‘Fur-babies deserve to be loved, spoilt’

Bailey and Buddy at their 3rd birthday party. Picture: Supplied

Bailey and Buddy at their 3rd birthday party. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 28, 2024


FROM matching, custom-made outfits, to birthday celebrations and holidays, for many animal lovers, their ‘fur-babies’ are not just pets, but members of their family.

Kuvanya Naidoo, of Phoenix, said her three-year-old Labradors, Bailey and Buddy celebrated every occasion with the family.

“If we are dressing up, so are they. I include my fur-babies in every occasion from Valentine's Day, Easter, Diwali, Christmas, to the recent Rugby World Cup, and most importantly their birthday.

“Their birthdays have been themed every year. For their first birthday they had a rainbow party. Their second birthday was Mickey and Minnie themed. On April 5, we celebrated their third birthday which was safari-themed,” she said.

Kuvanya Naidoo with her Labradors Bailey and Buddy.

Naidoo said she first brought the duo home at just over eight weeks.

“It all happened so quickly and we actually didn’t plan on getting any more pets after the loss of our previous beloved dogs. However, as a family we had gone through a loss at the time, and both my mother and I needed that extra warmth and comfort.

“My mother had been chatting to a friend, who sent her pictures of Bailey, who was the last girl in the litter. We instantly fell in love when we saw her picture. My mother, my fiancé and I went to collect her. However, Buddy – a male - stole my fiancé's heart and we begged my mother to get him too. So here we are now, with two of the best fur-babies,” she said.

Naidoo said spoiling her dogs brought a sense of fulfilment to her and her family.

“I would say most people are quick to remark at the extremes of a dog party, and to involve them in every occasion. However, in doing these ‘little’ things for them, they definitely acknowledge and reciprocate the love they receive. They are always ready for pictures and to smile, and are just as excited as I am to dress up,” she said.

Naidoo described Bailey as a “boss of the home”, and Buddy as the “sweetest boy”.

“Without a doubt they are more than just pets. As cliché as it may be, they are family. The love and warmth they give is like no other. After a long and hard day at work, their wagging tails and gentle kisses are all you need to remember what is most important in life.

“Furthermore, on a daily basis they teach us as humans to do better and to be better, that we can love each other unknowingly and that there is nothing a good nap can’t fix,” she said.

Naidoo added that by taking an animal home, it is also a promise you make to them that you will be there in good times and bad, in sickness and health, until they cross the rainbow.

“It is important to remember that we as humans have family, friends, or colleagues, but your pet only has you. So why not make their time on earth as wonderful as can be and so that they never have to feel alone,” she said.

Shabnum Moosa, of Musgrave, said she loved dressing up her pedigree cat, Tiara Artekatz Darjeeling Moosa, a three-and-a-half- year old Siberian.

She said for Eid, she custom-made Tiara a blue dress to match her own.

“Making her a dress for Eid was a spur of the moment idea. However, Tiara was really cute while I made her outfit. She allowed me to do fittings and I actually stored her dress in catnip to make it more enticing to her.

“However, cats are moody and you cannot tell them what to do. She did not want to wear her dress on the day of Eid for her photo-shoot, but pranced around the house in her dress the next day,” she said.

Moosa said she was on a waiting list for two-years before bringing Tiara home.

“At first I was looking for a Maine Coon, but the local breeder was not very helpful. In 2018, for my birthday, I visited the Cat Cafe, where I got to interact with Siberians. I got to learn more about the breed and fell in love with them.

“I was on the waiting list for Tiara as I was specific about the breed, sex and colour of the cat that I wanted. She was flown to me from her breeder, who was based in Johannesburg via air freight when she turned three-months-old. She is a pedigree cat so they only allow them to go out when neutered,” she said.

Moosa said Siberians were highly intelligent, very good at problem-solving games, love to follow around the house and play fetch.

Tiara the Siberian. Picture: Supplied

“Tiara is also very affectionate, loves giving kisses and is friendly with other animals and people. She is also an escape artist, always looking for a way to go outside.

“Tiara is part of the family, loved by everyone, as well as treated and spoiled like a baby. She is also very intuitive and picks up on emotions,” she said.

Moosa said before getting a pet, it was important to ensure that you are able to provide for them, both emotionally and financially.

“Having a pet is like having a child. It is a long-term commitment, and very costly if you choose to feed them the correct diet. There are also vet visits and grooming. They also need to be given lots of love and attention, which is vital. However, the love you get in return is unconditional and worth it. You should not get a pet if you can't commit or afford one.” she said.

Evashnie Govender, of Cape Town, said her three-and-half year old Goldendoodle, Jasmine, or ‘Jazz’ for short, has brought her family comfort and joy, especially after the loss of their beloved dog of 17 years.

Govender said she and her family, with whom Jasmine lives in Yellowwood Park, rescued her at just two-months-old.

“We decided to get Jasmine after hearing about the poor condition she and her siblings were living in on property in Chatsworth. They had no homes, and it was clear they needed urgent help.

“My family and I were initially hesitant about getting another dog after losing our beloved dog, Peanut, but the circumstances for Jasmine were dire. When we first saw Jasmine, she was in a terrible state and had to be rescued.

“We also knew that by taking her in, we could provide her with the love and care she deserved. Jasmine quickly became a cherished member of our family,” she said.

Govender said they ensure to include her in every occasion, including throwing her birthday parties and taking her on holiday.

“Hindus believe dogs are sacred animals that guard the doors of heaven and hell, and may represent our past life and affinities once we are reincarnated. Furthermore, dogs are loyal companions who provide comfort and support.

Govender said apart from the birthday parties and dressing up in custom-made outfits, Jasmine gets to visit her in Cape Town, where they get to do fun activities.

“She enjoys spending time with me on the beach, going on hikes and spending time at the dog park. We also visit dog-friendly restaurants.We try our best to make sure she gets a holiday in between Durban, Pretoria and Cape Town, as often as possible,” she said.

Govender said Jasmine, who has her own Facebook and Instagram pages, has captured the hearts of many.

“Since Jasmine came into our life, she was instantly loved and became popular as we posted pictures of her adventures on the social media platforms. We also entered her competitions, and she even won a photo-shoot for a furniture company. We were also approached for her to do advertisements for stores and products, and she is an ambassador for an International pet food brand,” she said.

Govender said while Jasmine was a “feisty furball’, she was also sensitive.

She added that getting a pet was a life-long commitment.

Jasmine on the beach. Picture: Supplied

“It should not be taken lightly. Dogs and other pets have feelings and emotions. As humans, we have a responsibility to care for their safety and well-being as we would for our children. When you bring a pet into your life, you are entering into a contract for about 15 years or more, depending on the animal.

“It is important to ask yourself if you are truly willing to take on this responsibility and provide the pet with a safe, loving environment, “ she said.

Govender said there were many animals in need of homes.

“I always encourage adoption as there are many needy animals in shelters who would thrive in a loving home. Adopting can bring unexpected joy and blessings into your life while giving an animal a second chance at happiness.

“Jasmine serves as an ambassador for rescue efforts and animals in distress. Most of the prizes and gifts she receives are donated to other animals in need. Dog influencers like Jasmine raise awareness and help improve the lives of these furry friends. It is disheartening to witness the extent of cruelty in the world, especially since dogs depend on humans for their survival,” she said.