Rubble’s rags-to-riches story

1st Dec, 2017

Written by Katie Mey

Professional photography by Brown’s Woodbees Photography

The large white-and-brown dog scrounged for food amidst the tall, dry grass and rubbish scattered alongside the road, desperate to fill his empty belly. When Inspector Jerry Seemise of the SPCA Midrand spotted the emaciated dog while on his way home, he immediately stopped to help.

Patience wins the day

“Gallagher (as he was then known) came to us when Inspector Jerry Seemise was driving home from work,” says Brenda Lucas, Vice Chair of Midrand SPCA.

“He noted a very skinny dog eating from the rubble. But this poor soul was terrified and wary of people and catching him would take patience. Concerned that the dog would run off if he worked too fast, Inspector Seemise had to patiently wait, while speaking gently to him, to gain his trust. It was evident that he needed help from us.”

Inspector Seemise was not about to give up on this dog which, with his skeletal body, filthy coat, and wary gaze, bore all the signs of having been on the streets alone for a very long time. Slowly but surely, Seemise worked to gain this big guy’s trust. Finally, his patience bore fruit and, together, the two made their way back to the SPCA vehicle.

Safely back at the SPCA, he was given food, water, and a warm blanket and bed to call his own. He also got a name: Gallagher. Things were about to improve for this sad boy.

He was extremely scared of people

On 15 June 2017 Katie Mey was scrolling through Facebook when she came across the post about the rescued dog.

“SPCA Midrand’s Facebook page had a very interesting post about Inspector Jerry Seemise rescuing an emaciated St Bernard boy. Immediately, we knew that we wanted to go meet him, with the hope that he could be ours. The very next day my husband and I went to SPCA Midrand to meet Gallagher (as he was then called).

“Hiding in his kennel, with his tail between his legs and growling, Gallagher was extremely scared of people. To be honest, we were a bit wary standing outside the kennel with all his growling, but the SPCA Midrand staff brought us treats and food to try and coax him out.

“When we went in, it was obvious how untrusting of people he was; you could see in his deep-brown eyes that he’d been hurt, was very scared and just needed a family to build him up and show him love.

“We were adamant that we were going to change his perspective and a few days later we went to fetch Rubble (named after the dog in my son’s favourite cartoon, Paw Patrol).”

A wagging tail

Incredibly, despite his neglect and fear, it only took two days for Rubble to relax and start enjoying his new home. He also made friends with their Great Dane, Zia, straight away.

Says Katie, “His trust of us was established, and after four days, he was waiting for us at the door when we got home, with his tail wagging!

“With our unconditional love and care of him, he has proven to be a very kind and caring dog who’s fallen in love with our family. He still doesn’t trust strangers, but with us he’s an attention freak who cannot get enough scratches. It’s hard to believe that, from being a dog whom we were afraid to put our hands, never mind our faces, close to, he now loves giving cuddles to our little boys. He also turns his nose up to food that, according to him is ‘not good enough’.

“What an absolute blessing this boy has been to our family!”

A voice for the voiceless

Brenda Lucas, Vice Chair of Midrand SPCA, explains, “Our Mission is in our name: The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Every day, we live by that.

“We are the voice for the voiceless, and our wish for these abused, neglected and abandoned animals is that they will be given a second chance at life – a life filled with love and kindness – and that they may never know suffering again.”

Lucas says that everyone was delighted when this special rescued dog found his forever home: “We were so excited when the Mey family wished to adopt him. Today we receive regular updates from the family on Gallagher (now named Rubble) and are overjoyed at seeing how well he is doing and the unconditional love that he receives from his new family.

“It is truly heartwarming and we are so happy that he was given the second chance that he so deserved after the ordeal that he has been through. 

“Seeing how his life has changed for the better motivates us to continue to stand up and fight for the rights of our sentient beings and bring about the happy endings as we did for Rubble.”

To find out more about the SPCA Midrand, follow them on Facebook @SPCAMidrand, call them on 011 265 9935, or email