Happy Tales

Elmarie van der Walt and Charlie who was rescued by Hellen - Working in the Community and adopted through Boxer Rescue SA.

Get your daily happiness boost and celebrate the happily ever afters we all love to read about. To share your story with us - email editorial@happytailsmagazine.co.za


Mia and I crossed paths one day while I was on my way to Malmesbury. She was in a shocking condition and so heavily pregnant it looked like she was about to give birth any day. Exhausted and dehydrated, the brown-and-white dog was just skin and bone with a big, swollen belly. But that tail was wagging non-stop. ...read more

Pegasus was “too big” – his owner wanted a pony for his child; driving pony Lisa was “too small” – her owner wanted a big horse to pull his scrap wagon. Unfortunately, neither Pegasus (Gus) nor Lisa were suited for their intended jobs: Gus was a “difficult” riding horse and not used to a harness, while Lisa was a driving pony and not keen on children. ...read more

What the SPCA Louis Trichardt Inspector found when following up a call in early November 2017 left us all numb inside, disappointed and ashamed of the human race… A concerned citizen had called to report three badly neglected Standard Poodles belonging to her neighbours. These three black Poodles were in shocking condition... ...read more

We are delighted and somewhat relieved to be introduced to Stevie the Wonder Cat and his equally lovely mother cat, Harla Mae Hardaway. Their journey to the Lucky Lucy Foundation (LLF) began on the 30th of May 2017, when we received an email plea from animal-lover Kim Marais: “Please can you help network this: I received a call from a woman living at Saartjie Baartman Centre for abused women and children in Manenberg... ...read more

New Year’s Day celebrations took a terrifying turn for the worse when Holly vanished on the busy Lion’s Head trail path on Table Mountain, Cape Town... ...read more

Zoë is one of over 100 Miniature Schnauzers rescued by Schnauzer Friends of SA from an infamous puppy mill in Ermelo, and we are the lucky people to give her a first and forever home. ...read more

Hulbert the baby grysbok was stolen from his mom, who was most likely hunted illegally and eaten. A kind resident of the Walmer Township took him from some youngsters and kept him safe. He called Bronwyn Meyer, who does rescue work in the township, and she fetched him and brought him to me on Valentine’ Day 2017. ...read more

Brakkie is a beautiful, black Labrador-mix doggie who was very much in need in December 2014 when animal angels came to her rescue in the form of Dee Ivings and Cemair. But her story doesn’t start there… ...read more

When toys and baby clothes started appearing overnight in one suburban family’s home – toys which did not belong to the children living there – no one could ever have imagined where they were coming from. ...read more

This is the story of a lost young dog named Dino, who became my special “project”. I live in a retirement village in Port Elizabeth and, during June 2017, my attention was drawn to a sad little black-and-tan Miniature Pinscher-mix who was hanging out in and around the complex. He was clearly lost and all alone. ...read more

After the completion of the movie “Babe”, actor and animal rights activist James Cromwell, who starred as the farmer, said: “I was so moved by the intelligence, sense of fun and personalities of the animals I worked with on “Babe”, that by the end of the film I was a vegetarian!” ...read more

On a steaming hot day in October 2017, a little white Maltese of barely five months old was brought to us for help. His right eye was injured (and it looked as if it had happened a couple of days earlier) and his owner stated that he’d been bitten by another dog. ...read more

A long, raw burn wound marked the right side of a tiny white-and-black kitten. One of her siblings had been killed; the others cowered from their rescuers, and their beautiful pastel calico mother was skin and bone. ...read more

The large white-and-brown dog scrounged for food amidst the tall, dry grass and rubbish scattered alongside the road, desperate to fill his empty belly. When Inspector Jerry Seemise of the SPCA Midrand spotted the emaciated dog while on his way home, he immediately stopped to help. ...read more

Little Noah’s story is one of tremendous strength and love found in a tiny furry body. He was nearly killed after being run over and lay in the cold for hours. But, despite his injuries, this tabby cat was determined to survive. ...read more

When Megan Durant adopted an unwanted scruffy little black-and-white dog from an animal shelter, no one could have guessed that he was going to have an important job to do. Little Ace’s gentle, calm nature captured not only her heart but that of everyone else he meets. It is this special personality that has helped many a scared rescue dog calm down and made him the perfect choice to become a therapy dog… ...read more

The devastating June 2017 Knysna Fires will forever be entrenched in the hearts and minds of people throughout South Africa. Recorded as the biggest disaster in South African history, the people of Knysna were left reeling after the flames devoured farms, forests, houses and more. ...read more

We were looking for a wiry-haired doggy and, after visiting a few animal shelters in January 2017, there was Bogart, sitting just gazing out at us, with one brown eye and one blue eye, not barking along with all the other dogs. We thought he was a quiet dog. ...read more

The four newborn kittens were jumbled together in a field, defenceless, entangled in their own umbilical cords, maggots on their tiny bodies. Their eyes and ears were still closed, their tummies were empty, and their mother was gone. ...read more

When children called Hellen White to help with a stray dog, she was horrified at what she saw. Hellen has worked in some of the most impoverished communities of Johannesburg South for over eight years and seen many bad cases; this was one of the worst she’d seen. ...read more

It was a full moon on the evening of the 8th August 2017 when rangers at Sabie Sands heard gunshots ring out through the reserve. Using the full moon for light, warden Dave Powrie and his team went to investigate in a Jet Ranger helicopter. ...read more

