Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2021

On Being Fearless: Uveka Rangappa in conversation with Woodrock Animal Rescue, Estelle Meldau

Many of us have a dream job or a passion we would like to follow but find ourselves trapped in careers to pay the bills. It takes a certain amount of fearlessness to throw in the towel and follow that dream – which is why most of us just don’t do it! Estelle Meldau took the leap and together with her husband Nicholas, took her love for animals to the next level. They closed the door on a very successful recruitment business and put their heart and soul into opening Woodrock Animal Rescue. Estelle tells news anchor and journalist Uveka Rangappa how she Fearlessly followed her passion…


Your story is one of Fearlessly risking it all for your passion – animals! When did you realise this was your “calling”?


From an early age, animals were my sole passion and formed some of my earliest and most treasured memories. Of course, I had to find someone who understood and shared my passion and fortunately that person moved next door to me when I was 12 years old. I was fortunate to find not only a soulmate in Nicholas but someone who appreciated, supported and encouraged me.


What was the moment you made that decision?


It was the life- changing moment when I was told I had Cancer. It was a wakeup call and from that moment on, rescue became my life. I was fortunate to beat Cancer and I can most definitely say animals are wonderful therapists providing uncompromising love and support!


What were the challenges getting started? 


We had to find suitable land and raise money to construct a shelter which would meet the high standards of health, safety as well as have longevity as this was our entire future. Anyone who has built a home from the ground up will tell you it always takes much longer and costs more than initially forecast. So, we had to be flexible and roll with the punches.


Many people prioritise helping humans before animals. That must make your job harder.


Truer word never spoken. For that reason, I will continue to speak out for those that can’t. I am known in the rescue world as having a bulldog approach. They say I bark too loudly. Well to that I say “woof woof!” 


How are you getting by in these especially difficult times?


Worldwide issues have compounded the need for more resources, hands and homes but we stay focused on helping our furry friends. We find ourselves helping many humans too. Gandhi said it best: “The greatness of a nation can be judged by how it treats its weakest members.”


You made a brave move. What’s your advice to women who are afraid to change their circumstances for many reasons, one of which might be financial security?


I am a very positive person and try and encourage those I meet to pursue what fires up their soul. But I have also been criticised for wearing rose-tinted glasses. As women we have the power to create and recreate ourselves because we play so many different roles. I would always advise a solid plan of action with a step by step strategy and (unlike myself) a plan B! If anything, the world has shown us since Covid-19 and the unrest, that life is short and can change very quickly, so focus on making the change that is important to you and block out the naysayers.


What advice do you have for someone about to accomplish a fearless 1st?


Fear is only a temporary state and it takes great courage to overcome adversity. As someone who lives very much in the moment, I have regretted my impulsivity but I have never regretted my choice. Am I too emotional, at times yes. Have I always made the best decisions- no but I am fearless when it comes to speaking for those who cannot and it is liberating to know that my insecurities and apprehensions have always been short- lived because to live fearlessly requires heart and that I have in surplus and this is what keeps me fired up to continue at Woodrock!

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