Written by Zilla Brown and photography by Marizanne Ferreira
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.
Winning his trust
Concerned residents tried to catch him, but he was very skittish and just darted away. They left food and water for him but it was bitterly cold, so I decided to set up a make-shift kennel where he normally lay. He promptly made himself at home and at least we knew he was warm and fed.
Slowly, slowly I began to win the frightened little dog’s trust until one happy day he followed me right into my cottage (of course, pieces of sausage did the trick). Once inside, the little guy jumped onto my bed and into my arms. He was in good condition and only about a year old; he was obviously somebody’s pet and seemed so happy to have human contact.
Although our village does allow pets, it would not permit a stray on the premises and I already have my little rescue dog, Muffin, so, sadly, I couldn’t even try to keep him.
Four months at the shelter
Next best thing… I called my friends at Port Elizabeth Animal Welfare Society and they opened their doors to him. So, off he went, well-provided with food, jackets, etc. for the winter chill. Although I put up posters all around the vicinity and called all the retirement villages nearby, no one ever claimed Dino.
For the next four months, Dino stayed at Animal Welfare, who looked after him amazingly well. Every Saturday I went to visit him, taking him for walks, giving cuddles and, of course, treating him to his favourite treat: sausages.
During his time there, he learned to socialise with people again, as well as other dogs, cats, and even horses. They kept trying to find a forever home, never giving up, but, sadly, despite many attempts, this did not happen; as we know, people look for power breeds, pure breeds, puppies, and cute little fluffy dogs – and Dino is none of those.
He is just a totally lovable, intelligent cuddlebunny.
A dream come true for Dino
And then the miracle happened: my family, the Pays, had just moved to a beautiful smallholding in Theescombe, Port Elizabeth; they were willing to welcome him into their home provided he passed the meet-n-greet with their four dogs.
So, I found myself taking little Dino for his big moment – and he passed with flying colours all around. He now has four humans, four dogs and four horses as family and he just loves it there. My granddaughter Kristen is now his designated “mom”.
Dino absolutely loves cuddles, enjoys sleeping sleep on beds and lounging on couches, and runs like the wind on the “farm”.
I feel blessed to have played such a special part in this amazing happy ending for this little lost dog who is lost no more. And the best of all is that I get to see him now and again, and continue to be part of his life too!
Dino’s new owner (my granddaughter), Kristen Pay, shares…
I was so grateful when I heard I would be getting another doggie and when I met Dino, I was all the more excited.
Life with Dino is amazing. He is so full of life and energy and loves to run around and play with his new friends, Olivia, Munton, Bella and Buddy.
He loves to play chase, where I run and he runs after me. He can be a handful in the mornings when we have to leave for work and school, because his favourite thing to do is run away from us when we’re trying to catch him and put him back in the house. He’s sneaky.
He loves cuddles and sleeping in my arms at night. I love my new best friend, Dino, and look forward to having many adventures with him!