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There are no words that will be able to portray the sense of quiet aloneness we feel in the small towns of Zimbabwe at this time of the Novel Coronavirus, Covid-19. If the first world cannot get their preparations smoothly and swiftly effected, how on earth shall we? This small country has no need to be poverty ridden, but it is. So, how will we get through? With a wish, and a prayer, and courage.

Our conversations are peppered with completely new or re-invented words and phrases. Pandemic, the nightmare version of epidemic. Pan. All. A part word that cannot more brutally state the amount of change in our lives. All of our lives, all changed.

Lockdown. Social distance. Self-isolation. Herd Immunity. Flattening the curve. The first time we tried to explain this unseen, unexperienced illness to our staff, it was received with blank faces. A week later, thanks to the media, particularly through SMS and WhatsApp, we saw the first fear and incomprehension. Automatically the chairs were spaced far apart, under the thorn tree. One man had tied cotton hat over his mouth. Many questions were thrown out and, in true Zimbabwean manner, discussed from every angle, at length. The town, no, the whole country was, like the rest of the world, unprepared. We could not find hand sanitizer or masks to purchase, and for sure there were very few ventilators in the country. But if you know this people, you will know a plan would be made. A friend made us washable face masks, the guys remembered a box with a strange product left over from the devastation of Cyclone Idai. Could it be sanitizer? Yes! We allowed, for the first time ever, the old SPCA rescue truck to be used for commuting, so our staff did not have to travel in jam-packed commuter transport. This 20-something year old car is our charity’s most precious asset, so to allow it to leave the premises overnight was a big decision for us. Answer was very inventive by setting up a basic hand wash station at the entrance to the SPCA. But no-one came to see us...

A rumour was tragically spread that Coronavirus came from dogs, and other animals. That was the end of visitors coming to look at our dogs and cats. Fuel has been harder than ever to find, and fund. Prices have soared yet again, and I will admit I have a cold feeling in my chest when I think of our survival as an animal sanctuary. Survival was the word Lynne and I chose when we named our GlobalGiving project, and it could not describe better how we operate. In survival mode.

The GlobalGiving (GG) forum really gave us hope that we could. Survive, that is. We have always endeavoured to not sit back and simply hope people will: 1, notice our charity amidst the multitude of others, and 2, send us a gift. Seriously, now more than ever, we have to rely on GlobalGiving. The local community has always been poor, but exceptionally kind. But between lockdown, and obviously frozen incomes, we can expect no help.

Adopting a pet is far from one’s mind when budgeting in lockdown and hyperinflation. We have found some homes in the past months, loving good homes. Not many I know, but we are living through unusual times. The cost of licences, dip, vet support and pet food, as I have said in the last GG report, has sky-rocketed, which dissuaded most potential adopters, and now the big freeze of lockdown.

On the bright side, two beautiful cats were chosen, both very similar in nature, but unrelated. One had been found tied in a sack and thrown away. A passer-by noticed the movement, and we were called to help. Being as adorable as she is, she was homed. Then second cat, who had birthed 4 pretty kittens, was also found discarded. Things did not go smoothly, as her first kitten adopted died suddenly. The family kindly took another. Now mum and her last kitten have been chosen, and we are just waiting for lockdown to end before we can send them off to their new home with three delightful children who we know will make the best owners for these very friendly cats.

Love finally. Never to be discarded again

Love finally. Never to be discarded again

This week we had a week that must have been heavens sent, (sic). We had a litter of three playful and cuddly pups, but we had reached a point of despair in finding homes. Well! Did we home a pup? No, not one, not two BUT THREE! Are we feeling proud of our cute litter? YES! One perfect-fit Forever Friend took the brothers Benjamin and Jackson, (they have already had their first jog) and a very kind couple chose Jesse, their sensitive sister.

Photos L to R: Jesse, first of the pups homed this week, Jesse's brother Jackson, a fearless pup, homed and Benjamin who was forever rehomed together with Jackson.

Our precious Charlie, one of SPCA Mutare’s longest standing residents, has also gone to a wonderful home. We could not have asked for a better one. We rescued him on one of our rural outreaches in a pitiable state. He was with another dog that did not look well. We routinely quarantine dogs with no instant diagnosis, and it’s lucky we did. The other dog died – of DUMB RABIES, a rarer form of rabies which shows no typical symptoms, but they do not react normally. Our experienced Inspector Noel was suspicious. Charlie had already been separated from the dead dog, luckily. He recovered quickly from his own ailments, but he had to undergo a seriously long quarantine for most of his puppyhood. That forgiving little guy was finally integrated into the main pack, and he has been a joy to know. It began to feel as if no one would notice what a fine lad he is. THEN FINALLY… happened for little Charlie. He has such a good and loving home. We needed that badly, almost as much as Charlie-Boy himself.

Our precious Charlie meets his new family.

We press on, as you do, with the FEAR of Covid as an added extra challenge to the inexplicable others. You have to live here to understand. Animals on our patch of this Earth need us, and we are FEARLESS, resilient, and positive. To be anything else would not cut it. If you feel you are in a position to give us a helping hand, we would be very thankful.

Answer & Thomasina, PLEASE come and meet her?

Mungo, happiest dog we have needs his own home now.

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