Merry Christmas from Ark!

Christmas Wishes 2014 from Ark animal centre puppy shelter charity

Thanks to your support this year, our shelter has grown in leaps and bounds. We have worked hard on the shelter grounds to make them look beautiful, which our puppies and visitors are loving! We have also put in a lot of work into our administrative side, and this has improved tremendously and will continue to strengthen next year. We now have a Kennel Manager and Admin Officer who have joined our team. For us this is a true blessing.

We would like to thank our loyal supporters who unfailingly support us financially every single month through sponsorship of dogs and pups, MyPlanet card, SMS line and puppy food donations. To our wonderful vets, who are behind us 100%. To our social media followers, your support and encouragement is unwavering. To our volunteers – without you the shelter would not run. A thousand thank you’s to all of you.

We had big plans for 2014, most of which we managed to accomplish thanks to the efforts of many individuals, companies, schools and organisations. We are so appreciative and thankful, words really can’t describe how we feel.

For 2015 we have even bigger goals and dreams to fulfill, one of which is to get our Ark Sterilisation Clinic up and running and available to the public who are not in the position to sterilize their animals.

We wish all our Ark Angels a magical Christmas and New Year!

Mike and Candice’s Unique Wedding

Claire Gunn Photography Eilertsen Wedding Day 4 mike and candice eilertsen otto

Our Ark Angel, Candice was married to business entrepreneur Michael Eilertsen on 20th March 2013 in a beautiful event held at the Prynnsberg Manor in Clocolan, Freestate. The couple celebrated with close friends and family in a 5 day wedding celebration that was filmed by SABC 3’s Top Billing show.

Candice and her family started the Ark Animal Centre in July 2011. Later that year she started dating Mike Eilertsen, CEO of the LIVEOUTLOUD group of companies. Not long after that, Mike whisked Candice away on a surprise trip to Venice, Italy where he proposed on a gondola. The couple had wanted a very intimate wedding, with only very close friends and immediate family spending time together for 4 days before the big day.

Their view was that marriage is not just about two people uniting, but about two families joining in a celebration and creating memories that will bond each family member together. Every day was themed with different events and experiences taking place that would create talking points and memories for the future.

Day one was an Arabian themed evening, because the couple met at the Buddha Ta restaurant in Fourways. Guests sat outside in the Starlit Theatre, and watched a short film on the huge sandstone screen.

Claire Gunn Photography Eilertsen Wedding Day 1 (17) Claire Gunn Photography Eilertsen Wedding Day 1 (11)

Day two was a Wimbledon Whites Day with clay pigeon shooting, archery and croquet for everyone to enjoy. Later that evening was the exquisite Venetian Ball, where guests were dressed up in ball gowns and intricate masks.

Claire Gunn Photography Eilertsen Wedding Day 2 (24)

Claire Gunn Photography Eilertsen Wedding Day 2 (29)

Day 3 was the very amusing Bicycle Polo. There were many laughs as guests realised that it is a much harder sport than it seems. That evening was the rehearsal dinner where the bride and groom’s sisters all said a few words before the wedding.

bike polo michael and candice eilertsens wedding claire gunn photo top billing

Claire Gunn Photography Eilertsen Wedding Day 3 (13)

Day 4 was the spectacular wedding. Mike and his groomsmen looked dashing as they entered the ceremony with Conquest of Paradise playing, while Candice’s bridesmaids walked down the aisle to the substantial sounds of Vivaldi, Four Seasons Winter. As a true animal lover, Candice had her rescue dog, Lollipop and Mike’s half brother, Josh, walk down the aisle together. The bride and her dad, Alan Otto, walked very gracefully to the traditional Wedding March while guests looked on with their cameras clicking.

Claire Gunn Photography Eilertsen Wedding Day 4 (21)

Claire Gunn Photography Eilertsen Wedding Day 4 (31)

It was a magnificent day enjoyed by all, with a wonderful union of two families. The couple will be going on Honeymoon after the shelters move in May. We cannot wait to see more pictures!

Click here to watch the wedding insert from Top Billing!

