Dean Bush is passionate about dogs. “I’ve been a dog-person my whole life. When I was a kid, I volunteered at dog-rescue centres. In the army I was a dog handler. Now I run an NGO that rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes greyhounds.”
Dean’s late father had a living annuity which is now managed by Chartered Wealth. “Right now I work in a business that imports and distributes a range of watch brands, but when I retire I plan to devote as much time as possible to rehabilitating greyhounds,” says Dean.
Extending a compassionate hand
Rescuing mistreated dogs is massive in South Africa. “There are thousands of dogs out there that are abused, sick, hungry and homeless. Some NGOs, like ours, are breed-specific, where the focus is on greyhounds, border collies or huskies, for example. Other organisations rescue any dogs they can, irrespective of the breed. Most NGOs are pro-life and do not euthanize the dogs. Organizations like the SPCA run pounds but are not able to rehome all the dogs they get and often have to put them down.”
Why greyhounds? “They are a wonderful, pure breed, friendly, calm and loving. Internationally, greyhound racing has become a massive problem, associated with gambling, vice and criminal activities. Inevitably, the dogs suffer on a massive scale. Fortunately, such racing is banned in South Africa.”
But there is an underlying reason why greyhounds race. “They are extremely swift and what we call sight-hunters,” explains Dean. “By their nature, they will chase things that they see running away. In racing, there is a hare that they chase round and round the racecourse. They are literally ‘hunting’ something they see running away from them. In South Africa, this has evolved into an entirely different, and equally evil, practice – hunting.”
Illegal hunting using greyhounds is rife in this country. Owners take their dogs out of the city and illegally go onto farms and other open areas, where dogs will hunt rabbits, duiker, steenbok and even porcupines. “It’s a terrible activity. Usually gambling is involved and once the dogs get old, slow or injured, they are of no use to their owners. That’s where Greyhound Welfare South Africa comes in. We rescue these dogs from their various circumstances and through other welfare organisations. We house them, neuter them, vaccinate and heal their wounds and illnesses. Then we rehome them to suitable families. Over the five years of our existence I guess we have saved as many as 250 dogs.”
Greyhound Welfare South Africa has several key partners. “Saints Animal Charity is a charity shop in North Riding. They sell donated items to the public and support ten beneficiaries, including us. Then there is a wonderful organization called CLAW – Community Led Animal Welfare – that works in the impoverished Durban Deep area close to Johannesburg (http://clawsa.wixsite.com/claw or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clawsouthafrica). Cora Bailey of CLAW is famous in that area and she helps the people and the dogs.”
For Dean, saving animals is a calling. “It’s time-consuming and we usually don’t have enough money for the vets’ bills. Right now I have a number of dogs at my house waiting for new homes. I can’t wait until I am able to do this full time. That’s where Chartered Wealth plays a role. Oh, and apart from the dogs at home, I have a number of parrots. I rescue them as well.”
Several dozen greyhounds and umpteen parrots….must be a busy (and noisy) house.