As a global pet nutrition company, animals and their well-being are at the core of everything Royal Canin does. Having invested extensive resources in research and development aimed at improving the lives of pets across the globe, they are now using their knowledge and expertise in the hope of making the world a better place for even more of our four-legged friends.
The P.A.T. THE DOG initiative
Founded and headed up by Royal Canin associates, veterinarian Deborah Bain and marketing enthusiast Caitlin Bowden, the P.A.T. THE DOG initiative educates and empowers local communities about responsible pet ownership and provides them with the tools and resources they need to give their pets a healthy and happy life.
The focus is on disadvantaged communities, with much of the work taking place in Soweto, where they have partnered with the Soweto Animal Rescue and Advisory Centre (SARAC). Run by inspector Jerry Selwane, SARAC provides support and resources to the community in order to help its members better care for their animals. The centre also creates awareness in the community, educates its members around adoption and works to home and re-home animals in need in and around Soweto.
“At Royal Canin, we also believe that the future is in the hands of our youth and we need to educate the next generation of pet owners. We are especially committed to educating children and teens. As a part of the P.A.T THE DOG initiative we have written a children’s book, titled Lucky Lucy, which tells the story of Tsepho and Lerato and a wonderful dog named Lucy, whom they adopt from SARAC,” said Bowden. “The content speaks to responsible pet ownership principles and includes fun activities for children as well as useful contact information.”
Thanks to generous sponsors, 2 500 copies of this book have been printed to be freely distributed to children living in and around Soweto and the team plans on expanding to other areas in the future. The books are distributed in different ways, including visits to schools in developing communities, to host talks. These are age-appropriate talks are aimed at encouraging learning in a fun and practical way.
The goal for 2019 is to reach more than 10 000 children and in order to do this, they have enlisted the help of ‘Jerry’s Rangers’. These passionate young animal lovers are SARAC’s eyes and ears on the ground and they have been trained to conduct their own talks so that they can go back into their own communities and continue to build awareness at a grassroots level and increase the reach.
To supplement the P.A.T. THE DOG initiative, a group of dedicated Royal Canin associates have also started hand-crafting magnets and selling them online, with all proceeds going towards supporting the incredible work SARAC does. So far, through the sale of these hand-crafted magnets, they have managed to raise enough funds to cover the cost of feeding 70 dogs on a continuous basis. The project is expanding to a Soweto-based shelter for women, with the aim of providing these women with an additional income stream.
How can you help
There are a variety of ways – big and small – in which you can support the work of the P.A.T. THE DOG initiative and, as a consequence, SARAC. These include purchasing one of our handcrafted magnets and sponsoring the printing of a copy (or copies) of Lucky Lucy.
For more information, visit www.PATthedog.co.za
Finally, if you are looking to make a furry new addition to your family, please consider adopting and not shopping. There are a number of animals in need of loving homes that are available for adoption through SARAC.