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Animal Lovers Project Swing (ALPS) – Benoni, Gauteng

| February 11, 2012
Animal Lovers Project Swing -ALPS

To improve the life of animals in disadvantaged and impoverished communities by providing the community with practical education on animal welfare and programmatically sterilizing animals while administering basic veterinary treatment and care.

About us
We reach out to animals in under-privileged areas primarily in Benoni.

Our Mission
To improve the life of animals in disadvantaged and impoverished communities by providing the community with practical education on animal welfare and programmatically sterilizing animals while administering basic veterinary treatment and care.

Our Objective
This project is focused on the animals in Etwatwa on the East Rand specifically those in the area where our teenage ambassador, Aleck Khathwayo and his family live. Aleck wants to make a difference in the life of animals in his community and after he identified the first needy case in Jan 2012 – an unwanted dog called Swing – the ALPS dream was put to work. Swing whose initial plight drives our mission, has since her rescue been re-homed and ALPS is proud to have her as our mascot.


Aleck and Swing

Aleck and Swing


Who is ALPS?

Cassandra Barbosa and Aleck Khathwayo, two individuals who want to make a difference to the lives of animals in Etwatwa.


To those who don’t know me, I’m Cassandra Barbosa and I’ve lived in Benoni most of my life and yes I love my animals! I have a full-time job and a wonderful family who supports me in everything I do for animals, and while I’ve been active with various animal welfare organizations in the past, I decided to go it alone for a change.

I started the ALPS initiative in January 2012, with Aleck Khathwayo, a 16 year old youngster who lives in Etwatwa township (outside Benoni). I’ve known Aleck since he was 8 and have been very involved in his and his family’s life since then. Aleck and his family have always loved animals and have grown up being exposed to my menagerie at home – they babysit all my fur babies when I’m away. So when Aleck expressed an interest in helping the animals in his immediate community and educating the community in the basics of animal welfare and care, the ALPS seed was sown. Leveraging Aleck’s interest and combining my passion to make a difference to these animals, we decided to collaborate in reaching out to the animals in Etwatwa, and we dream of being successful in educating the community in animal welfare, elevating them and enabling them to impact positively on the lives of their animals.

Aleck and I started by creating a Facebook group called Animal Lovers. Six days into the new year we made our first rescue, an unwanted xGSD female whose owners asked us to “take her away” as they no longer wanted her because she was old. Her name is Swing – in 9 days, with the amazing help of our animal network, we managed to bring Swing out of Etwatwa, have her treated and re-homed to an awesome home in Midrand. All thanks to the support of many amazing people in the animal network and our God sent Vets at Bromhof Veterinary Clinic in Randburg. Swing was resilient and her will to live shone through her eyes – I recognize that look, it’s all too common in these cases. She’s an oldish doggy and had a massive mammary tumor, which needed to be removed, at the same time she was sterilized, vaccinated and dewormed. However, the sad news is that Swing has cancer which is spreading, and we were faced with a difficult decision – but we decided that Swing had suffered enough and that she needed to know love even if only for a short time. She has since blossomed in her new home, and even runs and jumps, her owner has a pet grooming business, so Swing always looks beautiful, a far cry from her existence at the beginning of 2012. We felt that Swing epitomized the need for outreach work in Etwatwa and so we renamed ourselves from Animal Lovers to ALPS (Animal Lovers Project Swing). Just like Swing, there are many “unwanted” animals, for all sorts of interrelated reasons – and fundamentally education is key!

ALPS is not yet a registered NPO, but I’ll be applying for a number soon. For now it’s just two individuals trying to make a difference, albeit slow due to our limited resources, but we believe every single dog we manage to help is a dog’s life to which we’ve made a difference.

Bromhof Veterinary Clinic in Randburg have committed to supporting ALPS going forward, and our vets, Dr Le-ann Prinsloo and Dr Rob Campbell have been extraordinary to our cause. It’s a far drive for our Etwatwa animals to make the trip to Randburg, but the care there is phenomenal and we are working with two like- minded vets who have their hearts in the right place.

How can you help?

As with most welfare work, funding is our primary challenge and again due to an amazing network and pledges that were honoured we’ve managed to cover most of our costs in January.

We brought in our second case in January, some of you may have seen the news on our Facebook page – his name is Danger, also a xGSD approx. 1 year old. Aleck called me in a panic on the evening of 16th January, fearing that Danger had been hit by a car and had a broken leg. After many calls and acrobatics we managed to get Danger out of Etwatwa and to our vet in Randburg. There he has undergone extensive surgery and we managed to save his leg! Danger will need to stay with us for at least another 4 weeks until his wounds have healed, stitches are out and he’s strong enough to go back home to his owner, who loves him and wants him back. So far Danger’s costs of R4,000.00 have also been covered by donations – but his treatment is not yet complete and he still needs to be sterilized before returning home.

So while Swing and Danger kept us busy, we also dewormed, vaccinated and Frontlined 2 more dogs, 1 cat, 4 kittens, and re-homed 3 of the kittens. The dogs and cat were also sterilized. Again these costs have also been covered by donations.

All this in January alone! February has already presented a new case, an unwanted mommy doggy and her 4 puppies, which will be removed from Etwatwa, vet treated and will need to be re-homed.

SO as the year unfolds ahead of us, we foresee it to be a busy one AND the plea goes out to you, to please support ALPS in our mission – remember we are Working on a Dream.

We are in desperate need of monthly contributions, so that we can plan monthly sterilizations, our vets are able to do 6 sterilizations a month and that will make a huge difference to the community as puppies are unwanted and usually cruelly disposed of. R400 a dog, will ensure sterilization, vaccinations, deworming and Frontlining. I collect and return the animals to Etwatwa (in my spare time!). If you’re an animal lover, please consider contributing to the ALPS cause in whatever way you can. Donations of food, bowls, blankets, material to make running leads, Frontline, money to cover vet costs, etc.

Please feel free to call or email me should you have any questions, ideas, contributions etc.

Aleck and I thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy overview, but I feel it was important to position ALPS and what we stand for before asking you to donate!!!

Donations can be made directly into the Vet account. Please copy me on EFT’s so I can keep track of the account.

Bromhof Veterinary Clinic
Standard Bank, Northgate
Branch Code : 001106
Acc No. : 402494377
Reference : Welfare Cases

Yours in Etwatwa animal welfare

Cassandra Barbosa
ALPS – Working on a Dream
082 771 0511

Please visit and Like us on Facebook! AnimalLovers.GP

Category: Feline Resources, Rescue & Shelter Directory

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