Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Hillside Haven - You Can Help

My friend Kieran is running the Two Oceans Half Marathon ( ) and has taken the opportunity to raise money for Hillside Haven, who care for disabled animals. ( )

Please donate on this link: and help her to raise funds for this worthy cause.

If your company is interested in providing Corporate Sponsorship directly to Hillside Haven, please follow this link:

For those of you who prescribe to alternate methods of healing, here is an interesting article about how they treat the sick or injured animals at Hillside Haven:

Thanks everyone,

Sandy Bigara

New Pet Advice

A bit of friendly advice from Veterinary Surgeon Dr Margaret Roos:


  1. When acquiring a new pet, take it to your vet for a check-up and advice.
  2. Unless you want to become a registered "breeder" of dogs and cats, the spaying of a female is essential between 3 – 5 months.
  3. The normal temperature of dogs and cats is 38'C – 39'C
  4. Puppies and Kittens get their permanent teeth from the age of 4 – 6 months.
  5. General cleanliness and hygiene is essential.
  6. Consult your vet for advice to curb ticks and fleas, and for regular de-worming for hook worm, tape worm and round worm. 
    Not an actual photo of Dr. Roos.
·         At the age of 6 – 10 weeks, puppies and kittens should receive their first inoculations which MUST be accompanied by a valid Certificate signed by a Veterinarian.

·         An inoculation program for your pet will then be discussed with you by your Veterinarian.

·         The inoculation against rabies is separate from those against the various dog and cat diseases.

·         The rabies inoculation is compulsory, as this disease is transmissible and fatal to human beings. In South Africa this inoculation is offered free of charge by the State Vet Dept. Dogs and cats should receive their first rabies inoculation at 2 – 4 months.

For further information consult your Vet.

 A big thank you to Dr. Roos who showed my little cat and I such respect and care today. If you are a pet owner and live in the Durban North area, and your pet needs some good old fashioned Veterinary care:

Ebenezer Veterinary Consulting Room
*By Appointment Only*
Dr. DR. Margaret Roos BV.Sc
62A Soofie Saheb Drive
Durban North
Tel: 0315645027 / 031 5638023
Fax: 086 509 6883

Let's look after our pets people.

Sandy Bigara

Monday, 27 February 2012

Kitten Action / SpaySA Update

After emails, sms's, phone calls, blog posts, hellopeter complaints etc etc we finally have a response.

Via email, reply to 23 Feb email below:
"You dont give a name so, among the huge pile of SpaySA applications that are being processed,
it is pretty difficult to reply..." (My name and often my Cell phone number were at the bottom of the emails, which were part of an email chat history.)

And after I reminded her that we want a refund:
"I had already made the payment for Skeddi to be spayed before I received this email..."


Why is it that Payment took place before the 10th February, and we had to fight to receive any kind of communication by the 23rd/24th Feb? I sent a "friendly reminder" for refund at 7am Monday 27th Feb.


Let this lesson be learned: Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Whether you are a charitable organisation, a NGO, NPO, Church group, CSI project or standard service provider - COMMUNICATE!

If Kitten Action SpaySA's Mandy had just replied via sms or email as she had been doing before payment - there would have been no problem. When a customer makes payment and then feels the need to email/facebook the following, there is a service delivery process issue that needs to be monitored/addressed:

"My Husband made payment this week...
...How long before she has the op? I'm stressing that she'll fall pregnant." 10 Feb 2012 (No Reply)

"Hi Mandy, I've emailed proof of payment and the Spay form through but have had no reply. Please let me know what the next step is?" Kitten Action Fan Page Wall - FACEBOOK - 17 February (No Reply)

"Still no reply from 10 Feb since we made payment. Please reply or refund the R485 by tomorrow, thank you. We need to have our kitten spayed now." Kitten Action Fan Page Wall - FACEBOOK - 23 February (No Reply)

"I made payment of R485 and emailed forms to you on the 10th February (2 weeks ago now) and have not heard back from you via sms or email.
I have emailed repeatedly, sms'd and called and now I feel quite lost.
I have also asked (a friend) to investigate, and you put the phone down on (her).
Please reply to me via email/sms or call before tomorrow or I will have to take this further. I made use of your SpaySA offer because I genuinely need help. If you are unable to assist then please refund asap. So that I am not stuck with a litter of Kittens.
My number is..." 23 Feb 2012

"Just a friendly reminder that we would like the amount of R485 refunded as soon as possible. We do not feel comfortable using Kitten Action SpaySA." 27 Feb 2012


I went from hopeful/thankful/grateful for the service offered to worried, stressed, concerned and fearful that we'd been robbed - for two weeks! That's 14 days of worry and 14 nights lying in bed stressing that my cat would get pregnant.

