Today, we interview Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser Natasha Johannes, who is the longest-standing staff member at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, with us for 29 years!
Let’s hear from Natasha who walks us through her inspiring journey with the SPCA
What inspired you to be part of the SPCA family?
My family has always had animals (such as dogs, ducks, chickens (who were pets) and budgies since I can remember hence I have always loved animals.
When a vacancy became available at the SPCA 29 years ago, I took the opportunity and as they say the rest is history.
Could you please expand on your experience and your most memorable moments with the organisation?
I started in July 1993 and I have grown with the organisation both on a professional and personal level.
After all these years the credo of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA continually fuelled my passion and it warms my heart to think of the many animals we have rescued and have given a chance at a better life. Honestly, there have been sad days when we have lost the battle to save the life of an animal but the desire to continue to make a difference and the love for animals remains.
Memorable moments there are so many and how do I decide? I think I could probably write a book about my experiences. The list below is a random account or as the mind remembers and not necessarily in the order of importance or relevance:
- The day I completed the Intensive Inspectors exam gave me the opportunity to learn about the Animal Protection Act and use the knowledge to benefit animals.
- The basic medical training we received under the guidance of the many kind vets who worked at the SPCA.
- The day our boarding facility received a 5-star rating by Fairlady magazine many years ago (unfortunately we do not offer this service any longer).
- Being part of our ever-popular Wiggle Waggle walk-a-thon’s, Woefie Wandel’s , Horse Shows of the past and the Mutt of the Year events that were hosted by our organisation.
- The expansion and revamping of the various departments throughout the years.
- The first publication of our Footprints Magazine.
- Animal Cops South Africa was aired on an American documentary reality television series that premiered on June 6, 2008 on Animal Planet. The program depicted cases that were handled and investigated by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, it was a proud moment.
- Our Life’s Better Shared Adoption Campaign which saw many local well-known personalities such Kurt Schoonraad, Joanne Strauss, Liezel Van Der Westhuizen and many more support this campaign and also the support of the public.
- SPCA received a Bronze Award for stand design and presentation at the Outdoor Eco Adventure Travel Expo in 2010. The stand was built up with items from our charity shop.
- The many sporting events we participated in and raised funds for our organisation and awareness through the support of athletic animal-loving communities.
- Given Gain quoted that the Cape of Good Hope SPCA is one of the most successful charities regarding virtual events in SA for 2020. It shows our determination to continue to care for animals under adverse conditions quoting the famous expression, “Love conquers all” by the Roman poet Virgil.
There are so many more moments I could mention but for me the most valuable are the many animals’ lives we managed to save.
Adding a message to our “Life’s Better Shared” Adoption Campaign Supporter Wall is Wendy Ackerman, who adopted her dog, Homer (pictured) from the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. Mrs. Ackerman’s message is as follows:
“One of the best dogs ever – I adopted him from SPCA.” – Wendy Ackerman & Homer
What changes have you noticed throughout your years of service?
The organisation came from humble beginnings to being one of the largest animal welfare organisations in South Africa.
There have been so many changes over the years since I have been employed at the organisation and just to name a few:
- – The revamping of our Adoption Centre dog and cat cages, to the state-of-the-art facility it is today.
- – The revamping and expansion of our Animal Hospital.
- – The extension of our Inspectorate Department and team, our Farm Animal and Horse Care Unit caring for over 100 horses annually and the establishment of a short-term Wildlife Care Facility.
- – Our Admin and Fundraising building has had changes both in structure and staff dynamics.
- – Our Charity Shop which started in a wendyhouse on our property to becoming a shop in a building as well as our Vet Shops, which started as one retail outlet.
- – The increase in the number of Mobile Clinics that serve the animals in disadvantaged communities, therefore, ensures we reach more animals.
- – The number of people employed at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA currently has increased fundamentally when compared to many years ago.
What do you look forward to going forward?
To continue our fight against animal cruelty on all fronts.
I am grateful to have been part of an organisation that is forward thinking, passionate and dedicated to prevent animal cruelty and to promote the welfare of all animals.