The mangy, emaciated black dog aimlessly wandered around the streets of Mamre searching for food and shelter from the heat. She was full of sores and all alone in the world. No one in the community even noticed her; it was like she didn’t exist. ...read more

Curled up in their marshmallow-pink blankie, fast asleep, are four spotty little furballs. And, as peaceful as these adorable orphans look right now, when they’re awake, they’re a real handful. ...read more

If you are lucky, a dog will come into your life, steal your heart and change everything! Being involved in animal rescue, volunteering at the SPCA or any rescue organisation, you will be blessed that this very often happens to you. Every now and again there’s that one special dog that just grabs your heart and will not let go! ...read more

The tiny tabby kitten flopped and wobbled around in the trap, unable to keep her footing. What’s more, she growled, hissed and spat. The kitten’s strange behaviour led her rescuer to worry that there was something terribly wrong with her. But it turned out that, although she was different, she was neither sick nor unfriendly… ...read more

Her elderly mom’s companion dog had passed away due to old age, she said, and they felt it would be a great idea to rescue another senior doggie to live with and love Ouma. This was the call SaM (Sedgefield Animal Matters) received on the 17th of June from a lovely-sounding lady from Sedgefield. ...read more

Matthew was not on our list of patients to collect that day in June 2017 and, when he was handed over to us, it was not as a patient who’d be returning that evening but as a dog who nobody wanted around anymore. But all of that changed for him the moment his owner signed him over into our care. ...read more

The gentle black-and-white Greyhound had outlived her prime hunting days and was no longer of any value to her owner. Rescued from Pienaarsig township near Nieu-Bethesda, Hanna has gone from strength to strength to become a happy family member who is of infinite value to those who love her. ...read more

When a sturdy little Jack Russell male of around seven years old came in as a stray on the 28th of August 2017 he was, of course, scanned for a microchip. When it was ascertained that the little dog was indeed microchipped, kennel assistant Lilanie Hart immediately logged on to Identipet’s website and punched in the microchip number; details of a Mrs Price from Greenside, Johannesburg, popped up on the screen. ...read more

A heavy U-bolt pierced the emaciated dog’s foot behind her Achilles tendon; she was tethered by this U-bolt to a pole in a filthy yard. The foot had begun to die off and infection had set in, and she was barely clinging to life. ...read more

A loud calling for help came from the Mdzananda Animal Clinic’s front gate late one afternoon in July 2017. The Clinic had already closed for the day and most staff had gone home; fortunately, two staff members were still on site. Two elderly ladies were calling desperately, beckoning for our staff to come closer: “A man – he just put a small animal into a drain. Please help!” they exclaimed. ...read more

When we first met Stanley Jacobs and his beautiful cream-and-white dog, Meira, on Doring Road in Vrygrond, it was simply to treat her skin allergy but, upon closer inspection, we noticed that her left eye was closed and watering quite severely. Stanley was very happy for us to take Meira to be seen by a vet… but under no circumstances was he going to agree that we spay her. ...read more

It’s lunchtime on Monday 14th August 2017 when in walk three young lads from Lewisham, Krugersdorp. They pass a storm water pipe on the way to and from school every day; the concrete pipe runs under a busy road and, inside, a mother dog and her pups have made their home. ...read more

In 2013 I rescued a little Yorkie from a caged environment (not a breeder), where he was cold, afraid and hungry for both food and love. I took him home to the sanctuary where he could run free among many dogs. But he didn’t; he wouldn’t let himself be free. ...read more

A homeowner living in a complex in the Mount Edgecombe (KZN) area contacted me asking for help in trapping a black cat that had been eating regularly at her place for the last six months. She’d noticed that its skin condition was poor and it was very thin when it arrived, and she needed help to get it vet-checked and sterilised, if needed. ...read more

Less than a month after his second birthday and at the start of the Father’s Day long weekend, little Peanut found himself all alone at the vet in Graaff-Reinet. His owners had requested that he be put to sleep because he’d managed to escape their yard. Luckily for him, the lady at the vet decided to contact Camdeboo Sterilisation Initiative (CSI) to ask if they could find Peanut a new, safe home. ...read more

The tiny tabby kitten was starving, emaciated and so dehydrated that he cried when touched, no matter how gently. He was so weak he could not stand or walk; he was also suffering from hypoproteinaemia (low protein/protein deficiency), was extremely anaemic and had a heavy worm burden. But, where there’s life there’s hope – and we were determined to give him the best chance at life we could… ...read more

The little Maltese Poodle-mix lay near death, collapsed amongst drifts of rubbish in a ditch. Her golden curls were matted into lumps, her elderly body was weak and emaciated, and she had very few teeth left in her tired mouth. Hout Bay animal rescuer Shaygam Newman, founder of Shaygam’s Shelter, moved swiftly, lifting her out of the hell she’d fallen into and rushing her to the vet. ...read more

In June 2017, the country watched, horrified, as most of the Garden Route was engulfed in rampant wildfires. Aside from the toll on life for both people and animals, hundreds of pets went missing from their homes, many of them cats which bolted in fear and got lost or whose homes were destroyed. ...read more

The tiny, spotted kitten was dragging his hind legs through the dirt, unable to stand or walk, when he was found on a farm in Delmas, Mpumalanga, in July 2017. But this was no ordinary kitten; this fluffy, spotted guy was a baby Serval cat (Leptailurus serval) of no more than three weeks old. Being a wild animal, he needed special care and handling. ...read more

