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Lukhanyo Gala is nine years old. He lives in a rough shack with his mother, sister and brother in one of the poorest areas of Cape Town. Lukhanyo’s mom has cancer and is unable to work. She does her best for Lukhanyo with the tiny social benefit she gets, but the little family are dirt poor.

Lukhanyo is a hero. This tiny, ragged, barefoot child has made it his mission to seek out sick dogs in slum areas and see they get veterinary care. Each day after school, Lukhanyo wanders the narrow alleyways of dirty unwelcoming areas, looking for dogs in distress. When he finds one he walks to the nearby TEARS animal shelter who return with a rescue vehicle. Dozens of dogs, if not more, owe their lives to Lukhanyo.


Lukhanyo lives among people who were not brought up to love animals. The dogs who live there are at terrible risk, because for many residents, they are no more than an irritation, to be kicked and beaten. When trying to save a dog Lukhanyo was cursed and chased away.

Why does he do it? “I want to be a hero and help dogs,” he says. “Often when a dog is sick the people don’t care.” Then displaying wisdom beyond his years, he added, “I like dogs better than people.”

Lukhanyo can be sure of one thing. When he brings a sick stray dog to TEARS, we will make sure his act of love is repaid by restoring that dog to good health and hopefully to a family that will love and care for him.


Since TEARS became active in Masiphumelele animal health has significantly improved. TEARS is our partner and we regularly support them. Our latest donation went to buy medical equipment that will help with spay and neuter programs.

We can’t let a nine-year-old to be a hero alone, so please give generously so we can reach out to more suffering dogs in need.


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