A stray dog showed me purpose


Vanessa Martin’s heart shattered when she saw the stray dog outside her office. The creature was emaciated and alone. Martin couldn’t just stand by and began feeding her. But this puppy wasn’t the only one in need. The streets were filled with homeless dogs and cats. Martin started picking up strays on her way to work, hiding them in the toilet cubicles until she could take them home. But that wasn’t enough. After 21 years of working as an administrative clerk, Martin had a renewed sense of purpose. So she quit. “Now I’m doing what I was created to do: rescuing animals,” she says.

In 2016, Martin founded Mitchells Plain Animal Welfare. She works day and night tending to the strays in her community. “I’m not the only one that aspires to help animals,” Martin says. With a group of volunteers, Martin provides sterilisations and vaccinations. Residents can also bring their pets to be dipped and fed. Martin is fully committed to ensuring they are cared for. Her organisation doesn’t have a formal shelter yet, so Martin keeps rescues in her own house until they find their forever home. No dog or cat deserves to be left behind.

Martin’s dream is simple – open a sanctuary and sterilise as many strays as possible. Most of all, she hopes to create an environment that’s filled with compassion. “We’re so desensitised to suffering and it’s easy to turn a blind eye,” Martin says. Beyond the animals’ medical needs, she’s providing safety and care vital to their wellbeing. “To see these dogs and cats get the love they deserve makes me feel alive,” Martin says. Today, she lives with the assurance that she’s saving vulnerable creatures and uniting her community. With her boundless empathy, Martin brings out the best in humanity.