I also provide free service to people in need, but, I treat them with equal respect and give them full service. The feeling that I got when there finally was communication this weekend was, "we're helping you with a discount so shut up and just be grateful we're even bothering."

Communication is key to having happy clients - whether they be "freebies", "discountee's" or full paying clientelle. In our modern age of Facebook, Cellphones and Email there is absolutely zero excuse for not keeping in touch when someone has purchased a service from you... Especially when you have been communicative *before* payment and fall silent once payment has been made.

Was I expecting too much? Was a quick sms or email reply saying: "Payment received! Should be a week or two." too much to ask?

Sandy Bigara

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Behaving Fraudulently: Kitten Action and SpaySA

A few weeks back I made the good decision to sterilize my kitten, and
as I did not have the funds available for it, I approached a good
charitable organisation called Kitten Action SpaySA to do it at a
discounted rate.

We made payment after a week or so of emailing and sms'ing back and
forth and then... we sat and waited... and waited... for almost two
weeks now... "and await SpaySA's letter of confirmation and qualifying
coupon to enable me to arrange to get my pet sterilised."

The organiser/volunteer Mandy has consistently 'not' answered both
land line and cell phone, has put the phone down on a friend of mine
inquiring about our money. Emails, Facebook messages, wall posts,
inbox messages, voice mails and sms's go unanswered.

I am now unwilling to place my beloved pet in the hands of someone who
cannot deal with me honestly, I do want a refund... and an
explanation. Will I get one?


Please forward the following link to any animal organisations, this
behaviour tarnishes all efforts by honest PNO's and NGO's out there.


I am now completely stressed out, and worried that my cat will have an
unwanted set of kittens. Something that I tried very hard to avoid.

Sandy Bigara

Monday, 13 February 2012

Cyclone Over Madagascar

While the world is focussed on Grammy's, Adele's healed voice and the loss of a music icon, there is a massive deadly cyclone headed to Madagascar. It is feared that many lives will be lost.

More information:

Sandy Bigara

Poltergeist Activity

After years of weird experiences too many to mention, I am now over it.

Your thoughts?

Sandy Bigara

Adele and the Grammy's

British R&B singer Adele was in seventh heaven at the Grammy Awards, the 54th awards, staged Sunday in Los Angeles. Adele won all six categories in which she was nominated. She sang for the first time since having vocal surgery in October last year.


"Her album 21 won the top prize of album of the year, as well as best pop vocal album. Her song Rolling in the Deep won record of the year, song of the year and best short-form music video. Adele also won best pop solo performance for Someone Like You."


I am pleased for her, and from listening to her sing at the Grammy's I can hear that she has had some coaching and rehabilitation of her voice.


After teaching voice development and vocal training for nearly 15 years, I have always wondered when she would hurt herself vocally, smoking and singing incorrectly will take their toll - don't get me wrong - she is an emotive and beautiful singer. I was chatting with my husband and I said that Adele is not like some other popular singers. The trend at the moment is for singers to 'play it safe', relying on backing tracks and vocals while maintaining their own vocals. Now, Adele sings full voice with all of her heart, and makes use of a wide range of notes and styles – dangerous if there is not adequate support and placement. I was so pleased to hear a slight change in her style from 'unsupported' to much better support, less pressure inside her throat.


She has held on to her 'sound' while protecting her vocal chords.

Good for you Adele.

Now just put away the ciggies.


If you would like some more trivia, and access to footage and photographs from the event, click on: and browse away…





Sandy Bigara

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Bust That Stress

Health doesn’t have to be something that we fight for once we are already ill, health is something that we can work towards every day and in all of our lifestyle choices.
"I am completely calm right fist isnt though."

We all know the coined phrase “A little RnR” Rest and relaxation are not a luxury – they are a necessity. What’s more, they do not have to cost an arm and a leg.

Our immune system’s effectiveness is directly linked to stress, when our immune system is healthy and balanced it regulates the bodies healing processes and also protects us from disease and any infections that might affect us. When our immune system is compromised by stress factors we will suffer from blood pressure problems, "fight or flight" feelings or adrenaline,  fatigue, colds, flu, cardiovascular disorders, increased heart rate ‘palpitations’ and in case you didn’t know, stress ages you prematurely!

