Submitted By:  Jade Dickson

You ask me why #ImStaying and I am telling you that it is because there is a need.  Everyone knows that it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside when you know that you are needed.  I am needed by all the domesticated animals of South Africa and how do I know that? Because animals cannot speak for themselves and require looking after – they rely on us humans to do those things for them.  Since I cannot contain my love for animals (especially dogs) the only way that I know how is to help and fill the need. My name is Jade Dickson, I am 19 years old and living in Edenvale, Gauteng. 

‘The difference starts with you’

While I was still in high school word started spreading in the community about my passion for animals and my willingness to help.  I started getting involved in the rescue of dogs, being taught how abandoned dogs are found and rescued, how to handle them, and how to get them adopted and rehomed.  During my time helping with rescues I became aware of the huge need that shelters have for assistance. I learned how to source the neediest shelters and how to organize Blanket and Food Drives.

The donations started rolling in

At the age of 16 I did my first Blanket Drive for shelter dogs and with the help of my mom, Gail Dickson, we collected ±300 blankets.  After the success of our Blanket Drive in 2016 we decided to try out a Food Drive in 2017. Friends and family came together and were baking and selling dozens and dozens of doughnuts.  Everyone was spreading the word about the Food Drive and asking for donations. The donations started rolling in and after 3 months we had over 250 bags of dog food and ±100 bags of cat food which we could distribute to around 12 shelters in Cape Town and Gauteng.

In 2019 I decided that it was time for a BIG Food Drive, and I set the drives’ goal at R30,000.  Again, the Food Drive would run for 3 months from 1 July to 30 September. This time around we also had auctions to help with raisings funds for the shelter pets in need.  Driving a Food Drive might not sound like a lot of work, but trust me, encouraging people to donate requires a certain set of skills. You can never give up! Sometimes you even need to be a little bit pushy to get what you want, and you must always remind yourself, and others, that you have a goal to reach!

Dogs make great friends

Soon my mother’s dining room, lounge, and kitchen started looking like a dog food storage facility.  

The 2019 Food Drive grew beyond our expectations!  My mom and some good friends assisted me with the drive and people from all over South Africa started donating, as well as numerous companies getting on board with donations.  Soon my mother’s dining room, lounge, and kitchen started looking like a dog food storage facility. At the end of September, which marked the end of the 2019 Food Drive, we had collected dog and cat food to the value of ±R19,000 and a whopping ±R21,000 in money donations.  I would say that we more than reached our goal!!! With the money donations we bought more dog food and were assisted by a dog food company that sold us the food at a tremendous price – thank you again to them. We managed to help ±15 shelters in Cape Town and Gauteng with food. 

South African people have goodness of character and are willing to lend a helping hand to a good cause.

‘The difference starts with you’ is what they say.  I had the idea to help where help was needed. I might have taken the initiative and started the drive, but if it was not for all the good-hearted South African people who donated to my drives, they would never have been a success.  As per the words of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: “Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.” 

That is why I am staying – because South African people have goodness of character and are willing to lend a helping hand to a good cause.


Edited By: Maggie Wolfe Miller

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