Click here to read Mike Eilertsen’s blog

Below are a few photos from the day…

Wedding Suppliers:

Photography by Claire Gunn:

Wedding dress by Pronovias:

Make up by Cicilia Kaufmann:

Hair by Gary Rom Hair:

Bridesmaid dresses by Fascinating Julia:

Décor by Funxion Fusion:

Food by Moemas Catering:

Sound and lighting:

Tents by Timeless Tents:

Flowers by Salamander:

Venue at Prynnsberg Manor:

Wedding rings by Michaels Designs:

Suits by Euro Suits Rivonia:

Toby & Master a Township Love Story

toby and master township love story blog cover copy

You often hear of the horrible animal stories from the townships of South Africa, but you very rarely hear of a good story…well this is one of those. A story that gives hope and shines light on some special people living in Johannesburg’s informal settlements…

Wendy McWilliams, one of our fantastic volunteers had told us about Toby and his amazing dog. She brought Toby and Master to visit us on Sunday – and were we in for a treat.

Toby is the most amazing person, he is a security guard at a complex, lives in a shack in Kya Sands Informal Settlement and is an avid animal lover. His dog Master who he has had since he was a puppy and is now 5 years old, he has trained himself – with no formal training whatsoever.

toby and master township love story 003

This is how our meeting went. Toby arrived, I asked him if he needed his dog vaccinated – No, he is fully vacced, sterilised, de-wormed and rabied. Oh! So would you like help with basic training – No, Master is well versed in training, here is a demonstration.

Well after the basic sit, paw, down, we then moved onto tricks, fetch, stay, etc. For the first time that day I was in awe, I thought we could teach Toby, but no Toby has a lot to teach us. We then entered the shelter, I was a bit concerned, firstly with an adult dog entering into a pack of dogs who had been watching the goings on behind the gate and secondly with a few of the dogs being a bit racist.

toby and master township love story 001

Well! Toby and Master walked in quite casually and were greeted by all our dogs with absolute glee. Master was so well socialised and got on phenomenally with dogs and small puppies alike. Dolly who is racist went up to Toby and asked for love – all our mouths dropped open – this has never happened before. Toby has a way with dogs very rarely seen. He is absolutely gentle with them and they respond incredibly.

So why was Toby there? He would like to learn Tracking with Master and would also like to find out where he could do a formal course in Dog Training.

toby and master township love story 002

What we would like to do for Toby – Find a Tracking group in the Kya Sands vicinity, organise a course in Training and mostly if we could find a job for Toby working in the animal field, as we feel his talents are absolutely wasted in the field he is currently in.

If we could we would hire Toby in a second, but we can’t, so if anyone is looking for a fantastic employee please consider Toby, you will not be disappointed. If you would like to contact Toby, please let us know at and we will put you in touch with him.

Until next time,

Tracy Otto, Ark Animal Centre Manager.

SMS ‘Donate FOOD’ to 48748 & help us feed our rescued puppies! R10/sms.

Mr and Miss Pretoria Royalty 2012

The organiser of Mr and Miss Pretoria Royalty, Bianca van der Linden who is a true animal lover decided to make Ark Animal Centre the beneficiary of this amazing modelling competition. The competition was held at La Louise Wedding and Conference Centre in Akasia, Pretoria on the 2 December 2012.

Bianca van der Linden

Bianca van der Linden

The venue is absolutely beautiful and wherever you looked you saw the most beautiful models in stunning outfits. The event ran like clockwork and the organisation was exceptional. The organisers, the models and their families made me feel so welcome. Two of our pups accompanied me, Sweetie and Punch our Daschund x pups. They were thoroughly spoiled and had the time of their lives. They just loved all the attention they got and by the end of the afternoon were totally exhausted.

Unathi with Punch and Natalie with Sweetie

Unathi with Punch and Natalie with Sweetie

The models,  aged from 3 years up to over 19 years old were exceptional. I have attended various modelling competitions in the past and to be honest I was not expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this competition and thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon. The judges had their job cut out for them, as choosing the winners must have been exceptionally difficult as all the models were outstanding – all beautiful, dressed to kill and perfect in every which way.

Natasha Joubert with Sweetie

Natasha Joubert with Sweetie

They even had a Dads modelling competition which was hilarious. The dad that won auctioned his prize and donated the proceeds to Ark.

Some of the dog and puppy food donated

Some of the dog and puppy food donated

One of the categories was ‘Miss Kind Hearted’. The models all brought along food, blankets and toys – lots and lots! The amount of stuff was unbelievable. The model who won, little Natalie, donated a huge amount of Hills pellets, which to us is a luxury. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all the models who donated all these items. There was a lot of cat food donated as well which we will pass on to another welfare organisation who has lots of cats and kittens.

Miss Kind Hearted, Natalie with Tracy

Miss Kind Hearted, Natalie with Tracy

Thank you so much to Bianca, La Louise Wedding Venue, all the models and their families for your generous support and for welcoming us with open arms to this fantastic event.