Whilst sitting in the Wimpy on a Tuesday at lunchtime, waiting for my coffee to arrive, I went onto Facebook, as I normally do. I came upon a picture of this poor dog that was so totally shocking and heartbreaking that I could not believe my eyes. Seeing how this poor fur baby had just decided that she’d had enough of life and went to lie down, literally giving up, I wondered what had happened to her for her to have come to that point. ...read more

When the car in front of Miriam Bezuidenhout drove over a stray Jack Russell in the middle of the road in July 2017, she didn’t think twice to slam on the brakes to help. ...read more

Ginger Persian cat Gucci went missing from his home in Clifton in mid-December 2016. It was over six months before he was found… ...read more

On 28 June 2017, animal lover and networker Yanou Olderwagen added a post to her Facebook page, pleading for someone to adopt two Jack Russell Terriers, Hailey and Sammy. Along with the photos was a video in which it was clear that the male, Sammy, was absolutely terrified of anything and everything, especially humans. ...read more

The speckled bird with his big, yellow eyes was found in the garden of an Edgemead resident, his leg dangling uselessly. Despite his injury, it took me some time to catch the Dikkop (also called the Spotted thick-knee) and, when I did, it was clear that there was nothing that could be done to save the leg. ...read more

All the pets we’ve ever had were adopted from animal shelters, and came in all shapes, sizes, and ages – all brought so much love and joy. And then, along came Taurus… ...read more

We had no idea that the Knysna fires had gotten so bad until we received a call from one of our clients telling us we needed to get home – and fast. ...read more

The day we rescued CJ was a day we were in the right place at the right time. It was the 13th of May 2017 and we’d gone to Tableview to collect four donated kennels from Purple Kennel Project. We were on our way home and running late because of the road closures; we were hot and thirsty and decided to stop at the Engen on the N2 towards Somerset West to get something to drink. Little did we know that we were about to get so much more… ...read more

The true story of a rehabilitated Spotted Eagle Owl called Uiltjie, who has made it his mission in life to take care of injured and orphaned birds. Uiltjie (diminutive for “owl” in Afrikaans), an African Spotted Eagle Owl, showed up on our farm on a mild Autumn evening in April 2007. ...read more

In December 2016, my wife, Hester, and I applied to adopt a Spaniel through Spaniel Welfare SA (SWSA). We were excited when our application was approved and we were told about a Spaniel at our local SPCA in urgent need of a home. That’s how Layla came into our lives. But she was just the start of our link with SWSA… ...read more

Every year, the farmers on the surrounding farms here in Koringberg, 18 kilometres outside Moorreesburg, bring their half-dead lambs to us and we nurse them back to life. Some make it, some, sadly, don’t. Mikey, who was born on the 8th of April 2017, arrived here on the back of a motorcycle in a milk crate. ...read more

When I saw J. Bay Animal Rescue Sanctuary’s post about a Sharpei that had been rescued from the Thornhill forest during the Knysna/Plett/St Francis fire, I had no intention of adopting another dog. But life had other ideas… ...read more

After our last four-legged girl slipped into heaven in January, our hearts were broken and my partner, Johan, and I decided we’d have a break. But we were constantly asked when we’d be getting a new “child”. Having decided to wait a while, my answer was: “The only way I’ll have another is if he or she crosses the road in front of me with a chain around its neck.” I mean, what were the chances of this happening? Well, believe it or not, that is exactly what happened. ...read more

Meet Meisie, a small black-and-gold Dachshund-mix from a rural village in the North West Province. She came to us when, out of the blue, she was unable to walk and turned out to have an important purpose in her life... ...read more

The little wire-haired terrier was tied to the fence of the empty house with a telephone cable. It was pouring with rain and empty bowls lay beside the shivering dog whose feet were ice-cold and muddy. This is how Phoenix Animal Care and Treatment (PACT) found her at an abandoned house in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal, after being alerted to her plight by the landlord. ...read more

Wilee is a two-year-old tripod Greyhound. He is snow-white, except for the left side of his face, which is jet-black, with a few black freckles on his skin under his white coat. He has quite an overbite, which just adds to his cuteness. ...read more

Baby Irene, a Vervet monkey, was rescued by a passer-by after being subjected to terrible cruelty by uneducated children, which resulted in severe wounds and shock... ...read more

One afternoon, towards the end of April 2017, a home owner noticed that a small, brown stray dog had wandered onto their property; a commotion broke out but they assumed that their dogs were just excited about the little visitor. But it was much worse than that… ...read more

Polo was dropped off at the Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital on Onderstepoort vet campus by a good Samaritan; he’d been picked up off the road after being hit by a car. At first glance, the prognosis was very poor. Two other veterinary students and I were told to examine him and report back to the vet with our treatment options – keeping in mind that he appeared to be a wild bunny with no owners and, therefore, no one to pay for medical treatment. ...read more

My aunt, Sue Faust, has the most beautiful little black-and-gold Dachshund named Gabby who is the love of her life. Gabby is two years old and lives with Sue in an old age home in Brakpan. She was given away as a little pup and rescued by Sue and her husband, Martin. ...read more

I arrived at work one morning to find the cutest fluffy bundle of joy being looked after by my colleague, animal rescuer and feral cat feeder Vivienne Jones. She’d found him early on a hectic month-end Saturday morning on a busy roundabout at the Roodepoort Hyperama. ...read more

