Volunteering at Dassenberg Horse Rescue Centre

When we started sharing our experiences, it was important to us that we could also share the more serious issues and causes close to our hearts. Animal welfare is a cause which is near and dear to our hearts. As the mom and dad to 4 rescue dogs (a Great Dane, Rottie, Jack Russell and Pom Cross), being able to assist and bring awareness to a cause that is so admirable and heartbreaking is imperative to us. We absolutely love dogs, if we could, we would probably end up with 80 dogs. I grew up around a plethora of animals including horses. My better half has only been exposed to horses because of me haha! But watching these animals and seeing their personalities and behaviorism is one of the most fascinating and humorous things in this world. People who say they have no personalities are most likely lacking in personality themselves. When we were looking for a place to volunteer, we were looking for a smaller rescue that incorporated both horses and dogs – not an easy feat. We came across the Dassenberg Horse Rescue Centre.

Started by the lovely, kind and generous soul Mayanna (seen above) as a horse rescue centre, Dassenberg has evolved into a canine rescue centre as well. Everyone knows that animal rescue and welfare is one of the most emotionally demanding yet rewarding causes out there. You have to prepare yourself when heading out to one of these centres as the stories and cases you see will bring you to tears. As a pair of emotionally sensitive and animal loving individuals, we went into volunteering knowing that if we ever ran into an animal abuser watching those episodes of Dexter will come in handy!

We arrived at Dassenberg early Saturday morning with 6kgs of carrots and 3 boxes of dog biscuits. You don’t go empty handed to your guest’s home now do you? Ready to mingle, we were met by the angel Mayanna who introduced us to some of the sweetest, most docile dogs on the planet. All were so excited for their daily walk. Some waited more patiently than others but that’s to be expected. Our first round of walks were a complete breeze. The dogs were so excited and appreciative of their walk. The stories of their abuse are heartbreaking while they’ve recovered and are healthy and happy, you can’t help but think what kind of sick individual would harm an innocent creature. These animals have such an enthusiasm and excitement for life, you start to rethink and ponder the little things in life. If an animal appreciates a walk, food and some quality attention so much that they are forever loyal, affectionate and grateful; it’s makes you realise that you really don’t need much to be happy.

This big furry ball of fluff is Vinny. What a sweetheart! One of the first pooches we met, this fur-child enjoys thorough head, body and back scratches. Watch out, if you take to long or aren’t doing a good job, you’ll get some back chat. So make sure your massages are A grade! Babysitting the not so little 12 week Khaya, Vinny is quite capable of playing the older sibling. After we cuddled, squeezed, patted and contemplated adopting these 2, we went further into the kennels to walk some of the rescues.


We each walked 2 pooches. Every single of them was a walk in the park. The hardest part about walking them is that we’re unfit and walking in sand was a major work out for us. Other than that, what a delight. To see the joy on their faces was priceless and heart warming. Our only wish is that they could all find loving, caring homes where they’re treated with the love and affection they deserve and give out so freely. As tempted as we were to hand out the biscuits, we figured it would cause world war 3. We spoke to Mayanna and the other volunteers and asked if they would distribute it as and when they could. We’re there to help not cause further harm. All pooches have some form of behaviour training and are leash trained – making it easier for you to walk them after you’ve adopted a fur-child! After spending some time with the pooches, we went back to the front area where little Khaya (seen below) and Vinny were chilling. We played with them a little more, before saddling up our pockets and waists with as many carrots as possible.

Mayanna graciously showed us around and introduced us to all the horses. She told us about their backgrounds, some stories were absolutely horrific and yet many of these horses willingly walk up to you and accept carrots from you while others will walk behind you and try to mug you. Yes, obviously I was the one being mugged but it’s okay because in exchange for carrots I received many kisses. A pretty fair deal to me considering these graceful creatures were badly abused and distrusting of humans.

Once Mayanna had concluded introductions, we spent some solo time with the horses. Fed them carrots, massaged ears, rubbed heads and necks, tickled chins, avoided rib nibbles and bum pinches and just enjoyed their quirky personalities. Spending time with these animals and watching them live peacefully and in a safe environment is all possible thanks to people like Mayanna who struggle and fight every day to make an animal’s life better, to keep them safe, to feed them, to love them, to give them better than they had before. We knew some time ago that we would be visiting Dassenberg. Because we believe in this cause so much, we spoke to Morgenhof Wine Estate as well as Olive Grove Guest Farm about donations for this rescue.

These 2 fantastic establishments made generous donations. Morgenhof Wine Estate donated a case of wine while Olive Grove Guest Farm donated a 5L Olive Oil as well as an Olive Chutney and Olive Spread. The entire donation totals around R 1, 200.00. We plan to raffle off this donation and all proceeds will be given to the Dassenberg Horse Rescue Centre. Causes like these need our support. Every little bit helps whether it is a cash donation, a dog pellet donation, horse feed/lucerne or oathay donation, tick and flea treatment donation or even a deworming donation. There really is no donation too small.

As fantastic as donations are, first prize is adoption. All these precious creatures deserve a loving home. The saying adopt don’t shop can’t be stressed enough in this day and age. Just because an animal is from a rescue centre does not mean that there is something wrong with them or that they are lacking in any way. In fact, as rescue dog owners ourselves, rescue animals are even more appreciative of loving homes. Every single one of the animals at Dassenberg deserve a chance to live out the remainder of their lives in a happy, safe and loving home. If that isn’t possible, Mayanna needs help and support from us locals. In order for centres like hers to continue doing the amazing and fantastically selfless work that they do, they need assistance whether it’s monetary or in the form of volunteers giving up their time.

Give up a little of your time and spend it at Dassenberg. Take your friends or your children and make an animal’s day. They ask for so little. It’s our responsibility to ensure places like DHRC have the support and assistance they need to continue fighting for the welfare and safety of our animals. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at DHRC and will most definitely be back to volunteer. If we could, we would’ve taken them all home, dogs and horses. If you’re looking for a pet, pay them a visit. If you can’t adopt right now, volunteer or make a donation. Either way, the animals will appreciate it. See below for DHRC’s contact details or where to make a donation. Alternatively, contact us if you’d like to enter the raffle draw.


Dassenberg Horse Rescue Centre:

http://www.dhrc.org.za / mayanna@dhrc.org.za / +27 74 102 2121

To make a donation:

http://dhrc.payfast.co.za or on their JustGiving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/dhrc/


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