“We want this service for our pets, but we simply cannot afford it,” said Okahandja’s Five Rand Camp Informal Settlement resident and pet owner, Victoria Haukongo of her community’s need to spay and neuter their pets. According to Haukongo, residents of Five Rand Camp find it difficult to pay for these services with their income.
Earlier this month, however, good news came to her area as free spaying services were brought to the community’s door steps by Have-a-Heart Namibia, a non-profit animal welfare organisation, veterinarian Dr Ian Baines and his team with the support of Bank Windhoek.
Have-a-Heart Namibia’s main aim is to reduce the number of stray animals, eliminating the need for mass-euthanasia, whilst improving the health and status of township cats and dogs.
Dubbed the Bank Windhoek Spay Day by Five Rand Camp residents, the campaign treated seventy animals comprising 26 cats and 44 dogs over a two-day period in Okahandja.
Baines Vetcare Mobile Animal Clinic
After retiring and selling his practice, Baines decided to pursue his passion of providing veterinary services to pet owners with little or no income. With the proceeds, he bought a mobile clinic, modified it so that he could perform surgeries, and embarked on a life changing journey as the Baines Vetcare Mobile Animal Clinic, in collaboration with Have-a-Heart Namibia.
The Baines Vetcare Mobile Animal Clinic visits remote towns around the country, sets up base and invites community members to bring their pets for free spay and neuter services. The service is offered once a week on a monthly basis.
The pet’s surgical journey
Once set up at Five Rand Camp, the Baines Vetcare Mobile Animal Clinic, drew a lot of attention and word quickly spread throughout the community that the spaying and neutering service was available at no cost, a move that ensured that Baines and his team were kept busy over the two day period
The process from start to finish is highly organised and methodical. Pets are registered, anaesthetised, and then moved into the mobile clinic for surgery. Once surgery is complete, the pet is then immunised and also undergoes a general health check-up. Once pets have woken from the anaesthesia, their owners are given a medical record booklet.
Clearly pleased with the initiative, Cecelia Mbari, who brought her dogs Boris and Katatu said, “The number of stray dogs and cats in our settlement is alarming. This campaign will allow us to have a controllable population. Thank you Bank Windhoek.”
Bank Windhoek’s Executive Officer of Marketing and Corporate Communication Services, Jacquiline Pack, said: “As a responsible corporate citizen, Bank Windhoek is proud to have supported this service to our people. We understand that for a pet owner, the most important decision they can make is to spay and neuter them. Thanks to Have-a-Heart Namibia, Dr Baines and his team for providing this valuable service,” she said.