Fallen Angels is one of the biggest animal rescue centres in the Western Cape. “Shireen and I started the organisation in 2014 from our own houses, with approximately 30 dogs. Due to neighbours complaining, I decided that we couldn’t carry on this way, so I sold my house, bought land and we started building the Fallen Angels Rescue Haven. Every single building, Wendy house, fence, etc. on this farm has been donated.” Over the years, Fallen Angels has grown in leaps and bounds; therefore, they are continually finding ways to give homes to animals who deserve the love, care and attention Fallen Angels provides.
The ‘Fallen’ in Fallen Angels stands for Forgotten, Abandoned, Lonely, Lost, Emaciated and Neglected. And, of course, every animal is an angel. If any animal arrives, regardless of where the animal is from and falls within those categories, the staff at Fallen Angels will always go above and beyond to assist.
“We have managed to rehome approximately 350 animals a year. And the same amount, if not more, come through our doors in need of our help. We have amazing supporters who help us and a truly dedicated team of staff who live on the premises.” She says, “we try to give our animals a home away from home until we find their forever homes. Our dogs live in camps with each other. We do not have many solo dogs, only a few with issues from their past that we are working on. We are pro-quality of life, so we will never euthanise due to space, etc. We only euthanise on our vets’ recommendations if they feel the doggy is in pain or has injuries that will be too difficult for it to recover from. The vets who support us are amazing, often taking our animals to their very own homes and nursing them.”
How is Fallen Angels making a difference in the community?
Gayl says, “besides rescuing animals in need and getting them the medical treatment needed, emotional rehab and then rehoming them into fantastic homes, we believe very strongly in the education of the younger generations, so we work with a lot of schools, youth groups, churches and social workers.”
Fallen Angels wants people to come to the farm and interact with the animals. “If we can teach children all about animal care, we believe that animals’ futures will be brighter. We also believe very strongly in sterilisation. We hold monthly sterilisation days in Table View where we sterilise approximately 50 animals and at our vets throughout the month. We also do outreach where we go out into impoverished areas and feed, medicate and educate pet owners on what is needed for their animals’ health.”
What are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
Gayl and her team experience many ongoing challenges; however, their need for funds is essential. “Funds to maintain the farm, staff and current 350 rescued dogs, as well as funds for our vet bills. Food is also a constant challenge as we must make sure we have enough food for so many dogs. We are currently going through 160kgs of dry dog food daily.” Fallen Angels overcome these challenges through constant online presence – the posting of current dogs, new cases and vet bills to ask people to assist them. “We also have a team of ladies who assist with dog food donations via online requests, food collections, trolley collections and more.” Outside assistance has helped them tremendously.
What are your words of encouragement for those in need of hope?
“I honestly believe that one should never give up hope. By perseverance and dedication, you never know what you can achieve. We started Fallen Angels in 2014 with 30 dogs in our houses. At that time, if you had told me that we would be living on a 22-hectare farm with 350 animals, 17 staff members and over 43 000 people on our Facebook page alone, I would have never thought it would be possible.”
“Some days we see bad things and want to give up hope, especially in humans, but then people come to visit or support us. That makes such a difference to our dogs’ lives and show us that there are still many amazing people out there. We have grown from strength to strength and rely 100% on public donations. I’m not saying that some days aren’t hard, but you never know what is around the corner. Follow your passion. Make a difference, no matter how small you might think it is. One day, you will reap the rewards. Sometimes those rewards are more for your very own soul, but they make you a happier person. Everyone can do something; you just need to find your own path.”