As all rescuers will tell you, every dog we save owns a little piece of our hearts, but, every now and again, a special dog comes along and steals your entire heart. Molly is such a dog… ...read more

The Cape Flats in South Africa is notorious; it is impoverished and crime-ridden, with ordinary people living in daily fear of gangs and violence. Murder is, tragically, not uncommon. In August 2015, an armed intruder brandishing a gun invaded a humble home on the Cape Flats. Bloodcurdling screams and the hysterical barking of dogs came from the house and multiple shots rang out. ...read more

I was living in a flat in the suburbs and had a kitten named Fabiani; this little guy regularly took himself downstairs to greet a neighbour’s cat, Magita. The two of them were the absolute best of friends. In time, Magita moved into my place and we all relocated together to a farm in Rondeberg, near Cape Town. ...read more

What a sad day May the 14th 2017 was. Whilst dropping my daughter and her friends off at the FNB Stadium for the Justin Bieber Concert, I spotted a dead dog lying right in the middle of Nasrec Road, Johannesburg, between the two lanes. I stopped and gently put his body on the pavement. Unbelievably, just a little further on by the Engen garage, we spotted another dog – a very bewildered and lost Jack Russell running in and out of traffic. ...read more

Volunteering at any rescue organisation or shelter will teach you so many life lessons that will remain with you for the rest of your life. There are moments when you can almost feel your heart being ripped out of your chest, and you’re sometimes not sure how the broken pieces will ever be able to be put back together again. But then, there are those magical moments – the ones that make you realise why you are alive. ...read more

“Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love. They depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog, it merely expands the heart.” A couple of years ago I had to say goodbye to my two Collie kids; I thought my heart would never heal from the loss. It took all this time to come to the point where I felt I could even consider getting another dog, as that would mean accepting that my old boys were finally gone. ...read more

Once upon a time there was a tabby cat called Angel, young mommy to five gorgeous kittens. There was just one small problem: along with her litter, she had been dumped and was facing a homeless existence. Luckily for Angel, they were rescued by a kind human who then handed them over to the Feline Feral Fund Ballito for them to try and sort out the situation. ...read more

Juno was rescued in June 2016 during an African Tails Mass Sterilisation project in Atlantis, near Cape Town. His rags-to-riches story is a true happily ever after… ...read more

For two weeks, the orphaned elephant wandered through the hot wilderness alone, her mother gone, her herd nowhere to be seen. It’s a dangerous world out there for a barely weaned elephant and this youngster was in grave danger. ...read more

WHAT DO AN AIRPORT AND A ROADHOUSE HAVE IN COMMON? One small doggy running scared for three weeks… A few weeks back we were alerted about a stray Fox Terrier in the parking area of Lanseria Airport. According to security guards, the dog had jumped out of a car that was dropping people off at the airport’s Drop-Off Zone. ...read more

Animals are my life. I grew up surrounded by them and, since becoming a mother two gorgeous children, I have always wanted the same for them. Kids should be able to love and care for something; it teaches them compassion and responsibility. ...read more

Fairy tale stories normally start with “a long, long time ago...”, but not this one. Lulu was born a happy and normal little bundle of Schnauzer joy. Her life unfortunately took a dramatic turn after she fell ill and suddenly went blind. ...read more

When a tiny kitten dragged itself out from under a truck engine at a scrapyard in Hercules Industrial, Pretoria North, nobody could have predicted just what was in store for him – or the people who would take up his cause... ...read more

Around August of 2015, I happened to be browsing through Facebook when I came across a heartbreaking and shocking picture of a badly neglected rescued white-and-brindle dog. I follow so many rescue organisations worldwide and do my best to share pictures and stories, but I usually avoid looking at any photos as it physically makes my heart ache. For some reason, on this day, the picture caught my eye and I was emotionally drawn to continue reading her story. This is the day I “met” Polly… ...read more

It was the Human Rights Day weekend in March 2017 and we’d packed the car to the brim with Granny, two children, Mom and Dad, not to mention everything you need for fun and relaxation. Sunday dawned and, after a long, lazy breakfast, my husband Garth’s phone rang while I was on another call. The caller had tried me and couldn’t get through so she called Garth. I gathered from the conversation that the caller had found one of our cats. ...read more

Written by Jenni Davies and professional photography by Michelle Blackie How two severely neglected dogs found their happily ever after. Every now and then, when things look at their bleakest, wonderful things can – and do – happen. Aiko and Rusty’s story is one such event. Rescued at different times, rehabilitated by the Lucky Lucy Foundation (LLF), and adopted by one loving family, these two have overcome the odds. He barely resembled a dog In October 2010, a mange-ridden,... ...read more

On Friday the 3rd of February 2017, I answered a call from a concerned resident in KwaZakhele, an impoverished area near Port Elizabeth. His friend’s dog’s skin looked terrible and he was sure that the dog was in pain. I asked him to send me the address and a photo of the dog. Two days later, I received them, as he’d promised. ...read more

In mid-January 2017, a miserable brown-and-white pony was surrendered to Animal Outreaches and brought to The Horse Zoo in PE. The little guy was very nervous, not trusting of people at all, and in poor condition, with rainscald (a bacterial skin disease) and mange. We named him Spirit. ...read more

On the 24th of October 2016, I was enjoying a bit of relaxing horse riding when I received a call from one of my clients. She asked if I would like a baby aardvark. I could not believe my ears; I immediately said, “When?” Her answer: “I’m dropping her off at the practice.” ...read more

