28 September - “Who let the dogs out? Jerry! Jerry!” The South African team from global company, Elanco Animal Health will team up with Jerry Selwane and his rangers at the Soweto Animal Rescue and Advisory Centre (SARAC) as part of one of the largest single-day corporate volunteer programs in the world. The company has a worldwide goal to invest 200 000 volunteer hours in cause-related efforts between 2014 and 2020. This year the Midrand-based team will roll up their sleeves to wash, repair and paint dog kennels as well as the most important job of all – letting the dogs out for a walk and giving them some much needed TLC.
If you listen to the 947 Xpress Drive on your radio on Friday afternoons, you’ll know that local Jerry Selwane has gained huge popularity as the man with a big heart, an infectious laugh and a love for saving and protecting homeless dogs. The former SPCA inspector runs his own animal rehabilitation centre, SARAC, from his Zuurbekom home, South of Johannesburg, which he established in 2011. “Jerry is a natural ambassador for making a difference in his community,” says Andre Westerveld, Regional Director of Elanco Animal Health South Africa. “We couldn’t help but be drawn to his enthusiasm and the value of his community service – we are honoured to partner with him for the South African leg of our Global Day of Service which happens simultaneously in over 65 countries with our parent company, Eli-Lilly on a specific day each year.”
Jerry himself is a great advocate for giving back through education and prosecuting those who disregard animal rights. He teaches young people about animal care – they are known as ‘Jerry’s Rangers’ and they keep an eye out for lost and neglected animals in their communities. For their efforts in reporting animal neglect and abuse, the Rangers are rewarded with colouring books, pens and pencils. Jerry’s dream is to turn a part of his home into a fully-fledged animal clinic, while continuing with his plans to run a mobile clinic so that he can take his work to communities in and around Soweto. His rescue centre is committed not only to rehabilitating and re-homing animals, but to finding a match between each animal and their new family. They take into account the breed of the dog, the background, temperament and personality, and try to find them the most suitable environment.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. These words are on SARACs website and resonate with Elanco’s company culture to give back. Because the business develops and markets products to improve companion animal health, this match with Jerry and SARAC is perfect. “Whether it’s about beautifying city streets, collecting food or building homes for families in need, we take pride in giving back to the neighbourhoods where we work, live, and play,” says Andre. Internationally employees are even provided with a half-day per quarter of paid time off to serve their communities in a cause that aligns to their personal interests.