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Charity: Marilyn Hoole

Contrary to its name, the animal rescue organisation TEARS is all about happiness and healing. And the fact that it succeeds brilliantly has a lot to do with its founder Marilyn Hoole.

Marilyn has always loved animals, and it was while she was volunteering at Cape Town’s Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG) that she and two friends, Emma Geary-Cooke and Joan Brown, came up with the idea of starting their own non-profit organisation. Sadly, Emma died in a car accident in December 1998, but Marilyn and Joan went ahead with the plans, launching The Emma Animals Rescue Society (TEARS) the following month. Often armed with just a pocketful of deworming tablets and bucket of dip, the two set about pursuing their passion – helping animals, making veterinary services available, and educating communities in underprivileged areas of the Western Cape.

In the 19 years since then, TEARS has grown to a staff complement of 50 people, with drives like mobile units, a clinic, and initiatives like the Feral Cat Project.

In the process, it has rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed 17 000 animals (4 500 were cared for and sterilised in 2016 alone). But the difference it has made is beyond numerical calculation.

“Of course, we would love to care for even more animals,” says Marilyn. “But we also understand that resources are limited and we can’t save the world. The comfort and inspiration lies in doing what we can. And I’m sure that our Emma is guiding and watching over us all along the way.”

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