From wounded stray to pampered pooch, Angus Braveheart’s story is truly one of rags to riches. On the evening of the 8th of January 2015, Samantha Jayne Broadhead was on her way home from work in Witpoortjie when she glanced out of her window to see a light-coloured dog hopping along the grass verge. She immediately stopped her car to try and help... ...read more

It was a very cold Friday evening at Nelspruit’s Bundu Lodge and it was pouring with rain. My husband, Mike, navigated for the VW Motorsport Rally Team and was staying over. Over the rain, he could hear a kitten crying. Mike went out in search of the kitten but could not find it. ...read more

I am absolutely head over heels and besotted with our new bundle of joy! I volunteer at Society for Animals in Distress in Midrand, helping to rehabilitate and care for dogs that have come in for sterilisation or other surgeries, and assisting with the other animals on the farm, from cats to donkeys and horses. I regularly fall in love with the patients. ...read more

Evan is a Spotted Eagle Owl that Mr and Mrs Bloch found in their garden one afternoon in February 2017. The owl was injured and flapping helplessly so they alerted Ou Kaapse Weg Vet in Kirstenhof. My brother, Michael, and I were able to capture the terrified bird and bring it back to the clinic. ...read more

This is the incredible story about how a scared, unwanted dog who waited four long years for a home went on to make a huge difference... ...read more

At just two weeks old, little Ariel and her siblings joined us. The tiny kittens came from an informal settlement where, sadly, their mother had died. They urgently needed bottle-feeding as they were too young to eat on their own. Fortunately, they were healthy and strong... ...read more

You know you’re in deep when your bed is covered in cats, dogs, and two goats and a sheep. ...read more

Two weeks had passed and there was still no sign of our George.Those two weeks were beyond nerve-racking. We posted all over Facebook and Gumtree, made and put up posters, called and visited the SPCA – literally everything we were advised to do and could think of. People would call me and tell me they’d found George only for us to be more disappointed that it wasn’t him at all. ...read more

Four years ago, I discovered an established colony of feral cats in the parking area of my previous work place. As I’ve always adored animals, I started feeding the cats in the early mornings and again before returning home late in the afternoons. I also provided fresh water daily. The cats were shy and cautious around me and most kept their distance. But there was one – a large male tabby with a beautiful coat – whose striking looks and tame nature caught my attention. ...read more

In March 2014 we lost our dear Pharaoh, the most amazing black cat. We experienced a deep loss and our home was not the same. I’d had three black cats previously and vowed to never live without a black cat. They are incredible! I begged my hubby to adopt another cat. For a long time the answer was always ‘no’ until, one day, DogtownSA put an adoption advertisement on Facebook… ...read more

My “connection” with the now-closed Krugersdorp SPCA began in May 2015 when helping Charmaine Booysens of The 9th Day in rescuing a little brown Dachshund. The poor thing had been dumped on the front doorstep of the closed SPCA and was running and hiding on the runway of the airfield close by. ...read more

The wonderful story of how a little grey-and-white cat with broken hind legs who was found in a drain went on to become a beloved, pampered family member. ...read more

Weighing in at a mere 950g, her fragile 3-day-old body covered in ticks, Khaleesi – a female Chacma Baboon – was found abandoned in Hluhluwe in December 2016. A passer-by spotted her at the side of the road with no troop in sight. Now seven weeks old, little Khaleesi has adjusted well and has already gained some much-needed weight. ...read more

I began working as a teacher at Republiek Primary in Windvogel, Bethelsdorp (Port Elizabeth), in 2015 and I soon noticed the many stray dogs in the area. They broke my heart and I started bringing leftover food from home or the school’s nutrition programme for the dogs that visited the schoolyard. After a while there were about five stray dogs in front of my classroom waiting for the leftovers – and one of them was a small tricolour female called Mamma. ...read more

In early April 2016, Cat Care Port Elizabeth (CCPE), an organisation caring for feral cats, came across a pale ginger-and-white cat with a horrific injury. It appeared that the cat had somehow gotten his left foreleg caught in his collar and, because the collar had a normal buckle and not a quick-release one, he’d been unable to get the leg back out again. ...read more

On the 29th of August 2016 I was sitting in my car, terrified. I was waiting for the minutes to pass until I could see my mom – she was fighting for her life in ICU. To try and distract myself, I started scrolling through Facebook. A friend of mine had shared a video. I opened it. As soon as it started to play, I was utterly in love. ...read more

It all started one morning while I was scrolling through Facebook and spotted two animals – Gracie and Cleo – looking for a new home. The picture of the most beautiful dog and cat cuddling together stole my heart and the fact that they couldn’t be separated just added to their appeal. ...read more

It was a normal day at my husband’s plant nursery in 2011. We’d noticed a chocolate Labrador and a Rottweiler running through the nursery, having a ball of a time. Being very friendly, we’d assumed it must have been a client’s pets who had come along for the day. Come lunchtime it was very quiet and we noticed that the Rottweiler was gone but the Labrador had stayed behind. We asked the clients who were there but no one claimed him. ...read more

Sparky was a gift from my niece, who told me that he travelled in the engine of her neighbour’s car from Table View to Sanddrift some 10km away on Christmas Eve seven years ago. He was just a little kitten who’d found himself a very warm, cosy place to snuggle in. Unfortunately, it was in the engine of a stranger’s car and the stranger decided to drive back home after his Christmas celebrations – with Sparky clinging on for dear life! ...read more

