The Tears Animal Rescue Sleepathon, now in its 10th year, started on Saturday, marking the beginning of three consecutive Saturdays of sleepovers with furry friends.
The fund-raiser supports Tears’ mobile clinic and veterinary outreach programmes, which are particularly vital during the December and January holidays, according to Lara van Rensburg, a spokeswoman for the organisation.
As of Saturday, Tears had raised just over R160 000 of its R500 000 fund-raising target, she said.
“Last year, we managed to raise R380 000. So, if we can achieve a similar amount this time, it would be a positive outcome. We certainly don’t want to fall short of that.”
Ms Van Rensburg said the veterinary hospital and outreach to poor communities served about 280 000 people.
The sleepathon has become a tradition for many, including Lindsay Dwyer, who is participating for the seventh consecutive year.
“We adopted our first dog from here 10 years ago, and since then, we’ve always chosen rescue dogs.
“Many people think about participating and wonder why they should. The answer is simple: it teaches a deep respect for animals. If you can bring your child along, it instils in them a profound appreciation and love for animals. It allows them to witness first-hand the number of animals in need and encourages them to reflect on what they have.”
This year, she has raised just over R30 000 for Tears.
Another regular, Michelle Coyne, told how she had formed a strong bond with an abandoned dog called Lolly during her first sleepathon in 2016.
“The morning after, when my husband came to fetch me, I shared Lolly’s story with him, and he said then we must take her home, and we did.”
Lolly became a cherished member of the Coyne family for five and a half years.
This year, Ms Coyne raised R21 000 for Tears.
Tickets for the remaining sleepathons on Saturday November 18 and 25 are available for R250 each which includes a meal, a goodie bag, and a night of furry companionship.
Participants are urged to take sleeping bags, camping gear, snacks, and treats. The event ends at 7am the next morning.
For more information, visit tears.org.za/sleepathon or email email@example.com.