Here are some achievable ways in which you can reduce stress every day:

JUMP AROUND – Now I know that you are all cringing, the dreaded E word. Exercise does not have to be a massive pain, you do not need the latest fitness wear or even the best shoes. Exercise can be simple and effective. A walk along the sand, dancing in the lounge to your favourite band, you could even leave the trolley at the shop door and carry your groceries all the way to your car gasp!  Yoga is a good calm and gentle exercise option, contact your local scout hall, community centre or gym to see if there are classes available.  In Durban North the alternative is Beeline Dance Studios inside the Durban North Pigeon Racing Club, 2 Sunfield Place, at the bottom of Broadway. Contact Belinda Hellerle 076 444 5569 or for simple and effective dance classes for any age.

GET THE BEAT – We live in a world where at a once-off cost you can have 1000’s of your favourite songs in your pocket and in your ears all day. We’ve all seen the people walking along the road, swaggering and walking along in time to the music in their ears… You too can look like that. Unless you are 15 and ‘with it’ make sure that your underwear are tucked firmly into your pants! I have yet to see a ‘stressed’ person ambling along bopping to their own beat.

HAVE A CUPPA – Believe it or not Tea is very good for you. Both green and black teas contain L-theanine gives our bodies a sense of well-being, leaving us relaxed and calm. My 18 month old can’t sip my tea or coffee without going “ahh!” after each sip – even she can feel the benefit!

TAKE A BATH – Water is known as an “Aquadural” by birthing mothers, the sensation of warm water on our skin soothes the nervous system and is immediately relaxing. Invest in some aromatherapy bath salts or bubble bath and enjoy some chilled down time. Have a cup of tea and listen to some gentle music and you will be doing yourself a world of good. Also, make sure that you keep your hands clean, bacteria from hand contamination can also make us feel run down as our immune systems have to fight even mild infections.

LAUGH OUT LOUD – If you need a laugh, then find some funny websites, listen to some online podcasts (recordings) or spend time with a silly friend or two. Laughter is the best medicine. Life is so stressful and dull – spice it up with a trip to the local theatre or even to watch a comedy at the cinema. Being around positive people will also influence you and change your ‘eeyore’ mentality.
Visit:,, for some funny articles.

HAVE A BITE – Healthy foods are a touchy subject, dieticians seems to disagree monthly on what is good for you, and what is not. I personally found that the blood type diet suited me very well, I was healthier and lost weight while on it, my allergies cleared up and my skin looked lovely. You can find your own specific food allowances at if you know your blood type.

TAKE A NAP – Sleep is the number one stress reliever that we all seem to happily do away with. Make sure that you know your own body. You know how many hours sleep suits you, once again, not everyone is the same: I need a solid 8 hours a night while my husband is happy with 3 – 5 hours a night. A friend of ours who has been in the entertainment industry for 54 years has lived a long and healthy life with 3 hours sleep a night. Do what is good for you.

Make sure that you make time for yourself, not always easy for busy Moms and Dads. Whether it be time in the car singing along to your favourite tunes, lying in a hot bath, sipping on a hot cup of milo or simply sitting with a friend – do it. It is worth every bit of effort.

Sandy Bigara

Whitney Houston Dies at 48

According to sources, Police said that the "I wanna dance with somebody" singer (48) was pronounced dead in her private 4th-floor room, at the Beverly Hilton. At this stage the cause of death is unknown, no foul play is suspected.


Paramedics found Whitney to be unresponsive when they arrived on the scene after being alerted via 911. They performed CPR but it was unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at 3:55 PM. 


Whitney performed briefly at a Grammy party but did not appear to be very well, this was to be her last performance.


 Visit for more information.


We will never forget her soaring vocals, he passionate performances. We will always be mindful of how drug abuse and alcohol abuse can affect and even prematurely end a person's life. How many more celebrities will we watch (with morbid fascination) crash and burn in the eye of public attention? I feel for these 'celebs' as they try to do what they love, while under intense scrutiny and pressure from outside sources.


My condolences to Whitney's family and close friends during this time. May the madness of American Idol Worship lessen with time, although we all know that many more celebrity lives, marriages, and families will suffer this kind of loss in future.



Sandy Bigara

Friday, 10 February 2012

Facebook Parenting: for the troubled teen

With well over 1.5million views, I watched this clip late last night - with mouth hanging slack... More parents need to stand up and say NO to their sassy teens, but has this guy gone too far? Has he killed the relationship? How long till Dr. Phil has them on his show? How long till they have a reality tv series?
The filming was rudimentary, the language stilted and emotional, him ripping into stuff with a 9 millimetre pistol* caught me by surprise though.

(*I am a blonde female, don't quote me on that, it may be an AK47, no idea. It shoots though. Shoots bullets through a friggin'... ... You watch it.)

Sandy Bigara

Go to and search for
"Facebook Parenting: for the troubled teen."

Or, if you are on mobile or Blackberry, try this link - I'm posting from my Blackberry so not sure if it will work!!