Crinkle’s journey from tragedy to joy


Written by Claire Prahm and photography by Strike a Pose Photography

She was saved from death’s doorstep

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).

The dog had such terrible sarcoptic mange that she did not have a single hair left on her body. This left her with a very ‘crinkled’ appearance which is how she was affectionately named Crinkle by FORA’s shelter manager, Linda Scrace, who played a key role in nursing her back to health.

The first order of business when Crinkle arrived at FORA was to attend to her skin. She was treated to a soothing medicated bath to try and help her desperately painful skin. She was so grateful after the bath that she climbed into Linda’s lap and buried her head in Linda’s chest.

Joining the ride-along gang

Linda would take the most desperate cases home with her so that she could give them a little extra special care. Crinkle became one of her ‘ride along’ animals.

Every day Linda would take Crinkle to the office where Crinkle would busy herself by playing with the other office dogs or puppy-sit some of the little ones. At night, she clambered into Linda’s car, joining the other ride-along gang members on the trip back to Linda’s home.

It took several months of dedicated care and treatment for her fur to grow back. Fortunately, aside from some scarring left by the severe mange, she made a full recovery.

Meeting Miss Personality

Crinkle quickly became known for her crazy antics. As Linda put it – she was FORA's ‘biggest puppy’. She had an amazing joyous spirit and her hilarious facial expressions made her a favourite with FORA volunteers and Facebook supporters alike. Linda often says that Crinkle has ‘the face that can launch a thousand smiles’.

I’d been following Crinkle’s progress right from the beginning so I knew of her, but had never actually met her until the 28th of March 2016. I met her quite unexpectedly while volunteering at FORA. I’d been walking dogs for about 3 hours, so I decided to sit down and take a break when, all of a sudden, Crinkle came up to me and buried her face in my chest.

Honouring Hobie

This act of burying her head in my chest really reminded me of my dog, Hobie, who I’d lost to cancer in 2014. Hobie would bury her head in my chest all the time, and she too had a tragic start in life before I managed to rescue her (Hobie’s rescue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWvOAHzGAmc&t=1s ).

Hobie like Crinkle, despite the terrible cruelty and suffering she endured, also showed how dogs can forgive and let their beautiful personalities shine through. After this meeting, Crinkle was often on my mind. So, when FORA made an appeal for a home for Crinkle in June 2016, I decided that it was meant to be. I would adopt her in honour of Hobie. On the 4th of June 2016, the previously crinkled dog joined my family, bringing my pack up to 5!

Crinkle’s Healthy, Happy, Home

Crinkle has blossomed in her new home. She loves to play with her equally high energy younger ‘sisters’; it’s a fantastic sight to witness as they have a blast chasing each other around the garden. I also take the younger dogs to the park together so they can play and tire each other out. Crinkle’s main activity at the park is to try and intercept (aka foil) her sister Poppy’s attempts to catch the ball. She can’t run quite as fast as Poppy so she tries to position herself halfway to give herself a chance. If she manages to get close to Poppy when Poppy is tearing after the ball, she gets so excited she squeaks with joy. The first time I heard it, I thought one of the dogs had been hurt, but now I know it’s just Crinkle bursting with excitement. 

After the youngsters are suitably tired, I take the older two on retractable leads as my spaniel is going blind and deaf. With the retractable lead, she still has 8m to explore off the path, but I can at least make sure she does this in safety. She still gets to experience her little world of smells and can even wade into the dam if she wants to.

Crinkle did need to have some major dental work done. Her lower canine broke requiring extraction’; while under anaesthetic, it was discovered that she needed a total of 7 extractions. After her dental surgery, she became even happier and livelier. She has even more of a ‘healthy’ appetite, although I refuse to let her get fat because I intend to let Crinkle live a healthy long life with me!

With exercise and space, Crinkle’s physical condition has continued to improve. She gets along with all the other dogs at home and in the park. Crinkle has decided that she sleeps in my bed; this was from day one and who am I to argue? Despite her size, she is also quite the lap dog.

Crinkle is a true survivor and has captured my heart. I am so fortunate to have this lovely girl in my life.