Jabu’s Story


Written by Wendy Crowe

It has been six months since our darling Ridgeback, Runde, went to heaven. David and I were devastated as he was such a handsome, well-bred “gentleman”. A happy dear soul totally devoted to David. Although we wanted to adopt another Ridgeback, and David scrolled through the rescue website almost every day, I kept saying, “l’m not ready.”

We are in our seventies and our new Ridgie needed to be not too young; he should be well trained and gentle. This is quite a tall order when you’re adopting and may not know too much about the dog…

Finding our new furry family member

The situation continued like this with David falling in love with every Ridgie on the website until we became aware of an abandoned three-year-old purebred male at Lower South Coast SPCA, Uvongo. This beautiful dog had been picked up by the SPCA as a stray and never been claimed. He had become depressed and was slowly shutting down.

Liz Penprase, of Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue, contacted my daughter Jennifer and asked her if we would consider adopting this desperate animal. Liz sent a picture of him in his kennel at the SPCA; the poor soul looked so sad.

The moment I saw him l was reminded of our dear Runde. I told David that it was exactly the way Runde looked before we adopted him. From then on we became determined to rescue him.

Already booked

To our dismay, when we called the SPCA Lower South Coast we were told that someone else was interested – and a “doggie home inspection” had been booked; they would let us know what happened. Discovering that he may no longer be available, we became more and more convinced that he was meant for us.

I called the office the next morning to be told that the home test had been passed but that the home was in East London. Not only would he have to be flown there, which is against adopting rules, but the people had not even met him – also an adoption rule.

We were urged by Liz to urgently make the trip to Uvongo to meet the dog with the object of adopting; this would mean we’d fulfilled both requirements for adoption. Determined to not give up, we dashed to Uvongo to finally meet Jabu.

Meeting a sad soul

We were shown Jabu (although, at that stage, he didn’t have a name). The big, gentle dog just gazed at us with no emotion, then turned resignedly and went to the back of his kennel. Richard the kennel man went in and brought him out so that we could get to know him.

Richard then took us to a small enclosure where we could pat, stroke and be close to him. He suddenly came straight up to David and gave two big licks on his neck and cheeks. From that moment I could see from David’s face that they had bonded.

It was decided. We hurried back to the office and said we wanted to adopt immediately and take him home with us. We didn’t want to wait another minute! However, this wasn’t possible until a home inspection was done so we returned home to the Midlands (a 3-hour drive!) without our boy.

Bringing Jabu home

Early the next morning – a Friday – Howick SPCA called to say that their inspector would be visiting at 10am. We passed the home check with flying colours. It was too late to drive back to Uvongo so, with great anxiety, we waited another day, wondering if he would still be there!

Saturday morning finally dawned and we set off first thing with a denim doggie bed made up in the back of the Subaru (which had been specially bought so we could have a big dog). It was pouring with rain so the going was slow – just when we were in a hurry to get there and fetch our new family member.

Finally we arrived. Papers were signed, adoption fee paid (surprisingly little for such a beautiful, purebred, well-mannered gentleman) and, after having numerous photographs taken by the delighted SPCA staff, David walked him to the car. No coaxing was needed; he jumped straight in.

On the drive, I could see that David was very happy as Jabu kept popping his head over to give him licks.

When we got to our farm, Jabu was immediately at home. He ate all his biscuits and went to sleep on his denim bed in our bedroom. From the very beginning, he just belonged. My daughter and her Ridgie, Leo, has been with us for Christmas and there has been much happiness as the two Ridgies played as only Ridgebacks know how!

I can only say how happy we all are and our only sadness was that he had to spend so long in that lonely kennel waiting for us. Never again will he be left alone – we are so overjoyed to have him as a member of our family.

We named him Jabu, short for Jabulani, which means “rejoice”.