A new life for Spottie and Nicky

28th Dec, 2018

Written by Amanda Havenga – Kennel Receptionist and Adoptions, Hermanus Animal Welfare Society (HAWS)

Professional photography by Kym Clayton Photography

Senior Jack Russells Spottie and Nicky were to be put to sleep at their owner’s request and arrived at HAWS on the 19th of October 2018, bewildered and afraid. Forced to relocate, his new residence did not permit animals, so he phoned HAWS to fetch these golden oldies.

Peering out of the window

HAWS immediately collected Nicky and Spottie, who were both very nervous not knowing where they were going. When the HAWS bakkie (pick-up truck) arrived back at our premises, I immediately went out to greet them.

The two small dogs were peering out of the window, looking longingly at me, not knowing why they were there. Their big, dark eyes were filled with questions and confusion over what was happening to them.

I was heartbroken to see them; I said to our manager, Peter, that there was no way we could put those two oldies to sleep – they both had so much life in them and looked in great condition. The little female, Nicky, wagged her tail at me, and although Spottie was a little reserved, both dogs were such friendly little things.

New life

The two dogs were placed in a comfortable cage in our pound and photos taken to post on Facebook, to appeal for a new home. Our volunteers fell in love with these gentle souls, and as soon as we placed the appeal on Facebook, we received many interested enquiries.  

And that’s how Johan and Stephenette du Toit from Malmesbury came about contacting HAWS. This wonderful couple were prepared to offer these gorgeous golden oldies a home so that the two dogs would be able to live out the rest of their lives in comfort. 

Malmesbury is not just around the corner from Hermanus (some 170km away) – getting Nicky and Spottie to their new home wasn’t a matter of just picking them up. So, another appeal was posted for someone to transport the dogs to Malmesbury. With the help of a few animal angels, Spottie and Nicky were kindly delivered to their happy new home where they’d be loved and pampered for the rest of their lives.


Written by Johan and Stephenette du Toit

We recently let go of our golden oldie, Sweetie (from AACL). Although she’d only been given six months to live due to cancer and epilepsy, she stayed and enriched our lives for 18 wonderful months. Even our vet cried when she passed, and we were heartbroken.

The only way to cure our tears was to look for another to join our pack of five golden-oldie Jackies (I mean Jack Russell-cross-everything mixes).

We love golden oldies

All our dogs have been adopted from shelters. We love these old souls so much that we even have two double beds next to each other in our bedroom for them; they live for love, food, sunbathing and a quick walkies on the smallholding.

We love to see how, with respect and without pushing them, they blossom into their own identity. (It’s strange how neglected and abused dogs are always so humble.) After three to six months, they open up when trusting again and then move up the bed to sleep – not at our feet anymore, but warmly enfolded in our arms.     

New old souls

I was scrolling through the Jack Russell Rescue Facebook page, saying “sorry” to every little dog picture I had to pass as they battled to find homes, when I came across Nicky and Spottie. They looked out at me from the photo; their eyes spoke to me and I knew we’d found our “new old souls”!

We phoned HAWS and were professionally assisted by Amanda. We waited anxiously for the approval, and after checking with our vets, etc. – voila! – they said yes. Amanda’s pure joy at finding the right home for the dogs was tangible!

But how to get them to their new home with us?

Homeward bound

Two kind-hearted volunteers, Mariechen Du Toit and Victoria Bedritskaia, stepped forward and planned the trip from Hermanus. They coordinated a road trip to get Spottie and Nicky to us. No money nor any expectations; just great-hearted people – thank you! Victoria tackled the first leg of the journey and Mariechen took on the second leg to meet us at the Engen One-Stop garage on the N7.

I’d brought a travel kennel, but they hopped in straight onto my lap, where they sat and watched the road back to Malmesbury. I wonder what they were thinking? 

On arriving home, Mom was already geared with the gate open to greet them; we set them free to roam for a while without the other dogs. Mom made sure they carried her scent so they’d smell like us, and then we let out the five Jackies from upstairs…     

Second chances

The pack and the two newbies all sniffed each other (“took visiting cards”), and then Mom took them for a walk on the smallholding. And, just like that, they all settled in together.

Spottie is now the protector and strong man and has never even marked anything, while Nicky is the calm under-blankie sleeper. They know the routine of our existing bunch and, a week later, were also barking for food along with the rest, knew their food spot, and waited their turn for their night-time treat. Another match made in heaven.    

Spottie, who was thin and not eating well – a good indication of how stressed he was – is now just fine. He now comes and asks Adri (an extended family member who lives with us) if he can get under the blankie. 

It just goes to show that we all need second chances, some good support and, most of all, respect. Our joy is the cuddles we get and to see how they start out gulping down food and then relax after a while when they realise that nobody is going to take it away – they are our Chicken and Rice squad.   

I’d really encourage everyone to consider adopting a senior; you’ll never look back. What Nicky and Spottie offer us is incredible, and it’s only been a short while.

I take my hat off to the rescue team – they have hearts of gold. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


By Victoria Bedritskaia

This is a beautiful story of kindness and care of many people working together to give these two a second chance in life. All of us connected with this transfer are so happy for 12-year-old Spottie and 10-year-old Nicky.

Such older dogs have such a small chance of happy relocation; so many people prefer to take the younger dogs.

Despite the fact that these two were sheltered in Hermanus, the networking was successfully done by all concerned from Cape Town and the surrounding areas. A new home was found in a jiffy, but it was far away in Malmesbury.

Halfway home

I was following the Facebook story, and when I read that they needed a lift, I contacted my Facebook friend Mariechen Du Toit, who volunteered to help with the transfer. The very next day, my husband and I drove the dogs on stage one, from Hermanus, where we live, to Macassar (90km – just over halfway to Malmesbury).

I did my best to comfort them, holding both close to me in the car, and we stopped halfway at a farm stall coffee shop to let them stretch their little legs and to feed them tasty treats.

When Mariechen arrived to fetch them for the second part of the road trip to Malmesbury, Spottie and Nicky were already much more cheerful.

It was a very emotional experience taking these two elderly, surrendered and stressed doggies with actually very little hope for their future to the best-ever home, where they’re now settled and happy.

The new family already had six Jack Russell-mix dogs in their home; we later learned that all are rescued oldies. The newly adopted Nicky and Spottie, making up a total of eight, are so lucky to have landed up on their happy farm. What generous people.

It was a great pleasure to take Spottie and Nicky from the shelter to a waiting loving home.