Caring for Kelsey


Written by Jaun Du Preez

"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.

A shock awaited Kelsey’s rescuers

Earlier this year - in June - I saw a photo of Kelsey in Rustenburg labelled as a ‘timid little girl’ who needed an urgent foster home as she couldn’t stay where she was. Coincidentally, we had just that previous week sent our first ever foster child to be adopted and there was a gap we needed to fill…That Sunday morning, I and my partner decided to get in the car and drive to Rustenburg to fetch this timid girl and foster her.

When we arrived in Rustenburg, we were met by the sight of what looked like a brown ball of fur running away, and then hiding in a corner, tail between the legs and head hidden underneath a bush. Could this really be the same dog we saw that morning on Facebook? This dog was so much worse than just ’timid’… This dog couldn’t even make eye contact and was shivering, not from cold, but from utter terror. She had matted fur, was filthy dirty, and was clearly abused beyond comparison. We were met by a dog who was way beyond sad. The thing with Kelsey is that you can see in her eyes what emotion she is experiencing…

A dog with difficulties

When we finally got home, we discovered that we had a foster who did not want to be touched - ANYWHERE. She did not want you to pet her or pick her up. She snapped at our own fur children. Depressed, we sadly told Mandy Robinson of Spaniel Rescue South Africa that it wouldn’t work: this dog was just too timid and we didn’t think she would cope with our two dogs, who are accustomed to other dogs and get along with any animal or human (provided you do not mind to be licked to death).

Mandy searched for a foster home with no other dogs; this was a difficult case and no one could help. Finally, one day, I just decided to make them get used to each other. I let them all into the living room and, after sniffing each other’s butts and licking each other’s faces, it seemed that the ice was broken. Suddenly, there were the new Three Stooges in the flesh!

The big smile

Skip forward four months, during which there was a lot of attention, love, and cuddling for Kelsey, and she finally showed us her Colgate smile. On that day, I confirmed what I already I knew: Kelsey was not going anywhere anytime time soon.

One morning Kelsey was in bed with us; again, she did her smile. We messaged Mandy asking if she’d found any potential home yet. Mandy said that there was one but because of Kelsey’s history and issues they were no longer interested. I decided to drop the bomb: I told Mandy that Kelsey was a foster failure. Kelsey was already at her forever home on the day we went to pick her up; we just didn't know it yet. Perhaps she already knew?

At the end of the day, Kelsey has found her home with her two besotted dads and she is as happy as can be. The fear in her eyes has changed to love and her tail is constantly wagging. Yes, she still has a lot of issues - she still falls flat on her back when you approach her and she still does not allow you to touch her bum - but these are traits that will either go to the grave with her or take years to get over as she was neglected and abused daily. She still needs to comprehend she does not have that life any longer and she is safe now.

Kelsey grew onto us, probably because she wasn’t used to experiencing love, plus Mandy was struggling to find a forever home for this fur child as she was not a normal case. However, I believe she is perfect in every way - she just got a raw deal for the first five years of her life.

Kelsey is an adorable dog with the cutest under bite. From here on, she will spend the rest of her life in utter bliss living the life of a princess.