I live on a farm in Blue Hills with my brother, sister-in-law and my two nephews. They have nine dogs, I have cats, and when Lynn, my sister-in-law’s sister comes to the farm, she brings her four dogs – making a total head count of 13. I am the “unofficial” dog walker and love nothing more than taking them into the fields to run and play, the more the merrier as far as I am concerned. ...read more

My orderly life with my (then) two therapy dogs, 14-year-old Standard Poodle, Daisy (who sadly passed away last year), and rescued ginger-bearded Labrador-mix, Dixie, was totally disrupted by the arrival of a disabled kitten, whom I named ‘Je Suis Jolie’ (‘I am pretty’). ...read more

As the world’s only painting pig, Pigcasso is an original. Rescued from a typical industrialised hog “farm” in the Western Cape in which pigs live in merciless conditions, Pigcasso is one lucky, fine swine! From potential pork chop to hog heaven at Farm Sanctuary SA in Franschhoek where she resides, Pigcasso loves the good things in life: Eat. Sleep. Eat. Repeat. ...read more

My name is Mel and I reside in Lotus River in Cape Town. I am an animal lover and always go out of my way to pick up stray animals on the road and take them to the SPCA, which is close to us. I have five Labradors and one Maltese Poodle-mix that I found as a stray. Two of my Labradors were adopted in 2015 from a friend who just couldn’t handle having two busy “escape artist” dogs. ...read more

For four months the unwanted, abandoned black-and-tan dog and her adult pup were seen running wild in the Cape Flats. Terrified and starving, their fear of humans meant that with or without food, no one could catch them. The SPCA and others tried several times with no success, but one faithful rescuer persevered… ...read more

Three blind men, arms linked, were walking together down the road that passes the IFAW’s Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) clinic in Durban Deep. When we saw this intrepid trio, CLAW’s Cora Bailey and I were concerned that they might not be aware of the enormous pothole – more like a sinkhole than a normal pothole – which had opened up in the road, so we offered them a lift home ...read more

In November 2016, our Fire Station (Goodwood) was called in to assist as a relief crew. It was the morning of the third day of a blaze on board a foreign fishing vessel docked in Cape Town harbour. We arrived at about 12AM and proceeded to take over firefighting from the off-going crew. The ship was still heavily on fire, with most of the lower compartment in flames. ...read more

Eddie’s story started in Touwsrivier in the Western Cape. This severely neglected little dog was spotted roaming the dusty streets by a concerned lady who, in turn, told Tesna Palvie from Touwsrivier Diere about Eddie. A Facebook post went up with Eddie desperately clutching a piece of bread – and that was just the end for us; we knew we had to help him. ...read more

Whisper joined us at The Horse Zoo at the end of 2014 as a flashy little horse with a mighty big attitude! Although this pony had never wanted for anything and, unlike his mother, had always been extremely well cared for, he had a number of behavioural issues. He lacked confidence on his own but, at the same time, had very bad social skills with other horses. Under saddle he had little enthusiasm or confidence and when faced with something new he just fell apart. ...read more

Tania Pestana booked her tan Pit Bull-Boerboel-mix, Nala, in to a Helderkruin doggy parlour on the 21st of December 2016. Little did she know that a wild goose chase, lasting several days, was about to ensue. Shortly after Nala had been collected by the doggy parlour staff, Tania’s husband received a call that would rock their world to its core: Nala had slipped her leash and run away. ...read more

It has been six months since our darling Ridgeback, Runde, went to heaven. David and I were devastated as he was such a handsome, well-bred “gentleman”. A happy dear soul totally devoted to David. Although we wanted to adopt another Ridgeback, and David scrolled through the rescue website almost every day, I kept saying, “l’m not ready.” ...read more

Cougar came to live with us when he was about three months old. His mother, a stray, had only one kitten; my brother and his family took them in, but, as they were leaving for Australia, this wasn’t a permanent arrangement. While the mother cat found a home, the people who’d agreed to take her little white-and-tabby kitten changed their mind. Although we already had elderly cats, we couldn’t turn this kitten away. ...read more

It was the end of a hot, humid Saturday afternoon, and we’d been driving around Fisantekraal township for hours. We’d been called by a resident of the informal settlement to check on his dogs. Problem was that they were in the old section of the camp, which is a higgeldy-piggeldy place, and we were driving around in circles. But, as it turned out, getting lost that day was meant to be… ...read more

Richard came into my life rather unexpectedly, after he was dropped off at a friend’s veterinary practice by someone who found him in their garden. Despite attempts to find his owners, he was never claimed, so I volunteered to give him a home. ...read more

Crinkle was found by the late Suzie Bews somewhere in the South of Johannesburg in January 2015. She was discovered collapsed in the road next to the lifeless body of her sibling who was also in the same horrific condition as she was. Suzie rushed the dying dog to FORA (Friends of Rescued Animals). ...read more

Blue-eyed Oliver was found by a human angel who rushed him to the vet after he’d been run over by a car. Not only was the little colourpoint cat badly injured, but he was starving. He’d clearly been lost for some time. His hind leg was so badly damaged that the vet had to amputate it; after the op she kindly kept him for the initial recovery period. Despite searching and advertising, his real family was never found. ...read more

