Buddy G, bringing Soul back to Bloem


Buddy G, bringing Soul back to Bloem

Written by Helen-Mary Cawood

Professional photography by Xany Jansen van Vuuren from Maxaa Photography Studio

“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. But recently my boyfriend, Mark, and I both decided that we wanted to adopt an older dog who needed the home that we could offer and so I started networking on social media, trawling the SPCA and animal rescue pages for the “right dog”.

Finding The One

And our hearts broke over and over again, seeing the hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs across the country that had been abused, discarded, were unwanted and unloved, with the saddest eyes just crying out for love and a home. How on earth could we pick one over another? How could we just scroll over those faces? We had to arrive at the realisation that we couldn’t rescue them all but we could adopt one and change his or her world – and make place in the shelter for one more lost soul to be rescued.

Somewhere, somehow, we came across the adoption photos of Jack, a Husky-mix of about five years of age who was staying at the Springs SPCA – thanks to Cristina, who really puts a lot of effort into networking their animals via Facebook through the most beautiful photos and descriptions. We both had something of a “gotcha” moment!

We had a feeling that this was him – this was the dog for us! However, the SPCA has a policy that requires potential adopters to visit the dog they are interested in, so we threw caution to the wind, upped and drove the five hours from Bloemfontein to Springs so that we could meet Jack.

And we fell in love with him.

Bringing our little man home

But, like good, rational adults, we went home and spent a couple of days chatting about it. Neither of us had ever had a Husky before, so we read up extensively about the breed to figure out whether we would be able to provide for all his particular needs and quirks.

And we decided to go for it! We sent through the adoption forms and what followed was something of a bureaucratic headache, mediating between different animal welfares to process the paperwork and do the home inspections. Nevertheless, thanks to the advice and support from various individuals at different organisations, it was sorted out within about a week and Jack was sent off for his mandatory sterilisation. Again, we shifted work commitments around so that we could drive the five hours through to Springs to bring our little man home!

He’d been picked up as a stray and was extremely thin, just skin and bones under a huge double coat that was full of matts and tangles, and we didn’t know what issues he might have. But his eyes laughed up at us and we just knew that everything was worth it. So we lifted him up into the car and brought our “Buddy G” (after Buddy Guy, a blues guitarist and singer) all the way to Sweet Home Bloemfontein (with apologies to Buddy Guy!).

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Soul Mate

Buddy has been with us for nearly two weeks and can only be described as the greatest blessing imaginable for us. Initially, he didn’t know what “inside” was, or that he was allowed in the house. He didn’t know what dog beds or blankets were, wanting only to lie on the bricks outside. He also didn’t know what love and attention was. He didn’t know what “play” was. He was terrified of being hit and cringed if he thought someone was lifting a hand to him.

But, within a week, he realised that he loves to cuddle with us when we’re in bed, sleep on blankets on the couch or on his numerous dog beds, and wants to leap into our arms from joy if we’ve been gone from the house for even an hour! He is kind, gentle and sweet, and keeps himself busy around the house with all his bones and toys.

Buddy is the most amazing running partner and has been jogging with us every morning since he’s been here; he’s already completed two trail runs! This despite being warned when we picked him up that he didn’t know how to walk on a leash. He is, in fact, so well-behaved with us that we’re able to regularly walk him down to our favourite coffee shop, where he’s met donkeys and chickens, and lies quite happily next to us while we drink our coffee.

He has bonded closely with Mark. A couple of days ago, Mark bought Buddy his first nametag (with name and phone number) and on the cover it says “Soul Mate”.

The love of this rescue dog is something we could never have dreamt of in a million years. He is a gift, a Soul Mate, our Buddy G.

Thank you to everyone who helped in bringing us together: Cristina Domingues, Husky Rescue South Africa, Springs SPCA, and Bloemfontein SPCA. I know you all do the most amazing work with animals, usually with limited funding and having to rely on donations from the public. Thank you for your love and care for the vulnerable and needy animals in our society, of which there are too many, and know that the work you do doesn’t go unappreciated.

Roxanne Grobler, Trainee Inspector at Springs SPCA, shares…  

On one of my weekend kennel checks, I passed the most beautiful dog; at first glance he looked like a wolf! He had eyes that looked into your soul and you couldn’t help but surrender to the pureness and sweetness of his face. He didn’t understand why he was in these kennels. I reassured myself that he was a gorgeous dog and that he would be claimed; he would not be here long!

I looked at his matted coat and could not help but wonder what had happened to him. A dog – a helpless, innocent animal – left without a home, without a person. It was heartbreaking. He understood my emotions; he tilted his head as I told him, “You are a good boy! There is nothing wrong with you and I am so sorry people are so cruel!”

Eventually days went by with no one coming to claim Jack and I kind of got excited because, with every day that went past with him unclaimed, he was closer to being moved up for adoption so he could find his forever home. This specific dog stole a huge chunk of my heart and it’s so hard not to get attached to the animals that come in, but there is always one that crawls in and the paw prints will always remain there. I loved his smile and his funny underbite! He was never unhappy; he was always a ball of sunshine. When told he’d been adopted, all I thought was, “I told you so my boy. I knew this day would come.”

The name Buddy is absolutely perfect because he was like a friend to me. All dogs are a shoulder to cry on; you can tell them anything and they will never judge or repeat anything. All they will do is love you UNCONDITIONALLY. If that’s not a reason to love a dog, I don’t know what is.

When you read this, you will see why it’s so much better to adopt. Every dog deserves a happy ending just like Buddy’s. Helen Cawood, I am so happy he has become part of the family; I could not imagine a better match!