Lauren, please tell us about Stafford Rescue Africa?
We are Stafford and Amstaff lovers together with over thirty years experience in owning, breeding, rescuing and rehoming Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. We are a group of rather informal yet highly principled people. Our careers differ but what we do all have in common is our love for Stafford’s and their well-being. We know the breed, we understand the breed and have dedicated our lives to helping them. We strive to educate and create awareness of Stafford’s and the amazing breed they are when they are cared for in the correct way.
We have a principle that everyone offers, as volunteers, their experience and time for our dogs with an open heart. We don’t pay expenses. No one is on commission. Our bank accounts serve to collect contributions and are usually emptied to pay vital kennel or vet bills each week. We don’t own kennels we currently board our dogs at private kennels. We have amazing vets who reduce their costs in support of our work. We are forever grateful for the handful of supporters who continuously dig deep in their pockets for our Staffords and Amstaffs.
How did you get involved with SRA?
I grew up with Staffordshire Bull terriers, so I have always been around and had a love for the Stafford Breed. I got involved with Stafford rescue about four years ago. I was contacted about a dog which needed a home – no one wanted to home her because the Stafford breed is so misunderstood… that’s where it all began.
The effect of COVID-19 on animals…
I have tried to explain to people that COVID-19 cannot be passed on to them by their pets. Yet this incorrect information has spread, people are leaving their animals at the SPCA in huge numbers, daily.
Secondly, because of job loss, people are unfortunately not able to look after and feed their pets, so they are surrendering them to rescue organizations. We have received 5 dogs in the last 24 hours alone, from families who just cannot afford to keep their beloved pets.
Have there been more adoptions over this period?
Thankfully we have had quite a few adoptions over this period, but sadly, everyone wants a puppy. I have to explain to people on a daily basis that puppies don’t go up for adoption, it’s the older dogs that are given up when they become too much trouble or haven’t been trained and given what they need to thrive… that’s when they get handed over.
Since lockdown have you seen more cases of neglect and abuse?
Unfortunately, animal abuse is always a constant and something we deal with on a weekly basis.
Tell us a bit about each breed: Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers.
Staffordshire Bull terriers will steal your sofa and your bed! Beware, before you know it they will have crept right inside your heart! Bull breeds are famed for their soft loving natures towards humans and especially children. Staffordshire Bull Terriers have an emotionality of their own. If you are looking for a devoted loyal and connected dog, this breed is famous for all these special traits.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is caring, loving, and will try to talk to you and join in with your conversation. They really identify closely with humans and try to communicate with their loved ones. This is called ‘Staffie speak’, they can be snuffly and snorty and will snore the night through, they are comical and unbelievably charming in their need to offer you what they have and are very trainable. Their sociability with other dogs is broadly based, like all dogs, they should be highly socialised with other dogs from an early age.
The American Staffordshire Terrier, known to their fans as AmStaffs, are smart, confident and good-natured companions. Their courage is proverbial. A responsibly bred, well-socialized AmStaff is a loyal, trustworthy friend to the end. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a loving, loyal, playful dog that loves to spend time with their human family members. They are quite muscular for their size, which can make them a handful on walks if they aren’t trained properly. They also have strong jaws, which they will use to chew out of boredom. When brought up in a home with love that gives them proper training and socialization, American Staffordshire Terriers are docile, affectionate animals that are very loyal and obedient.
For those looking to adopt, what is the process?
To adopt one of our Stafford’s or Amstaffs you must first complete our Homing questionnaire. Read and understand the questions as well as the facets of your life which affect and will be affected by the type of dog you own.
We will then arrange for one of our Volunteers to come and do a home-check, they will be checking your garden boundaries, gate locks and access to gates. As well as where the new addition to your family will be sleeping and sheltered during the day.
Also, begin to think about, and list items you will need. You don’t need anything expensive, especially in the beginning.
To my understanding, Stafford Rescue receives no government funding. Does our government fund any animal rescue non-profits?
Our Government doesn’t fund any Non Profit rescue organization as far as I am aware. I stand to be corrected but I think the SPCA and NSPCA are the only organizations which receive assistance.
How can people help (donations, volunteering…)?
With no Government funding or support from any large animal welfare, we actively fundraise throughout the year to bring in funds to keep the charity going. Along with funds raised from our online shop, donations (from the public) are our main and sometimes only source of income.
We are always looking for assistance when it comes to the dogs we have under our care. We currently spend about R3500, a month on each dog; kennelling, food, tick and flea treatment, medical and dog training.
Stafford Rescue Africa
Irma Du Plooy