This is a story of the effect that a ton of love and patience has on a rescue dog which only knows a life of abuse and neglect. The only thing she could find comfort in was her ‘Tiny Pet’ dog bed, which is very accurate as she is a very small little girl.” Meet Kelsey – a rescued dog who eventually ended up being a foster failure. ...read more

Meet Pepsi - rescue dog extraordinaire! Pepsi came in as a stray to Animal Welfare Society in Port Elizabeth and was never claimed. Animal lover, Talita Van Eeden, had been looking for rescue dog for many months. Talita was not breed fussy, only wanting a medium size dog that would get along with her two cats, Kitsani and Sneusie. Talita spent many hours visiting the various pet shelters and organisations in the city searching for her new best friend. ...read more

The last time I’d seen my little black-and-white cat, Tinkerbelle, was for breakfast on Saturday, 24 January (2015). We’d had workers in our yard all day; she’s very scared of them so we assumed she’d just decided to hide from them for a while. But it would be 10 days before we saw her again. ...read more

The emaciated toffee-coloured boy was passing his day as usual, sitting on a shredded, muddy blanket on stony ground, sore, hungry, and hardly able to see, when an ambulance drove past. An observant paramedic spotted him and reported it us. Off we zoomed, law enforcement in tow, to investigate. Shocked is only a small part of what we felt. The dog’s owner ran off, knowing he was in the wrong – but that was not our concern. All our attention was diverted to the poor suffering animal who just seemed to quietly accept his sad fate. ...read more

When I come home every day, I’m greeted by a welcoming party with a difference: 12 pooches howling, barking, and jumping on me! My house and garden are full of wagging tails, lolling tongues and big doggy smiles. Every morning, 48 paws dash to their bowls for a breakfast of cooked chicken, rice and veg, and every Friday, the owners of those paws get a bath and blow-dry. My family and I are lucky enough to share our home with 12 Spaniels, one honorary Spaniel, and a host of bunnies and guinea pigs – all rescued. ...read more

Most animal lovers will remember the incredible story of Kimberleigh, the tan-and-white dog who fell into Kimberley’s Big Hole in the Northern Cape in November 2013, and fought for survival for 8 long days. First spotted by tourists as she swam desperately in the water at the bottom of the pit, unable to escape due to the steep walls, it took several attempts before she was finally rescued by a team of dedicated animal lovers… ...read more

‘Burnie’ arrived at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic all by himself. He knew where to find help but was terrified of humans. For three weeks we could hear his call but we just couldn’t get to him. The little ginger cat had crawled under our pharmacy shipping container to hide; no amount of luring could bring him out. ...read more

I started following CLAW’s (Community Led Animal Welfare) Facebook page earlier this year. On the 16th of September, I came across the dog they’d named Belle whilst casually scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. I froze when images of this battered, broken and severely tick-infested dog appeared. CLAW stated in the post that she was an “unwanted” and had to be collected by the team. Facebook was in uproar over the horrifying state of this poor, neglected dog and CLAW received messages about her from around the world ...read more

I still remember the first time I read Tao’s story on the Lucky Lucy Foundation (LLF) Facebook page. I was relaxing with a cup of coffee in my room and, halfway through the first paragraph, I was already in tears. By the end, my heart was breaking into a million pieces. Tao had been rescued from near the N7 highway (Cape Town); she was infested with mange and covered in sores, emaciated, neglected, and afraid. They later discovered that she was deaf – it’s unclear if this was from birth or due to abuse she’d suffered. But none of it bothered her; Tao was still a friendly, loving dog ...read more

Something gently brushes against your leg and you hear a tiny little voice. Suddenly you see a dash of ginger and white and off she goes again chasing the wind. This is little Claire. Her story began as a tiny seven-week-old kitten. She was found in an informal settlement by a Good Samaritan and taken to the veterinary clinic in town. She had a bad case of snuffles and her eyes weren’t properly developed; therefore, she was unable to see. ...read more

Bonny and Flash’s story is true; they, together with the other incredible horses at Tom Ro Haven for Equines and Children, continue to heal and love people and each other every single day… ...read more

When I first saw Fluffy, as he was called then (with hardly a hair in sight), I gasped in alarm at this pathetic little hairless doggy with such a fighting spirit who was trying to run everywhere! He was brought in by law enforcement, found on the Hawston dumpsite, near Hermanus and was in a very bad way. ...read more

Towards the end of April 2015, at the Lombardini Game Reserve, nestled between St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape, a four-year-old rhino cow was viciously attacked by poachers. After darting her, they hacked off both her horns and left her for dead. Badly mutilated, the young rhino wandered around in a daze ...read more

In February 2015, Wollies Animal Project in Pretoria North was called in to help with a kitten found at a factory. Unable to suckle properly, the tiny black kitten had been rejected by his mother and would have starved if he hadn’t have been rescued. He was taken to Silverton veterinarian, Dr Moose, who estimated him to be just one week old – and diagnosed him with a cleft palate and cleft lip ...read more

On the 10th of August, I arrived home from work to the devastating news that Meisie, our 4-year-old white-and-grey Swiss Shepherd, was gone. As I darted to my car to search the streets, my dad arrived home and, together, we searched all over, late into the night. We spoke to everyone in the immediate area in the hope that someone had seen something that would help us find her. ...read more

Olive arrived at our gate being held by two young men who said that they’d seen a lady dump her in a basket in front of the Shoprite in Milnerton. We have learnt not to believe everything people tell us, but our focus was on Olive so we took her from the two men and ...read more

