


Hi everyone.

This is a follow up post about immigrating with your pets.

While the last post was based on the facts and details of the new quarantine laws, this post is a personal account from two lovely ladies who have both travelled with their pets.

I hope that after reading the two posts you have a better idea of what to expect.

First is a little more info for you from Tilanie, and then an article from Liz.

Thank you Tilanie and Liz for your input. You are both animal angels in my eyes. Thank you for helping me to help other pet parents.

Tilanie writes:

I have moved from South Africa to Austria and back with my pets in tow as well as moving my first German Shepherd from Germany to South Africa. And my parents also moved overseas with pets.

Moving with a well known pet company. I think this is the better option as they – especially today flying from SA stay with your pet/pets till they are boarded.

They organise all the paper work, all you need to make sure of is that you have all their vaccinations up to date – they will also organise either a box or a crate for you dog or cat which yes it is pricey but oh so worth it.

They will tell you whether it is necessary to tranquilise your animal (this depends on the distance).

Moving my dogs to Austria did not require any sort quarantine. And I made sure that they were on the same plane as myself every time. Went straight to the cargo section and got my boys when I was through (however, prior arrangements can be made to have the company organise someone on the other side)

I also did a trip from Germany to South Africa – also through a company.

Then I did the trip from Austria to South Africa – this was a nightmare as the company who used to do this over there was no longer in operation. That left me running left right and centre for signatures and stamps etc. It also meant having to take my boys to the airport and crating them and I had to catch the same flight so I had to leave them in the cargo hold without any supervision (nightmare for me).

Other thing was that my one was getting more hyper from the sedatives – and managed to open his crate – thankfully I was still there so we were forced to put a lock on the crate – this is not advisable because in an emergency situation the animal can not be freed very easily. From my own experience, I would advocate using a reputable company for the safety of the animals and your own peace of mind.

On both occassions where I used a company to move my dogs I was truly satisfied and happy with the end result, happy wagging tails to see their mom.

This is a piece from Liz whose doggies are in quarantine, she recently moved to the UK from SA.

These are your pets you are moving overseas so do not let any one bully you. You know your pets better than anyone and know their likes, dislikes and behavourial patterns.

As we know there is no quarantine now for most countries although check as there maybe about 3 very unknown places that will require quarantine. Make sure all animals have their Rabies shots three months prior to departure and the blood test a month before departure , de-wormed, micro chipped and a Pet Passport also required prior to departure. If not obtained the animals will be in quarantine for 3 months.Check the DEFRA website it clearly states all requirements.

On arrival at any airport there will be a 2-4 hour wait. The State vet has to check all animals to make sure they are healthy and to check all papers are in order.

I researched every cargo pet carrier and found Pet Wings in South Africa the best. They are knowledgeable, sympathetic to your needs and the animals, they will clearly state the animals are their first priority not the owners feeling. Any questions they will answer promptly and be very informative.

All animals will be crated and will go into cargo. Get these crates as soon as possible. Put the pets blankets in them, put treats in the crates and feed them in the crates this will help the animal not to be frightened when the time comes for travel.

Departure, only your animals will be in the van on collection. Each crate will have 2 water bowls, make sure you have frozen the water. This will stop spillage, also last longer for the journey and stay cool. If more than one animal travelling ask for the crates to be put opposite each other so the animals can see one another, it does reassure them. I had 3 dogs going overseas and managed to get them in the van and on the plane where all could see one another. Again it really is a question of 'You are paying for this service it will be done as you request' as much as possible.Do not be bullied but be firmly polite.

I can honestly say the travel and flight was never a problem, everyone concerned was informative, kind and went out of their way to make it as painless as possible for animal and human. After all and you may not believe me but us humans suffer far more than the animals. Think of it as an adventure and in a few hours all will be reunited

New Zealand, Australia and Canada are going to have sticker laws for animals coming into their countries but still does not include quarantine. This will not be known until 2011 when the UK stops their quarantine.

