Greeted by wagging tails and wet kisses, 55 enthusiastic Medihelpers needed no invitation to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand to clean the animal enclosures at Wollies Animal Shelter in Pretoria North on 21 July 2023. This initiative forms part of the medical scheme’s corporate social investment programme.
Medihelp also donated 1 545kg of dog and cat food, and money towards building 10 mini wooden houses where the animals can snuggle up together. Volunteers brought 100 fleece blankets to keep the animals warm during the cold winter nights, and as an extra treat, took some dogs on a 2.5km walk on the Wollies premises.
As a responsible corporate citizen, Medihelp introduced its social and ethics strategy in 2022, and staff members could identify various charities of their choice. Wollies was a firm favourite.
The shelter opened its doors on 29 May 2013 with only a handful of cats and dogs. They registered as a non-profit and pro-life organisation, meaning that abandoned, neglected, and abused animals will stay with them until they find their forever homes. Today, they care for 700 dogs, 400 cats, two donkeys and 20 rabbits.
“The abandoned are happy, and their roads are paved with love, care, and food while they stay with us,” remarked Cilla Trexler, owner of Wollies.
According to Johan Viljoen, acting principal officer of Medihelp, initiatives such as these create a positive and lasting impact on communities and the broader society. “When we lend a helping hand, we have a deeper understanding of the unique needs of others. This also applies in our work environment, where we promote a culture of service aligned with our values to lead, act and care,” Johan concluded.