Written by Mieke de Villiers / photographs courtesy of Beeld
It was a normal day at my husband’s plant nursery in 2011. We’d noticed a chocolate Labrador and a Rottweiler running through the nursery, having a ball of a time. Being very friendly, we’d assumed it must have been a client’s pets who had come along for the day.
Come lunchtime it was very quiet and we noticed that the Rottweiler was gone but the Labrador had stayed behind. We asked the clients who were there but no one claimed him. We kept him in the office and gave him some water, as he was very dehydrated. When closing time arrived and no one came looking for their dog, we decided to take him to the vet as his paws were injured.
We named him Rolo
Whilst at the vet we asked him to look for a chip, but none could be found. We took him home with us and started advertising him as a “found” dog. The weeks passed and nobody claimed him. He integrated into our family beautifully and, since no owner had stepped forward, we decided to keep him. We named him Rolo and he brought absolute joy to our household.
Soon after Rolo joined our family, my husband and I fell pregnant. He kept watch over me, never leaving my side when I was in the garden. Our beautiful daughter was born and they became fast friends from the day she arrived home. Our son followed soon afterwards and we decided Rolo needed a friend too, so we introduced a black Labrador into our little family at the end of February 2016. Our family unit was now complete.
Rolo was a cover star
Unfortunately, in December 2016, while doing some construction on our house, someone left the gate open and Rolo ran away. Our hearts were shattered. We looked for him everywhere but could find no trace. After two weeks had passed and we still hadn’t heard anything, we began to expect the worst.
Early on Tuesday morning on the 17th of January, we received a phone call from a friend saying that Rolo was on the front page of Beeld! She immediately sent the article through to us and, when we saw it, we couldn’t believe our eyes: there he was.
It turned out that whoever had picked him up had taken him to Wollies Animal Project. They scanned him and, incredibly, found a microchip from the previous owner who had lost him five years before – even though it hadn’t scanned the first time. (Strangely, the chip we’d had inserted didn’t show up.) She contacted Beeld, looking for the people who had looked after him so well for the past five years.
We made contact and she brought him back to us that very same day. I don’t know who was happier between Rolo, our other Labrador and my daughter, but the energy was infectious. Everyone was so happy to see each other! Thank you to the lady who brought him back and the amazing team at Beeld who advertised him; we all had a giggle at how the whole story came to be.
Our family is once again complete. Now we keep an eagle eye on the gate and, with his new collar and microchip, we will make sure we never lose him again.