Unfortunately this was by far the easy part for my animals trip. Mine have had to spend 6 months in quarantine and are still there till Dec 18. I have always been a firm believer quarantine or not if anyone loves their animals they will go where the owner goes and not be left behind. Now there is no excuse, quarantine for the UK from 2nd January 2011 no longer exists and in all European Countries and America there is no quarantine. What a joy to know if all regulations are followed where you go your beloved pets can go to. This had been one of the best laws the British Government has abolished. Quarantine came from the dark ages and should have been abolished years ago but even so I still put my animals through this and would do so again because they are loved and could never live with the not knowing of what happened to them. Unless you see it with your own eyes no one can ever be sure.

I have never heard of an animal being lost or dying on a plane to or from any country. I cannot speak highly enough of the quarantine kennels or people at Heathrow airport, if I had my way they could have stayed there for the 6 months. My animals arrive, they were feed, cleaned and groomed with fresh bedding but most importantly they were welcomed with soft words and kind hands.

The question is would you be able to live without your beloved pets or spend the rest of your life wondering what happened to them. I know what I would rather have.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Immigrating with pets…


While hunting for info for an immigrating couple, I realised that not many people know about the new rules applying to those couples wanting their pets to join them at their new home.

It is upsetting for both owners and those involved with rescue and rehoming to have to find new homes for once loved family pets.

When I post pets on Facebook for rehoming and the info involves the word immigration I receive a barrage of comments pertaining to the immigration laws – and “do you know?”.

Yes, I do know…

The issue here is that we need to educate people on all areas of a pets life.

So please guys and girls don’t give the networkers or re homers a hard time.

Rather repost some info to educate another pet owner.

Here’s what I found:

I emailed at least 10 companies in SA that transport pets to overseas locations.

About 4 replied by the end of yesterday.

Two of the companies were very helpful and gave me the following info.

From 1st January 2012, the rules for bringing your pet dog, cat or ferret into the UK will change.

Until then, the existing rules continue to apply for pets coming into the UK,


Approved non-EU countries – listed overleaf but please check
for latest details

Pets in quarantine
Pet owners with pets entering quarantine from 3 July 2011 to 31 December 2011 may be able to have their pet released from quarantine from 1 January 2012 and before the current 6 month quarantine period has elapsed, if they have prepared their pets to meet EU rules.
See Defra website for further information

Requirements for dogs & cats into United Kingdom

Requires a 3 to 4 month process here in South Africa.


Pets need to be microchiped and vaccinated against rabies at your local vet. You then have to wait a minimum of 30 days but no more than a year to do step 2 – rabies antibody Titre test.


The veterinary authorities are mainly concerned that the rabies vaccination is current. However it is important for your pet’s health that these vaccinations are given annually and it is advisable that these vaccinations be updated when necessary. In addition, should your pet require boarding before they travel all reputable kennels would insist that you produce a valid vaccination certificate.


A blood sample has to be taken by your local vet and sent to an EU-approved laboratory (Onderstepoort in Pretoria).

Once a positive rabies antibody titre test result is received (has to be equal to or more than 0.5IU/ml) the pet has to wait 3 months from the date that the blood was drawn before travelling.


The pets have to be accompanied by a health certificate issued by a private veterinarian certifying compliance with the above requirements and countersigned by the State Vet.

All pets must also be dewormed at the time of the completion of the Health Certificate. These treatments should be clearly stated on the Health Certificate.

This page may be of futher help.

Defra says you should ask yourself these questions if you would like to take your pet abroad.

PART A Entry to the UK from other EU Member States and
approved non-EU countries:

For your pet to enter the UK from these countries, you must answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:
• Is it microchipped?
• Is your pet currently vaccinated against rabies?
• Was it vaccinated after it was microchipped?
• Have you got an EU Pet Passport or Official Veterinary Health Certificate from your vet certifying the microchip and vaccination?
• Have 21 days passed since it was vaccinated?
• Are you travelling into the UK with your pet on an approved route?**

PART B Entry to the UK from non-approved countries:
For your pet to enter the UK from these countries, you must answer ‘yes’ to the following steps:
• Is it microchipped?
• Is your pet currently vaccinated against rabies?
• Was it vaccinated after being microchipped?
• Was a blood sample for a blood test taken at least 30 days after
it was vaccinated?
• Has it passed the blood test? (your vet will tell you)
• Have you got an EU Pet Passport* or Official Veterinary Health Certificate from
our vet certifying the microchip, vaccination and blood test result?
• Have three months passed since the date the blood sample was taken?
• Are you travelling into the UK with your pet on an approved route?**

If you have a personal account of moving abroad with your pets, please email me on i would like to post YOUR story so that we have a personal account of the above steps.

have a super day.


