Tribute to Max

Aug 2022 Hounds & Hooves

Confronted by the realities of poverty

Cheresa Bognar

Dassenberg Rescue Centre started out in 2000 in response to the desperate situation of horses in the Atlantis area.  In our work we are often confronted by the reality of poverty and what this means for communities and their animals.

This was recently brought home to us again when we were called out to respond to a dog in the Chatsworth area.

Like other rescue centres, our kennels are full to capacity and it’s not always possible to reach out to animals in need due to our own limited resources.

But what we saw in Max was indicative of so many of the tragedies that come with extreme poverty.  Lack of access to proper care leaves dogs unsterilized and vulnerable to STD’s.  Limited funds means that dogs aren’t getting the nutrition needed to sustain a healthy system and results in conditions like mange.  Desperation of money can also lead people to look to dog fighting as a way to supplement their meagre income.

A Tribute to Max

The greater gift!

When one sets out to rescue an animal, it’s easy to assume, that as the rescuer, that we have the most to give.

Our experience with Max turned the balance of giving completely on its head.  The lessons Max had to give us far out weighed the efforts we put in to him.

Max was an beautiful and gentle soul, that taught us it’s possible to let go of past hurts.

The terrible condition we found him in was evidence of abuse on so many levels, poor nutrition, physical abuse that left his hips permanently damaged and beyond repair, scars to his body that suggested possible dog fighting (at times for betting purposes in our poorest communities).

But Max bore no grudges against humans and showed us nothing but love and acceptance.  It is he that had the greater gift to offer.

Unfortunately,  Max’s injuries were too severe and we were advised that we would not be able to offer him a life free of crippling pain.

Max you touched our hearts and you are dearly missed.

Community Outreach Project

We are pleased to be able to report that our Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) programme is coming along slowly but steadily.

The feedback we’ve had from the Marian High learners that are benefiting from the programme is that they love being on our farm, they find it relaxing and calming to be around our dogs and horses.

Our farm manager, Cheresa Bognar, is a trained AAI therapist and we hope that our interventions will go some way to alleviating some of the stresses and trauma these learners have experienced.

We believe that the programme can introduce important life skills which can benefit these ‘at risk’ kids but also a broader audience.

We are keen to expand the programme to reach more people because we believe in the power of animals to heal broken souls.


Arizona is living her best life in Stellebosch.  We get so excited for all our animals that find their forever homes!

Our Partners

Change a life today

If you’d like to sponsor one of these rescue animals, please see our banking details:Bank: ABSA
Branch Code: 632005
Account Number: 4100624491
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ
REFERENCE: Your name and DonationFor any queries please contact

Sometimes, money can buy love.

You can lend a hand.