Lucky Lewis

15th Sep, 2017

Written by Steve Hazelden, Erma Voigt and Avril Culverwell

Less than a month after his second birthday and at the start of the Father’s Day long weekend, little Peanut found himself all alone at the vet in Graaff-Reinet. His owners had requested that he be put to sleep because he’d managed to escape their yard.

Networking for Peanut

Luckily for him, the lady at the vet decided to contact Camdeboo Sterilisation Initiative (CSI) to ask if they could find Peanut a new, safe home. So, with his previous owners’ consent, he was surrendered to CSI.

CSI’s Erma Voigt arranged for fellow member Sandi to foster little Peanut; she could not bear to see this cute, sweet, loving little boy with his amazingly awesome personality in a kennel in winter. She then contacted Avril Culverwell of Yorkie Rescue South Africa to ask if she could try and find Peanut a home.

Luckily, Avril thought immediately of me in Strand, Western Cape. She knew I was very keen as we’d tried to adopt another Yorkie just weeks before, but it had found a home closer to where it was. She called me on the Thursday evening and asked if I would take Peanut. The answer was “yes” long before she had finished her question.

The long road from Graaff-Reinet

Faced with the problem of getting him the over-650km from Graaff-Reinet to Strand, I turned to Facebook. The heartbreaking picture of Peanut behind bars – the first photo I’d seen of him – seemed to be a good choice for the request. I posted a plea asking for a lift for Peanut.

At first, we managed to find a lift a few weeks later to Cape Town, from where we’d still need to get him to Strand (another 50km plus); then a friend of mine tagged a friend of his who happened to be in Graaff-Reinet for the weekend at a model airplane flying show.

Michael later told me he was watching rugby when he received a notification that he’d been tagged. He opened the post to see Peanut’s big, dark eyes gazing out from behind bars. Michael immediately replied that he’d gladly give Peanut a lift home… the very next day. Best of all, it turned out that the offices where Michael worked were less than a kilometre away from our house. Peanut would just about be delivered to our doorstep.

Erma contacted Michael and plans were made. Sunday morning arrived and we received pictures from Erma of Peanut leaving his foster Mum with Michael on his long trip home. Throughout the day we received messages from Erma and updates from Michael. I posted every photo and message onto Facebook so that all those who’d shared my plea for a lift could now watch as we followed Peanut’s progress across the provinces…

Little bundle of love

The evening arrived and we got word that Michael and Gareth were close by. Talana and I excitedly drove to the arranged meeting spot at least 15 minutes early and sent a message asking when they would be arriving. Michael replied that they’d be there soon and joked that he’d decided to keep Peanut as he was so lovely; after assuring him that they could visit any time, he agreed to hand over Peanut.

And, finally, here arrived this confused little bundle of love. Passed from Michael to Talana he just calmly lay in her arms. In the car on the journey back to our house we tried to explain to him that his long ordeal was over and he would soon be home. He lay there lovingly curled up in Talana’s lap – where he belongs.

We now have five dogs; four are adopted rescues, three of which are Yorkies. Dogs are the dearest creatures on earth and we’re just personally mad about the big attitudes Yorkies have. Peanut, whom we’ve now renamed Lewis, is the sweetest little soul you could imagine and has fitted in so well with the others. He and his new older brother, Stuart, spend hours each day playing together.

From the bottom of our hearts, Talana and I would like to thank all those people who made it possible for little Lewis to be a part of our lives. Lewis was the best “Father’s Day present” ever!

Erma Voigt, Liaison Officer of Camdeboo Sterilisation Initiative shares…

CSI was started in 2012 by a small group of animal lovers with the main focus on trying to reduce animal suffering, neglect and abuse through sterilisation of domestic pets in mainly impoverished areas in and around Graaff-Reinet.

With the territory, inevitably comes the “Rescue and Rehoming” leg of operations. We can thus only express our gratitude to everyone in this chain of events to make Lewis’s miracle come true: the vets who wanted to avoid euthanasia, Sandi stepping up to foster, Avril from Yorkie Rescue SA sourcing this wonderful home, every person on Facebook who hit the “Share” button in order to find transportation, Michael and Gareth from Cape Town, who agreed to give Lewis a lift, and then, of course, Steve and Talana, who offered him the most pawesome home that a doggie’s heart could desire.

Such a happy and blessed outcome for this little fella – the stuff that “Happy Tales” are made of.

The activities of CSI and other Karoo Mutts in need of loving homes can be viewed on

Avril Culverwell of Yorkie Rescue South Africa shares…

When we hear of a Yorkie being put down because they escape, we shake our heads in dismay. This is the classic example of folk not understanding the breed and not giving the animal any time to adjust and be trained. 

Yorkies are actually work dogs, and are very inquisitive and usually on the hunt. So, if there’s not enough entertainment and care at home, they will certainly find a way in which to entertain themselves on a jaunt around the neighbourhood.

People think we’re insane when we do home checks and look for gaps in walls and fencing and next to gates that are bigger than three fingers! (Just as an aside, a Yorkie of 6kg can and will get through a gap just over three fingers.) They are exceptionally good climbers too. So stuff stacked next to a wall or a tree overhanging the next-door property is merely a stepping stone to a Yorkie with wanderlust.

On 15 June 2017, I received a networked email about this little guy called Peanut who was in jeopardy. As Steve has stated, I already had his application in my mind as he was so ardently looking to adopt from us and had been disappointed because the little chap he would have liked got homed in Gauteng. 

Steve had told me his story of his previous Yorkie who’d passed away. He said he’d been a real little Houdini and wanted to get out, so they’d beefed up their security and had a virtual Fort Knox where no escape artist would get out.

Erma and I chatted about the potential of Steve’s home; I sent her the application form for her to go through and be comfortable with the home I had on offer. We’d last worked together on an adoption in August 2016, so we had a clear understanding of what we both look for in a home.

I then called Steve and, as he rightly said, before I could finish and just as I took a breath, he chipped in and said, “We will have him – get him here right away!”

We started a WhatsApp Group called Get Peanut Home and added people who could offer transport. Steve had a friend who was in Oudtshoorn at the time and kindly offered the assistance we needed, and within 24 hours we’d secured transport for this little guy to get to his forever home.

All the elements were in place: Erma being proactive and knowing about Yorkie Rescue South Africa; Peanut being in trouble and needing a home; Steve being passionate about adopting another little Yorkie; a friend with a big heart to offer a lift. 

Success, once again, when two rescuers work in synergy to save another little life.