Little Odin (formerly Marshall) was discovered by a lady from Marshall Security. This tiny kitten of only about a week old had seemingly been separated from his mom and was left all alone in the world ...read more

Diablo, a magnificent jet-black leopard, was imported from a German zoo where he had been mistreated by a Free State lion breeding facility. He was deemed a ‘problem animal’ because of his extreme aggression and was, therefore, destined for the canned hunting trade. When Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary heard of Diablo’s situation we decided to rescue him at any cost ...read more

It started back in 2013, when we noticed a stray cat in our neighbourhood. We suspect people had abandoned him when they moved. He was a pretty noisy fellow, meowing throughout the night (which we later discovered was for the ‘ladies’ from next door). He pursued them with vigour and, while our neighbours tried all sorts of ways to catch him, he proved too quick for them ...read more

Following a call from a passerby, the Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) rescued Maggie from a roadside in Soweto where she’d been lying in a ditch, allegedly for a few days. The area is infamous for dog fights. What CLAW director Cora Bailey saw shocked her to the core ...read more

Danie du Plessis, a successful businessman, fell on hard times in the last two years of his life. Employed as caretaker of a vacant industrial plot on the side of a busy Cape Town highway, he lived in an empty container with his only faithful friend, a dog named ‘Danger’. Every day at 6pm, Danie and Danger were seen walking to a nearby shop where Danger patiently sat outside ...read more

Recently, during an attempted armed home invasion on a smallholding, Maya, an 18-month-old Pit Bull Terrier, heard a suspicious noise outside her home’s front entrance. The brave dog dashed outside – only to come face to face with armed intruders ...read more

What happened when one small Dachshund got lost on a very big mountain. On Thursday the 15th of September, my husband and I decided to take three of our Dachshunds for a walk to Silvermine dam, along with my niece, Sophie. We always keep them on a leash until we get to the river walk and then ...read more

The world of animal rescue is filled with daily disappointment in the human race. We see humans at their most irresponsible and cruel, and innocent animals paying the price. However, it also offers us the opportunity to see humans at their best – those who care enough to put compassion into action, who know the meaning of unconditional love for a furry friend, and who go the extra mile to make the world a better place... ...read more

It all started when I was tasked with photographing some cats at the Animal Welfare Society (AWS) in Port Elizabeth that were desperately seeking loving homes... I had one cat left to photograph, but upon approaching her pen I noticed this kitty was not like the others. She was more reserved and didn’t immediately approach you like the others. She was a real stunner – bright green eyes, fluffy black-and-white fur with a little black patch underneath the chin as if she’d slipped and fallen into some paint. There was also something odd about her ...read more

On Christmas Eve 2015, a filthy, emaciated ginger kitten of no more than four weeks old was brought in to Second Chance Sanctuary in The Bluff, Durban. I could only see its back because of the way it was being held, but when they turned it around I was absolutely speechless. Both eyeballs had prolapsed (bulging out) and were caked with ...read more

In a beautiful and tranquil conservancy nestled in Nelson Mandela Bay, three rescue dogs – Harley, PenniLane and HeyJude – are lovingly cared for by Marizanne Ferreira. Whoops! Let’s not forget the rescue cat, Dalmacijia, whose stern demeanour is somewhat amusingly accentuated by a ‘Hitler-like’ smudge of black fur across her top lip. The rescue dogs ...read more

We work in animal rescue with many beautiful spirits; we’re privileged in that way. Unfortunately, we also work with many selfish, foolish humans. But we also work with many selfless, loving humans who make the world a better place. And Romeo reminded us of just that… Romeo is an extraordinary dog: not only is he beautiful on the outside, but he has a truly magnificent heart – he never gives up. Having been hit by a car while roaming the streets as a stray, he ...read more

In March 2015, the Daniell Cheetah Project (DCP) in Kirkwood received a call from workers doing construction at a nearby prison. While digging, they found what seemed to be a porcupine hole. Upon closer inspection, they found a baby porcupine in the hole – no mother or brothers or sisters in sight, just this little porcupette ...read more

I was an au pair at the time when, one afternoon, I arrived at the family’s home with their middle child Kitty. Their dog was eagerly scratching to get out and, as I opened the gate, he bolted; in a flash, he found a gaggle of tiny goslings hiding in the bushes. One by one he snatched them up and killed them. Kitty and I desperately tried to stop him but he was super fast. Eventually, we managed to get ...read more

Out of the distance, two lions come running. One has strikingly long blonde ‘hair’ that cascades in the wind, the other a kind of dominance and an air around him. Their big paws produce clouds of dust as they dash towards you. Chuck and Norris, now three-and-a-half years old, didn’t always have such a carefree life – and probably would not have had a life at all if the Daniell Cheetah Project (DCP) hadn’t ...read more

A dusty-grey cat was brought to the Animal Welfare Society Port Elizabeth as a stray early in January 2016 after being hurt in an accident. Thomas, as we named him, struggled and couldn’t get up on his back legs. He was a lovely boy but needed special care. I immediately felt a connection with him and because I work closely with the AWS ...read more

I found Poppy in a storm water channel when she was a tiny pup of just eight weeks old – filthy, covered in fleas, and full of worms. I was out walking on a street that I never normally went down, so it was obviously meant to be that I found her… At first I didn’t realise she was missing a foot; it took about a minute to notice and all sorts of red lights popped in my head. How did this little baby end up here ...read more