17 year old Testimony
31/03/2012 (Written By Barend van Dyk)Hi my name is Barend van Dyk I am 17 years old and I started helping with the animals at Animal Ambulance when I was 15 years old. Before I met the animals at Animal Ambulance, I would like to tell you I was a total rebel, from running away from home, to being kicked out of school for aggression. I didn’t give a damn about my life; I got involved with all the wrong people and started drinking and smoking. No one had control over me; my life was so bad I even tried to commit suicide.
I then met Maria, the founder of Animal Ambulance, where she invited me to come visit the dogs. I didn’t really want to go; I thought it was a waste of time, after a long while I just wanted to get away from home so I went. The first day I met them, I’ve never been so scared in my life, and I thought she was lying when she said she had so many dogs.
From taking baby steps from the car into the house, I can now honestly say they are a big part in my life, that I am not scared anymore. They are such a big part of my life that it changed my life so dramatically that it’s a change I’ve never felt before. The pain I saw on the outside of the dogs is the pain I felt on the inside. I never believed a pain like that could be fixed. Watching, and helping Maria fix the animals pain and seeing them happy in the end made me realise I can fix my pain too.
They allowed me to open my heart and show compassion, and taught me to forgive the same as they do. A lesson I learned and will never forget, I can honestly say since these animals have been a part of my life, my aggression is gone, my will to live is back, Maria has helped me by putting my back in school, and you won’t believe I used to get from 0 – 40% at school I now get 80 – 90%!!!
I challenge all parents to allow their child the privilege to live one week with the animals and be a part of what I am a part of!! What changed my life is not just visiting the animals but staying with them, caring for them, waking up in the middle of the night to bottle feed babies, allowing me to learn the gift of commitment. Believe me you will see a change, and I’m sure it will change adults to. This coming from me, a teenager.