The generous spirit Brigitte Reeve-taylor
“We need to be a voice for animals and a source of compassion and respect.”
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.