Our Ouvrou


Ouvrou getting a cuddle from Charmaine's husband, Peter Booysens

Written by Charmaine Booysens of The 9th Day Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming Centre

WHAT DO AN AIRPORT AND A ROADHOUSE HAVE IN COMMON? One small doggy running scared for three weeks…

A few weeks back we were alerted about a stray Fox Terrier in the parking area of Lanseria Airport. According to security guards, the dog had jumped out of a car that was dropping people off at the airport’s Drop-Off Zone. The so-called owner told the guards that he’d give them R2000 if they managed to catch the dog. He didn’t supply them with either his name or contact number and hasn’t been seen since. Now, had this been my dog, I would’ve slept in the parking area if I’d had to.

Needless to say, Monday morning we took off for the airport picturing a quick trip that would end with us returning with a little Fox Terrier. Well, well, well… were we in for a surprise! The four days that followed tested our abilities, our faith, our patience and our persistence.

Runaway pooch

Every passing second of every hour, we had this little white-and-black dog on our minds. We spent the better part of that day pacing around the parking area with Burger Box Roadhouse Russians (sausages) but, alas, had to return home without even seeing the dog. We left a trap and prayed that we’d get a call from the security guards saying that the doggy was in the trap. On Tuesday morning we “clocked in” with KFC and Russian sausages after the guards phoned to say they’d spotted her twice.

Finally, we saw the dog. And what a heartbreaking sight it was. She – yes, this was a little girl doggy – scurried off and hid the moment she heard an airport “golf cart” coming. And she wouldn’t come near us at all. We sat, we crawled, we lay down flat on the ground – nothing worked. She wouldn’t even look at the KFC but the Russians did the trick.

After a long time and with oodles of patience, we eventually got her to eat out of our hands… but the instant she saw any movement, off she ran. The security guards wanted to assist but the poor thing got such a fright that she bolted – right out of the airport parking lot. Our hearts sank: it felt like everything we’d achieved had just gone down the drain and we had no choice but to leave the airport with heavy hearts.

They feared the worst

On Wednesday our first stop was obviously Burger Box to stock up on Russian sausages. This time around the security guards hadn’t seen our doggy and we feared the worse: what if she didn’t come back? After searching for one-and-a-half hours, we finally spotted her – what a relief. We’d put some sedatives in the sausages but they were not strong enough for her; we only realised this when we tried to pick her up and she bolted. Yes, you guessed it – exiting the parking area yet again.

Yet another day we returned home empty-handed, heavy-hearted, and to another sleepless night filled with worries: how are we going to help this girl? She doesn’t even go close to the trap. There is just no way that you can catch her; the area is too big. What do we do? Will she return tonight? What if she doesn’t?

Making contact

I made contact with Tammy, an animal communicator, explaining the situation and asking her to please “connect” with this girl. Firstly, I needed to know that she was okay and if she was back in the parking area. Secondly, she needed her to know that we wanted to help her. As promised, Tammy connected with “our” little runaway.

She showed Tammy a silver fence and a yellow board with the letter “C” in black, indicating that she was safe and in that area. She also communicated that she didn’t trust easily and that the reason she was staying was in the hope that her owner would come and fetch her. Tammy explained to her that we were there to help and that she could trust us.

Tammy also told me that I needed to stay calm; our girl was picking up on my anxiety. She did a calming exercise with me, telling me to stay calm no matter what. I had no idea how to stay calm if the guards didn’t spot her! But we were not giving up.

A doggy caught napping

Off we went again, stopping en route at the Burger Box as usual. Now, this is where the “goose bumps stuff” starts. As we drove into the parking area we took a drive around looking for a yellow board with a letter “C”. Not seeing anything, we decide to go to Long Term Parking (where we’d found her each time previously, although the guards hadn’t as yet seen her). As we stopped at the boom to enter, the first car on our right had a big yellow sticker on it – with the letter “C” in black.

On the right-hand side of Long Term Parking, there’s a fence running all the way down. Still, I was a bit sceptical – after all, nobody had actually seen our girl. As we kept driving and walking up and down the parking bays, I just kept on praying. And, lo and behold, my daughter Nikita waved at us: our girl was right there, asleep in the shade! We couldn’t believe it. When she saw her, Nikita decided that the little dog looked like a Mia – and so, that was her name.

Mia seemed very nervous; she didn’t want to take the Russians from my mom or from Nikita. Trying for hours, I did the exercise Tammy had done with me earlier and, when the time was right, decided to “move in”. And, yep, you guessed it: little Miss Mia ate the sausages from out of my hands. Just like that.

Again, we’d laced them with sedatives; this time stronger ones. I talked to Mia the whole time, telling her how beautiful she was, how we loved her, and that we only wanted to help. It was almost like Mia would sit completely still and listen to me; almost as if she understood. After what felt like hours, Mia was getting drowsy from the sedative and we saw our window of opportunity. We swooped in and grabbed her with a blanket, slipped a leash around her neck, and that was that. Tears rolled freely down our faces. Mia was safe.

Miss Mia

We’ve since changed her name to Ouvrou (“old lady”) and she loves it. She’s around six years old and we’re working with her to help her regain her trust in humans. Although she’s technically up for adoption, in all honestly we’re not really looking. She’s happy where she is and we don’t mind having her.

We have so many “thank yous”. Thank you to Trish Govender who alerted us about this girl. Thank you Tammy De Oliveira for your communication, which played a massive part in her rescue. Thank you Minette Vos, Jennifer Pieterse and Nikita (my daughter, my rescue buddy) – I could never have done this without you.

Burger Box Roadhouse, your Russian sausages are flippin’ amazing – Mia will vouch for that. Never have I thought that I’d be so grateful for a roadhouse and its Russians.

And to Ouvrou, our angel, I promise that a better life awaits you!