Mamma Mia

Written by Katja Herr of Staffordshire Terrier Rescue SA

Professional photography by Keith Lotz Photography                                                    

Mia and I crossed paths one day while I was on my way to Malmesbury. She was in a shocking condition and so heavily pregnant it looked like she was about to give birth any day. Exhausted and dehydrated, the brown-and-white dog was just skin and bone with a big, swollen belly. But that tail was wagging non-stop.

The best decision ever

She’d been through hell for years; her food was poor and sometimes she had none. She had no soft bed, no treats, no fresh water – just a terrible life left alone with other dogs and no one to love her. 

Though her dark-brown eyes held so much sadness, you could see hope and friendliness in them. Deep down you could see that it could only get better from this moment on. Her best decision ever was to make her way to the road and be found.

Perfect pups

Shortly after her rescue, Mia gave birth to a healthy litter of pups and she was the most amazing mommy – watching her lovingly and gently carrying her puppies was amazing to see. We made sure Mia had plenty of good food to support her.

She nurtured them until they were old enough to go to homes of their own, and we adopted them out to amazing homes (with very strict home checks and conditions in place for puppy and socialisation classes, as well as their sterilisation at six months). To this day, we receive heart-warming updates from the families about Mia’s babies. 

Soon after the puppies were homed, Mia was vaccinated and sterilised and had a thorough check-up by the vet, who found her to be in good health except for a slight skin condition and ear infection. 

She learnt to trust

We found the best foster home with Marylin and Billy Bredekamp; with lots of TLC, she soon learnt to trust again.

She adored the visits, treats and extra love as well as the outings for walks and the beach. But what she really loved most of all were car rides; she just could not get enough of them and loved the speed – as soon we hit a red robot Mia started to sing on as if she wanted to say: “Come on, man, let’s go!” Mia flourished into a pretty girl with a sparkle in her eyes and the most astounding smile. 

An amazing family for a wonderful dog

Soon it was time to find a forever home for our marvellous girl. It would have to be a special one. And, after a few applications and meet ‘n’ greets, we found one in the Gush family. Andria, Grant, Kiki and Matteo are the most amazing and loving family – and, best of all, they adore Mia.

She enjoys the ear rubs, long walks, and at least 35 hugs a day from her little human “sister”, Kiki. She is dearly loved and has settled in and gives the family oceans of love and loyalty. 

We wish Mia and her family many happy years to come. 

The right dog

Andria Gush, Mia’s new owner, had joined the Staffordshire Terrier Rescue Facebook page over a year ago, hoping that one day the right dog needing a loving home would appear.

“Grant and I had grown up with dogs and we wanted our kids to experience having a pet to care for too. I was immediately captivated by Mia’s smile and beautiful eyes. I showed my husband and we both felt we needed to meet this special girl.

“Katja arranged a few visits, first at the foster home and then at our place. Mia loved exploring our garden and was sniffing and investigating in and around every bush and tree.

“She was so gentle with the kids, despite never being exposed to children. All four of us felt that this was the perfect dog to complete our family. We went to fetch her on a Friday afternoon and all felt both a little anxious and excited at the same time, bringing her to her new home.”

Settling in

Fortunately, this easy-going dog settled into the Gush family’s routine quickly, helped along by Kiki and Matteo, who help care for Mia and share the responsibilities with their parents.

Mia is very much a family member. Says Andria, “We all worked together to teach her to sit within the first few weeks; the kids are so chuffed with themselves and Mia. She is such a clever girl. I knew she wasn’t used to having toys but I had no idea that she would bury every toy or hoof that we would give her! We’re now teaching her how to enjoy playing with her toys.

“Her favourite time of day is when we get her leash down for a walk – she starts wagging her tail like crazy. She’s still extremely excited when we get going on the walk but slows down her pace halfway as she tires.”

A few of her favourite things

This special dog, who started out with nothing in life, has quickly decided on her favourite things – and, in such a happy home, there are so many to choose from. Andria explains that everyone in the household, including their housekeeper, knows exactly what Mia’s faves are.

She particularly loves sunbathing and relaxing on one of her beds. “Everyone knows where Mia’s favourite resting spots are: she loves lying in the sun on her Hound Sleeper dog bed on the deck in the mornings, and in the afternoons she relaxes in the sun at the front door on the mat, waiting for the kids to come home. They can’t wait to get home and give her cuddles and tell her about their day at school.

“Mia absolutely adores her special new comfy bed and likes to fall asleep with a blanket draped over her whole body (including her head!).

“She has fitted into our family so easily and brings each family member such joy. She is such a peaceful and loving girl – lapping up every bit of affection and love. Thanks to Katja at Staffordshire Terrier Rescue SA for uniting us with our gorgeous girl.”

Find out more about Staffordshire Terrier Rescue SA on their Facebook page @ and read our article about this wonderful organisation here: