Youth Day walk brings love of dogs to disadvantaged children

The youth are invited by the Mdzananda Animal Clinic and Remnant Youth to walk animals at the Strandfontein Pavilion on Thursday June 16.

Two and four-legged friends will be strutting their stuff along the Strandfontein Pavilion this Youth Day.

On Thursday June 16, a Youth Dog Walk, hosted by Mdzananda Animal Clinic and Remnant Youth, will bring the love of dogs to children from difficult backgrounds.

“The event aims at bringing the youth of Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain together through the fun activity of walking dogs,” said fundraising and communications executive Marcelle du Plessis.

“Most of these children come from difficult backgrounds, many never having experienced love. The unconditional love of a four-legged friend is priceless,” she said.

The event addresses both animal and youth issues.

“In both communities, animals are often bred for protection, with children being taught to fear dogs. Here children will experience the kind, compassionate qualities of dogs – something many community children never experience in their home environments.

“At the same time they will learn about animal ownership and responsibility. The event provides a safe space for children from challenged backgrounds to spend a day, feeling like they have purpose in the world by doing good.”

Heidi May, the general manager at Mdzananda Animal Clinic, said that growing up with pets is linked to higher self-esteem, cognitive development, and social skills and this event is the first step towards that.

“At Mdzananda we’ve experienced that many children are the carers for the animals in the home. They befriend the animals, often being the only form of companionship and support in homes where there is violence. The animals give them a purpose,” she said.

Remnant Youth, the co-organiser of the event, creates events for youth to have a community where they feel safe while doing good in the world. They have helped at Mdzananda adoption days, have spent a week at the organisation bathing animals, have cooked meals for the elderly, and more.

Youngsters from outside of Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s plain are also invited. Children can bring their dogs along and enjoy a walk with an ocean view.

Entry is free for youth and R50 for adults, but they’re asking those who can, to sponsor a child from one of the disadvantaged communities to walk for R50. Donations are also welcome if walkers wish to donate to the organisations.