Local Hero finalist Ben Rexana looking after neglected animals and getting children to follow his example
Things are looking up for Mdantsane’s dogs
Starting out feeding two dogs in his area in 2019, Mdantsane resident Ben Rexana has made it his mission to care for and feed neglected and stray dogs and he is teaching youngsters to do the same.
The 2018 Daily Dispatch and Johnson & Johnson Local Hero finalist — who was honoured for his work in giving children in his community dance lessons and keeping them off the streets — has continued to put effort, time and heart into bettering his community.
Rexana, who still teaches dance to youngsters in Mdantsane, rides through the streets on his bicycle and trailer bringing dog food, deworming tablets and more to animals in need almost every day.
“I started with two dogs in my area that were neglected.
“They always came to my house to sleep outside my gate.
“One owner didn’t want the dog any more and the other owner was not feeding it.
“I then asked myself how many dogs were suffering like these two and I took it from there,” said Rexana, who has six of his own dogs.
Making his way through the streets for a few hours up to five days a week, Rexana started involving some of his dance students in his new project, K9 Care, in 2020.
“I’m doing it because they [ the dogs] can’t speak for themselves.
“I try to teach young kids about caring for animals and I educate owners sometimes as well,” Rexana, who relies solely on donations from the public and other organisations, said.
He said he could not do this work without the assistance of many East London residents and fellow organisations including the SPCA, The Buckaroo project, 2020 local hero finalist Sue Kietzmann of the Hilltop Animal Outreach and 2018 Local Hero Finalist Mike Webb (The Pink Fairy).
“Ben is one special human being,” Hilltop’s Jenny Krause-Kietzmann said.
“That man gives with his whole heart.
“The difference he is making to those dogs.
“The education of the young kids about caring for animals.
“Hilltop has such respect for Ben.”
The organisation has assisted Rexana by supplying deworming, mange and general medication for the dogs he feeds around Mdantsane and has also donated dog food to help Rexana continue his work.
“Would love to see a clinic that can support his initiative and provide a vaccination and sterilisation programme,” Krause-Kietzmann said.
“He has asked us to assist with a sterilisation drive, but it always comes down to funding.”
Over the past two weeks, Mike Webb, also known as The Pink Fairy, has collected more than R2,000 worth of dog food for Rexana and hopes to be able to support him in future.
Webb also assisted Rexana with an outreach/ educational day in Mdantsane at the weekend.
“I’m also trying to use my social media platforms just to get him a little more exposure and it’s working quite nicely,” he said.
“That was the main thing — to try to get more exposure for him because what he is doing is really fantastic.”
Webb has also assisted 2019 local hero finalist Tessa van Heerden, or The Furry Godmother, in the past.
“It’s local heroes helping local heroes I suppose,” Webb quipped.
“It’s just worked out that way because these people are doing brilliant work and I help where I can.”
Rexana said he couldn’t stand seeing an animal hurting and hoped his work was making a difference to them and his community.
“I just love seeing furbabies happy and now even the kids in my community started caring and they come to my house to ask me when we are going to feed the dogs if I take too long,” Rexana said.
He thanked everyone who had helped him so far and said if anyone wanted to donate dog food, the Sasol Chiselhurst garage in Selborne had a dedicated drop-off point for K9 Care.
“People can also help by donating treatment for mange because most of the dogs have it, as well as biliary and deworming medication,” he said.
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