The gen­er­ous spirit Brigitte Reeve-tay­lor

“We need to be a voice for an­i­mals and a source of compassion and re­spect.”

Glamour (South Africa) - - Glamour Health -

Dance teacher Brigitte ReeveTay­lor was driv­ing into Cape Town in 2011 when she saw a des­per­ate puppy on the road­side. “He had no fur and could hardly walk,” she re­calls. “And I just couldn’t leave him there – even though it took 90 min­utes to catch him, so that I could take him to the vet. I was happy to see him healed and later adopted by a friend, but I couldn’t stop think­ing about other vul­ner­a­ble dogs like him.”

And that was how Brigitte came to com­bine two of her great loves – dance and dogs – to estab­lish Dancers Love Dogs, a char­ity drive that funds ster­il­i­sa­tion pro­grammes which re­duce over­breed­ing, strays and suf­fer­ing.

“I’d put on a char­ity show for the Reach for a Dream Foun­da­tion in 2007, and an an­nual gala show seemed like a great way to go,” she ex­plains.

Brigitte’s com­mit­ment as well as 35 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the dance world proved to be an ir­re­sistible mix. Cape Town’s Artscape Theatre, 400 dancers, Com­puticket and even the poster print­ers gave their time, space and ser­vices for free. And three months later, the Dancers Love Dogs gala was a to­tal sell-out – and 600 dogs were ster­ilised as a re­sult.

In fact, it was all so suc­cess­ful that the next year’s per­for­mance was moved from the small theatre into the 1 400-seater opera house. And in the five years since its in­cep­tion, this an­nual event has raised R1.3 mil­lion and has funded 7 500 ster­il­i­sa­tions.

The drive has also ex­tended beyond Cape Town. “A dancer from our 2014 show vis­ited Leeu-gamke in the Ka­roo for a school trip, and when she saw the state of the dogs there, she asked me to help,” ex­plains Brigitte, who promptly called a friend who is a vet.

“She drove the 400km there and ster­ilised 300 dogs in three days. The com­mu­nity helped out with space to work in and trans­port, and the drive re­ally brought ev­ery­body to­gether.”

Brigitte’s aim now is to ex­tend the drive into other ar­eas that need ve­teri­nary care and to help an­i­mal wel­fare cen­tres with fundrais­ing.

“Ster­il­i­sa­tion is the start, and once we re­duce the num­ber of strays, we can tackle other prob­lems. We need to be a voice for an­i­mals and a source of compassion and re­spect,” she says.

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