Aug 14, 2009

Thabo Is For Happiness

It was a normal Saturday evening and although everybody was winding down after a good day’s work there was still a feeling of expectancy in the air. The reason being, we were all awaiting the arrival of a day old White Rhino who had been rejected by his mother after birth.

This little baby was coming from far away and he had a very long tiring trip to make before he would arrive here at the Moholoholo Animal Rehab Centre. Finally just after 10pm we received a call from the gate, our little rhino was finally here! The students gathered round as the vehicle pulled in and we all waited with baited breath to see this little bundle. Oh, what a delight to behold! For those who have only seen the much larger versions in the game parks or on TV, a baby rhino is the sweetest sight, enough to melt your heart!
Once we had transferred him into the clinic we allowed him to walk to his room. He looked so cute as he wobbled down the passage on his ungainly rounded feet, hesitant in his new surroundings. His “mommy”, a little blonde girl, lead him to the room that had been prepared and helped him settle into his warm room where he would stay until he would be strong enough to venture outside.

After a quick check-over he was then left to become acquainted with his new “mommies”. Baby rhinos require feeding every two hours throughout the day and usually stay by their mother’s side until they are about 2 ½ years old. This means that there must be someone for the baby to bond with and be by its side every hour of every day and night (and let it be known that a baby rhino can kick up quite a fuss when he looses sight of his “mommy”!). After much deliberation a name was settled on…. Our newest addition was to be called Thabo. “Why Thabo you ask?” Well, Thabo means “Happiness” in si-Sotho and this wriggling, mewing, rosy-tinted baby had won over everybody with just a single look from his big round eyes to his clumsy round feet! One could not help but have a smile on your face when you saw him cavorting around.

But as always happens……… when life does not take its natural course, problems arise. After a few days Thabo’s tummy stopped working and there was no signs of any bowel movements. As the days passed we became more and more worried. After check-ups from the vet and being on various courses of medication and treatments, 4 weeks later, Thabo still has us all completely and utterly mystified! Surely after all this time of not passing any dung, Thabo would be in a terrible state – right? Well this is not the case. Although he is weak, he still demands his food at every feeding time and runs around the gardens with crazy bursts of energy and generally carries on as if everything is perfectly in order! Despite this we are all gravely worried about his condition and are beginning to wonder how long it can last. He is under constant surveillance and every possible treatment is being tried to rectify this uncomfortable affliction.

We are so very proud of and grateful for the dedicated volunteers who have stepped in to fill the very big “shoes” of a Rhino parent! A great deal of their time is often spent in uncomfortable situations and we would just like to say thank-you for your passion and commitment!

Aug 3, 2009

Reach for the Moon and Touch a Star

Everyone has a dream that burns inside of them, a wish that whispers to your heart…“If I could only!”
We have been fortunate to share in these unforgettable moments when we have had the opportunity to help. We would like to share one such child’s moment.Some people never get a chance to realize these dreams and all too often they get left on the roadside of the highway called Life. Other people strive to fulfill these dreams but are not always given enough time to attain them on their own. This is where foundations such as “Make a Wish” step in to take hold of the reigns and steer you towards your dream.

Not very long ago we received a visit from a very special little boy named Menno from Holland. Menno has had a life long passion for Cheetah and one of his dreams was to be able to stroke one. There are not normally many opportunities presented in life that would allow one to come into close quarters with a cheetah, let alone be able to stroke one. This is especially so when you are all of 10 years old! Menno is a cheerful boy with a big smile and twinkling blue eyes who is suffering from bone and lung cancer. When he arrived at Moholoholo, Menno was taken on a tour and was shown some of the animals we have at the centre. He was introduced to our various Vultures, Owls and Eagles. including Dassies, Rhinos, Servals, Leopards and Lions.

Then it was time for the crowning moment…. Menno was taken to meet ‘Shinandi’ one of our resident cheetah. With a sweet face and an even sweeter nature Shinandi greeted Menno with her rumbling purr. Menno was able to stroke and love Shinandi and experience a special moment which is something amazing. Shinandi reciprocated with a lick of the hand seemed to be just as fascinated with Menno as he was by her.

Menno’s father – Paulus was also in for a treat! It was time to feed the Wild dogs and a helper was needed! The excited chatter of the wild dogs filled the air as they knew that they were getting food. To get so close to these mottled animals is something in itself and to see them leaping in the air is a spectacle to remember! The moment that stole the show for us was to hear Menno exclaim that: “This was the happiest day of my life!”

To see the joy in those eyes and expressions of wonderment on his face, makes us so humble and realize how appreciative we should be of everything whether great or small in our lives.On this day we learnt that the tiniest people can teach us the biggest lessons! Never give up on what you believe in and always strive catching a hold of your dreams. Life is what you make of it so live it to the full!

Menno, we would all like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to share in your dreams and allowing us to be a part of this wonderful experience.