Written by Martin Swart
Professional photography by Alicia Thomas and Meraki Photos
Oliver’s mother and five tiny siblings lay in the road, callously run over by a speeding driver and left for dead.
My friend was working as a foot soldier for a corporate brand in Orange Farm, a severely impoverished community near Johannesburg, on the 31st of August when she saw the horrifying sight of the deceased dogs.
The lady of the house was lounging on the step watching the remaining two puppies running around; there was no fence to keep them from meeting the same fate as the rest of their family.
My friend pleaded with the owner to give her the puppies, but she stubbornly refused. Later that afternoon my friend, unable to forget them, returned to reason with her again. Eventually, she relented and my friend went to pick them both up; it was only then that she discovered that, sadly, one of the pups was in fact also dead.
But all was not well with the sole surviving pup. My friend called me from the car, very worried, as the little orphan was vomiting and shaking badly.
We met her at North Rand Animal Hospital, where it was discovered that the poor boy had Biliary (tick bite fever); he was also seriously undernourished. Oliver, as we named him, was treated for a day, all ticks removed, and left in my care. We were super-happy for two weeks, but then he fell ill again.
We rushed him to back to the vet only to discover that he had Parvo (Canine parvo virus), a potentially deadly infection in young puppies. A very emotional five days followed as I visited him twice a day while he fought for his life.
Finally, he was free to come home, all better and ready to take on the world. He travels with me, sleeps in my bed and has the best life a dog could want.
At the beginning of 2018 I began to feel that Oliver needed a brother. We’d been looking but most of the pups like him had already been adopted. Then, one Monday, my MD tagged me in a post by SPCA Louis Trichardt about a black-and-tan Dachshund, Niklas, who was up for adoption. I immediately called the mobile number and spoke to Ashley, who explained the adoption process and sent through all the paperwork, which I completed the same day.
The SPCA Boksburg did the home inspection the next day on behalf of the Louis Trichardt branch and everything was set. Ashley and I spoke during the week as I was getting super-excited to fetch my new boy. I carefully planned the trip and, bright and early on Friday, Oliver and I tackled the four-and-a-half-hour drive to fetch Niklas.
We met Lesley and Ashley with Niklas and it was love at first sight. Because I was sleeping over in the area, Ashley and Lesley suggested a dinner date where all the fur kids could get to know each other. As we all became such good friends so quickly, we also met up for breakfast the next morning to say goodbye.
Today, both my boys are home and super-happy. They run around and play the whole day! Plus, I made some great new friends in these special people at SPCA Louis Trichardt.
By Alicia Thomas, Committee Member SPCA Louis Trichardt
Niklas joined our SPCA as a stray a few months ago. We searched every nook and cranny to find him and were flabbergasted that his previous owners were not missing their darling boy. He was such a friendly little guy.
Friends to be
Thankfully, little Niklas settled in very well and made friends really easily. Kennel life was a breeze for Niklas; we even considered adding him to our SPCA pack since he just got on with every pooch we introduced to him. But we still dreamed of sending him along to a real home where he’d become a valued member of a proper family.
This kept eluding us, but now we know why: he was waiting for Martin Swart to see his post on the Dachshund Rescue SA Facebook page.
Martin had rescued Oliver a short while ago; following a playdate with the neighbour’s little Dachshund, Oliver had taken to lying at the door, pining for his friend. Martin realised that he had to find that special prince that would become Oliver’s best buddy.
When he saw Niklas’s post, he promptly called our SPCA and got the ball rolling. The Boksburg SPCA kindly did the home inspection on our behalf and, not one to let the grass grow under his feet, Martin took Friday off to make the trip to Louis Trichardt, Oliver in tow.
Meeting Martin and Oliver
The meeting was the stuff dreams are made of: Oliver and Niklas hit it off immediately. We’d had no doubt that Niklas would make friends quickly and it was evident that little Olly is a happy, confident doggy who also gets on with everyone and anyone. It was really a joy to see these two dogs get to know each other.
Martin, Olly and Niki spent the night in Louis Trichardt (thank you Anri Fourie from 93 on Cilliers Guesthouse for allowing his ENTIRE family to stay over!). We met up with Martin and the boys for dinner at Grasdak Pub & Kitchen (another thank you to Igmar Loock for being absolutely dog-friendly) – and the Swart family got to meet a few of our pooches too as Elvis and Lilly-Mae joined us.
After breakfast the next morning at Hennetjie’s Nes, with all the dogs in attendance again, we bid the party a fond farewell. We knew there could be no better place for Niklas. Martin and Oliver were always meant to be his family – life just took a few crooked turns.
Check out the video of Niklas’s journey on Vimeo: Niklas Adoption (https://vimeo.com/283758652)
About SPCA Louis Trichardt
Located in the Makhado district in Limpopo province, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Louis Trichardt serves this town and surrounding areas. They aim to alleviate the suffering of all animals and focus on sterilisations and education. Read more in our article about this great organisation here: Happy Tales SPCA Louis Trichardt (https://www.happytailsmagazine.co.za/news-articles/spca-louis-trichardt/)