Rufy the hero

14th Sep, 2018

Written by Allan Perrins – Animal Welfare Society SA Philippi, Resource Development & Communications Officer

Photography by Jaque le Roux - Animal Welfare Society Philippi

When Pit Bull Terrier Rufy risked his life to protect his best friend from armed muggers, he nearly paid the ultimate price…   

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” Unknown

Held up at gun point

It was a day like any other when Bulelani and his sister Sibusisiwe Jojo’s dog, Rufy, a beautiful almost two-year-old tan-and-white Pit Bull Terrier had headed out for a walk in Nyganga, Cape Town, where they live.

Midway through the walk, they were approached by an armed assailant who demanded that he hand over his cellphone and wallet. Terrified, Bulelani handed over his possessions, hoping they would leave him alone. That’s when Rufy decided to take matters into his own paws.

Rufy, being a much-loved and very well cared-for companion, unhesitatingly leapt to his defence. Without a second thought, the assailant pulled out his gun and shot the brave dog in the face at point-blank range.

The bullet ripped through Rufy’s face, shattering several teeth and painfully fracturing the bottom jaw. The attacker fled the scene, leaving behind a shocked Bulelani and severely injured Rufy.

Life-saving surgery

The brave dog was rushed to the hospital at the Animal Welfare Society of South Africa, Philippi, where he was immediately admitted to surgery for a life-saving operation.

The damage caused was extensive, and it took our Senior Veterinarian, Dr Zhaneta Stoynova, several hours to carefully extract the bullet that was lodged in Rufy’s face and painstakingly pin his shattered bottom jaw together. He was also neutered. After the delicate operation, Rufy was placed into Intensive Care.

He was given a positive but guarded prognosis. Only time would tell how Rufy would recover.

Rufy’s owners visited him every single day that he was in our care and, despite his injuries, he always managed to greet them with a few enthusiastic wags of his tail.

A remarkable dog

In the short space of time that Rufy was in our care, he captured the hearts of everyone with whom he came into contact. 

His resilience, zest for life and recovery have been described as remarkable, and our veterinarian has given a good prognosis for a full recovery.

Rufy is not a vicious dog. He is not a dangerous dog. He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his owner and deserves a hero’s welcome home.

Pit Bulls are so often in the media for all the wrong reasons; they’ve earned a grossly unfair bad reputation. I’ve always been of the opinion that there’s no such thing as a bad pet, just a bad owner; as a loved family member, Rufy is proof of this. Rufy’s story is about a relationship between him and his owner – the strength of the bond.

We need to salute the brave work done by the AWS Team for a brave client. He saved the day and they saved him.

(The incident has been reported to the Nyanga police, and charges of animal cruelty will be added to the armed robbery docket.)

Sibusisiwe Jojo, Rufy’s owner, shares…

Rufy is doing so well. He has a healthy appetite – he LOVES his food. He is quite energetic and barks a lot; this is a relief for me as I worried that due to his head trauma he wouldn’t bark again. In fact (and graciously), he hasn’t shown any adverse behaviour to his ordeal and still enjoys his walks.

We are so grateful to everyone who saved his life, and we treasure our time with him. He is truly our hero!

About the Animal Welfare Society SA Philippi

AWS SA offers veterinary services to the underprivileged and disadvantaged communities of Cape Town, assisting with everything from primary healthcare to treating major injuries; every animal treated in their hospital is sterilised.

The inspectorate team responds to calls about animals in distress and reports of animal cruelty and neglect, whilst the adoptions department finds new homes for the many unwanted animals surrendered or rescued. 

AWS SA relies entirely on donations to do their incredible work. Find out more at, email or phone 021 692 2626.

Donations can be made to:

Animal Welfare Society of South Africa

Nedbank cheque account

Branch code: 198765

Account number: 114 8222 588

Or set up a debit order – simply click on and follow the prompts.