Wednesday, 09 November 2011



As you all know I have been struggling along to get donations for my DDAS blog birthday drive.

Today a very kind friend decided to donate a R500 Freshly Juiced hamper to raffle off, so we can raise some funds for the shelters close to the heart of DDAS.

If you would like to win this hamper tickets cost R50.

Because of the new raffle our birthday drive will be extended to the 30th November.

I will do the draw on 1 December and notify the winner of the hamper and the winner of the SAiNTs Calendar.

Email me on if you would like to buy a ticket.

Here is a little more info on Freshly Juiced as well as their contact details, website and facebook page if you would like some more info regarding their products.

“Their products are absolutely amazing! They feel good on your skin and smell absolutely delicious. I had products with pomegranate in. Such nice products. Very happy with them” ~ jacqui

Lux Body Butter


Freshly Juiced is a ladies luxury body care range with a very strong Eco focus.

Our website is where we take the customer on a journey of learning to read the label of their products and not just look at the fancy logo! 

Of course we also run promotions from our fan page (with approximately 780 fans currently).

We are against animal testing, use biodegradable ingredients wherever possible (such as in our scrubs), actively encourage recycling of the packaging, and use high quality natural ingredients in all our products. 

Where we have had to use synthetic ingredients, we have ensured they comply with EU safety standards and that they are derived 100% from plant material (NO ANIMAL BY-PRODUCTS like so many other skin care products).

We can sponsor a R500 Freshly Juiced product hamper – including our Exfoliating Salt Body Scrub, Luxury Body Butter, Hand Cream and lots of other goodies! 

Kind regards

Julie Gouws

079 898 2845 |

: (011) 513 4046 | fax: (086) 608 4490

Postnet Suite 1, Private bag X75, Bryanston, 2021

Monday, 07 November 2011

Got my penthouse Pets calendar


I was so excited today when I saw the notice in my Post Box to collect My SAiNTs Calendars.

I ripped open the envelope to find the beautifully photographed and printed calendar.

I am thrilled.

One of the lucky Ladies or Gentlemen, who donate to my Blog’s Birthday Drive wins one of these calendars.

For those of you who don’t know the history of this type of calendar – here’s a little info…


1a1acalendaCalendar Girls is a 2003 comedy film directed by Nigel Cole. Produced by Buena Vista International and Touchstone Pictures, it features a screenplay by Tim Firth and Juliette Towhidi based on a true story of a group of Yorkshire women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research under the auspices of the Women's Institutes in April 1999. (from Wikipedia)


The SAiNTs Calendar is also tastefully done with the same idea of giving behind it. Proceeds from the sale of this calendar will benefit, Barking Mad, CLAW, 4Paws, Co-operative Cat shelter, AARF and Cat-a-Holics.

I chose AARF to benefit when I purchased DDAS’s and my calendars.

saints calendar


If you’d like to win this copy email me on for more details, and make a donation to the birthday drive.

I would LOVE to raise at least R5000 yes it increased over night as I’ve added a Transkei Animal Outreach PE to the list of charities I would like to donate to.

The list is as follows: Second Chance Sanctuary, Happy Yappers, AARF, PETS CT, and Animal Outreaches Transkei Rescue PE.

Even if you can donate as much as R100 to our drive it will help us reach our target.

I understand that not all of my friends are animal lovers, and some are but cant donate. Please instead of tearing me down for trying to support animal charities rather share this post and rally some support.

Yes one incredibly bitchy creation gave me a mouth full last week for doing what I do. The ladies and Gents who tirelessly find homes for the voiceless understand this, I know.
We have ALL had our time with at least one of these heartless people.

Please hit share on your social networking sites or mail to your friends and contacts.

Please do support the SAiNTs team too. This Calendar will make awesome Christmas gifts for clients or family members. AND it goes 2 ways because you’ll be giving a gift to the animals. Email to order your copy.