Written by Anita Abrahams and photography by Andrew Waltman
Two weeks had passed and there was still no sign of our George.
Those two weeks were beyond nerve-racking. We posted all over Facebook and Gumtree, made and put up posters, called and visited the SPCA – literally everything we were advised to do and could think of. People would call me and tell me they’d found George only for us to be more disappointed that it wasn’t him at all. What made our family, and especially our young girls, even sadder was the fact that George is epileptic; we were terrified that he’d have a seizure and have no one around to help him. All I could think of was our George being cold, hungry, dehydrated, having a seizure, or worse… being injured, killed, or someone bad had snatched him.
Could it be George?
Out of the blue one evening, a man called my cell phone at around 6pm. Afraid to hear more bad news, I handed the phone to my husband. While looking for a job on Gumtree, the man had seen our ad about George; he claimed that he’d been taking care of George for two weeks. We then asked for a picture of George to double check it really was him. He sent us a picture via sms and… it was George! We were elated!
The man then sent us a text message stating he would gladly return George to us and asking whether a reward was involved as he had spent quite a bit of money taking care of him. Without hesitation we said “absolutely!” – we would pay a reward. It was originally agreed that he would drop George off at our house, but then an hour later he sent another sms saying that the trains were no longer running from Fish Hoek to Bellville.
We found it really strange that someone would take a train so late at night as we’d assumed that he had a car, especially since he insisted on bringing George back to us as opposed to us collecting him. The situation sounded weird, so my husband and I eventually decided to drive to Fish Hoek to collect George – at a public location, of course, just to be safe, as we didn’t know this man from a bar of soap.
I tried calling several times
Whilst driving, I tried calling the man several times just to make sure he understood where to meet us, but we got no answer. As we went, we drove on a few main roads just in case we saw him walking with George. We drove for about an hour and a quarter before the mystery man returned my call. We met him at a petrol station in Fish Hoek, by which time it was already approaching 10pm.
We were surprised to see a skinny destitute man with long blonde hair dressed like a backpacker. He said that he’d been walking around our neighbourhood in Boston, Bellville, looking for work and had found George roaming the streets. He went knocking from door to door to find his owner but no one would open their doors to him. Not knowing what else to do, he decided to take George with him. He and George had basically been roaming the streets for two weeks; when George got tired of walking, he’d put him on top of his back pack to rest. Somehow they ended up in Fish Hoek and that’s when he spotted our ad on Gumtree.
Close to tears
On handing George over, he was literally close to tears – and so were we. George was so well looked after, with not a scratch on his body, although he had a little smiley face drawn with some kind of paint or chalk on the brown spot on this back. He’d been well taken care of and was as happy at ever!
When we told him how grateful we were for saving George, his words to us were, “No, I didn't save his life; he saved mine.” He said people would walk past them, mention how cute George was and then offer them both food, and that’s how he’d survived; he’d even been handed a leash by a passer-by. Apparently some people even took pictures of them. The man had named George “Dude”.
I blessed him and thanked him with a monetary reward. He said he was going to get himself a dog and would use half the money for that. George had been his companion all this time and he wanted to know if he could visit him some time. We offered to help him find a dog of his own and agreed that he should keep in touch.
Driving all the way from Bellville to Fish Hoek was entirely worth it! Don’t give up if you’ve lost a pet; do everything you can to advertise and look. Miracles DO happen.
I just want to thank each and every one on Facebook for their support in helping us find George and especially to Kim Marais from Durbanville Pets Lost and Found Facebook page for sending me all the tips in finding our dog. And, of course, George’s rescuer, the man who cared for him so well for two weeks.
Thank you. You are all super amazing!