My blessing named Polly


Written by Pier Rush

Around August of 2015, I happened to be browsing through Facebook when I came across a heartbreaking and shocking picture of a badly neglected rescued white-and-brindle dog. I follow so many rescue organisations worldwide and do my best to share pictures and stories, but I usually avoid looking at any photos as it physically makes my heart ache. For some reason, on this day, the picture caught my eye and I was emotionally drawn to continue reading her story. This is the day I “met” Polly…

She had a long road of recovery ahead

The huddled Staffordshire Terrier mix was in an emaciated and mange-infested state, covered in scars and wounds, and had been dumped on a riverbank where she was rescued by CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare). She had a long road of recovery ahead of her but I could see in her big, dark eyes a strength and a will that instantly humbled me. It also drove me to message my friend at CLAW and ask them to remember me should Polly need a home in the future. To be honest, this was not a logical call to make given that I live in Cape Town and Polly was in Johannesburg… For one thing, it meant we couldn’t even do a trial introduction with my three dogs (two of which are large), which already formed a healthy, well-integrated pack.

In September, after many updates on little Polly’s progress and the kindness of arranging a flight for her through “Flying Animals” – generously sponsored by Taren Welthagen – I was given Polly’s arrival date in Cape Town. It was to be on my 45th birthday, and what a birthday present it would be!

Part of the gang

We couldn’t have anticipated the day with more excitement! We went to fetch her at the airport and saw a scared little girl peering at us through the box window. Little did she know that that would be the last time she would ever have to be scared. We whisked her out and just hugged her. Simultaneously, her tail started wagging and I can tell you that it hasn’t stopped wagging since.

On arrival back home, after letting her stretch her legs and explore the yard a bit, we let out seven-year-old Ridgeback-Dalmatian Lola, five-year-old Bull Terrier Neo, and 15-year-old Jack Russell-Toy Pom Jojo. There was plenty of sniffing, much wagging of tails, and then it was off into the garden as one happy pack. That’s how easy the meeting went. It was clearly meant to be.

Her journey with my two teenage sons and me has been a blessing; nothing short of that. She’s brought us insurmountable joy and is a constant reminder about forgiveness and trust, both of which she’s bestowed upon all mankind – the very mankind that tried to break her and left her for dead.

Her life’s purpose is to love and be loved

You may ask how Polly is now – a year-and-a-half later. She is so well! She sleeps in my son’s bed every night; during the day she can be found lounging on the couch or keeping me company when I work from home. Her favourite place is the beach! Her expression is one of total joy and she loves chasing the beach sand that gets kicked up as you walk, not to mention having a good swim with me. Polly is my shadow. She looks up at me with utter delight and she makes me smile. Such a zest for life! Bringing her home has been peaceful every step of the way, not to mention such an outpouring of love from her. She wants to climb INTO you to love her more. Her purpose in life is just to love and be loved, which I have promised her will always be her life from the day we picked her up from the airport.

I am thankful every day for this little precious girl called Polly. She is a blessing – MY blessing…

Finally, I can’t stress enough that there is a need for everyone to support rescue organisations and adopt, adopt, adopt! The love of a rescued animal, I have no doubt, is a privilege and a blessing. By supporting organisations such as CLAW, who give of their time and their hearts and souls to help all needy animals, you’re giving these animals hope and love. At the same time, you too get to be loved by them and shown what forgiveness is all about.

CLAW, thank you for giving us little Polly.

CLAW Director Taren Welthagen shares how Polly’s story started…

Polly was found hog-tied, emaciated and starving on the banks of the Kliprivier; concerned citizens had called CLAW to help her. She was absolutely terrified, riddled with bite marks and scabs that told their own tale of the horrors she must have endured. Who knows why she was discarded. Was it because she wouldn’t fight? Or that her usefulness to the people that had her had reached its limitations?

One thing we did know is that, despite her horrific condition and terror, Polly wanted to love and be loved. We’d posted a pic of her on our Facebook page and it wasn’t long before my long-time friend, Pier, got in touch saying that she would love to offer Polly a home. We were thrilled! I honestly couldn’t think of a better person or home to place her in.

Polly’s recovery was remarkable; her skin improved, she gained weight and confidence. It wasn’t long before she was ready to move to her forever home, and I arranged to have Polly flown to Cape Town in time for my darling friend’s birthday. She stayed with me the night before her flight – how wonderful it was to have her in the house, fat, glossy and joyful. The morning of her flight arrived and all went according to plan. By that afternoon, I had a tearful and overjoyed Pier on the line – Polly had arrived safely… and it truly was love at first sight.  

The rest, as they say, is history. Polly has gone from strength to strength and has never looked back.