Aberdeen’s animal welfare champion, Maureen MacAndrew, passed away on 14 March after a long battle with cancer.
Maureen and her husband Keith moved to Aberdeen in 2005 from Ladismith, where she had run the local branch of KAPS animal welfare organisation. She immediately became involved in similar work in Aberdeen, initially with her sister-in-law Lynn Holdt, and later founded the organisation CARE in 2014. Her compassion for sick and injured animals knew no bounds, and she would never refuse to help an animal in need.
Legally, only the SPCA has the power to remove animals that are being neglected or abused, but Maureen’s forceful personality and natural authority saved many animals from ill-treatment. She found homes for many unwanted dogs and cats, and if nobody else would take them, she kept them and looked after them herself. Most of her own dogs and cats were “inherited” when their owners either died or moved away.
She regularly organised for township dogs to be sterilised, working hard to raise funds for this through the charity shop and regular cake sales. No animal was ever refused treatment because the owner could not afford to pay.
Although she mainly helped dogs and cats, in the last year she helped rescue and rehome an orphaned donkey, and also was involved in the relocation of a monkey that had been kept as a pet to a sanctuary. The township donkeys did not escape her eagle eye, and were regularly checked and the owners educated if necessary.
Her kindness extended to all she came in contact with, and during the time she managed the Lemon and Lime coffee shop she was the cheerful face of Aberdeen remembered by many visitors and residents.
Despite her deteriorating health and pain in her last few months, she still worried about the local animals, and arranged for sick and injured pets to be taken to the vet when necessary.
A memorial service was held at the Methodist church in Aberdeen, where friends spoke movingly of how Maureen had impacted their lives. A sign of the respect in which she was held in the animal welfare community was seen by the attendance of representatives from both Camdeboo Veterinary Clinic and the Graaff-Reinet SPCA.
She will be deeply missed in Aberdeen. A group of animal lovers who assisted her in her work plan to carry on the work of CARE, in her memory.