One of our Bridging Gaps volunteers Olivia from the UK, is currently lending her time and skills to assist a truly inspirational local organisation- The Underdog Project. We want to tell you a little more about the incredible work they do and the people and animals they help on a daily basis.
The Underdog project is an organisation based in Hout Bay, a beautiful town located on the Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape peninsula, about half an hour outside of Cape Town city centre. The Underdog project works closely with, and operates on the same site as DARG - The Domestic Animal Rescue Group. DARG is pro-life, non-profit organisation that rescues, cares for, sterilizes and re-homes previously abused, neglected and abandoned cats and dogs. DARG provides shelter for the animals it rescues and The Underdog project works closely with some of the rescued dogs who are looking for forever homes.
An integral aspect of the work staff and volunteers at The Underdog project do on a daily basis, is training the rescue dogs at DARG. The training that the dogs receive not only reduces kennel stress and helps them become more comfortable and happy in their temporary shelter, but it also helps prepare them for their new forever homes and accelerates the adoption process. The training helps the dogs overcome behavioural issues and their increased obedience makes them more attractive to families looking to adopt rescue dogs. The love and attention the dogs receive also helps them on their journey to trusting humans again after being neglected and sometimes abused in their previous lives in local townships. All it takes is a little love to get a dog’s tail wagging again!
Another incredibly important part of The Underdog project’s ethos and work is helping young people who come from very disadvantaged backgrounds, in their transition into adult life. This is achieved by assessing the social and emotional needs of at risk youths who reside in the informal settlements close to Hout Bay, and providing them with a safe and happy place to spend time in. The Underdog project invites young people who are not responding well to other extra murals, to spend time at DARG, training and playing with the dogs.
This animal assisted therapy helps the children in amazing ways; it builds their confidence, teaches them to respect and care for animals, teaches them responsible animal care which they can take back to and promote within their communities, improves their social interaction with adults, helps them gain a greater sense of control over their lives, helps decrease violent behaviour, improves their verbal communication and reduces anxiety. As well as this, the young people who spend time at The Underdog project, are invited to attend short life skills classes which address relevant issues in their lives.
We are in total awe of this incredible organisation and the staff that have dedicated their lives to helping at risk youth, local communities and rescued animals in Cape Town. You guys rock!
Please visit The Underdog Project’s website to find out how you can support this amazing organisation: Click here
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