The Brave Blade

10th May, 2019

Written by Jaco Oberholzer

Professional photography by Strike a Pose Photography

It was a warm and sunny day on the 21st of December when a friend and I went for a ride on our bikes. I told my friend we should explore a road I’d recently discovered, as it would get us to the Magaliesburg Wimpy without having to use tarred roads. We left home at about 12h00 and headed off.

The riding all went well until we got to a stage where we had to stop and make use of Google Maps as we weren’t too sure of the road. Although hesitant, we told ourselves that we’d have enough time to explore other routes before it got too late.

After the stop we continued riding and then hit a very rocky road, which was bumpy and quite extreme. After a while we turned right onto another gravel road that was better.

Whilst riding, I discovered that my back wheel had started to go flat, which meant that I’d hit something sharp along the road. My first thought was those sharp rocks that we’d travelled over.

We stopped and checked if we could see anything on the tyre, but we couldn’t. We then decided to keep on travelling, because according to my knowledge, Magaliesburg wasn’t too far away.

Along the road we came upon a pedestrian and stopped and asked him for directions to Magalies. He explained, but I couldn’t understand him that well. We then carried on until we found a split in the road. We decided to take the right side of the split, and shortly after this I spotted a white/brownish dog lying in a puddle of water. At first glance I figured that he was getting hot and was therefore lying in the water due to the heat.

We stopped approximately 100 metres past the dog, and my friend said that he’d ride further to see if the road looked suitable whilst I waited. He returned a few minutes later and said he wasn’t too sure of the road. We then decided to turn around and take the left slip of the road. As we travelled towards the split, the dog jumped up and started to limp away. After wondering why he was limping, I saw that his leg was off above his paw and that another piece was hanging off.

I made a good mental note of the place; I wanted to help the dog there and then but was unable to because we were lost, and I also had a flat wheel.

To cut a very long story short, we managed to get to the Magaliesburg Wimpy and called for help to get the bike back home.

When we got home, I told my better half and her sister about the poor dog, and we then headed back in a bakkie to go and collect the hound and take him to the vet. Once we reached the area in which I’d spotted him, we saw he was lying in the road that led to small houses and shacks.

I then climbed out of the vehicle and called him, but he was afraid of me and limped away. While trying to get away from me, he injured himself further. As I was trying to catch the dog, a man – whom I now know as Alfred – approached me to ask what I was doing. After telling him that I wanted to catch the dog so that I could take him to the vet, he explained that the dog belonged to an old lady and that it had been hit by a car. I asked him to keep it safe and told him that I’d return the next day with help.

Early the next morning, I headed for the vet and asked for their help. They referred me to a dog rescuer, Karen Van Der Westhuizen, whom I immediately contacted. She asked me to send her the dog’s location and assured me that she’d go to try and catch him. I agreed to meet her at the spot where I’d last seen him. Karen called me at 13h00 to say she was on her way.

We then also rushed there to assist. When we got there, Karen, along with Elke du Bruyn of Nordic Rescue SA, had managed to catch the dog and was sitting next to him to comfort him. He’d wet himself in fear. Karen fetched a blanket from her vehicle and asked Alfred to pick the dog up. It was then that we learnt this terrified hound had been injured like this for three months!

Karen managed to book the dog in at the Rant en Dal Dog Clinic, informing me that the doctor would assess him as soon as he could, and then she’d give me feedback. Unfortunately, as I later learnt, the dog’s leg had to be amputated, but he was recovering well.

I offered to foster the dog while he recovered from his surgery, and I went to visit him at the vet’s. He was still quite scared and timid. On the Friday, Karen called me to ask if I’d consider becoming Blade’s new owner, to which I immediately agreed.

Karen and Elke conducted a home check that Saturday and assured me that they’d be in touch to let us know when we could take Blade home.

I immediately set to work building a ramp for Blade so that he could walk onto the stoep rather than trying to navigate stairs. I began looking into caring for three-legged dogs and found that the most important thing was (no surprise!): love and care. Karen called me late on the Sunday afternoon to let me know Blade was ready to come home.

At the vet I met Karen, and she asked if I was ready for him… I replied yes and assured her that I’d look after him well. I picked Blade up, who was standing there looking quite confused and afraid, and gently put him in my car.

When I got home we closed all the dogs inside the house, as we planned to introduce Blade to our three other dogs gently, one by one. I took Blade out of the car, and my children rushed over, desperate to love our new addition. Slowly, we introduced Lady, Tjokkie and Vlooi, and Blade began to slowly explore the garden.

Blade began to settle in, with his front leg growing stronger and a normal feeding pattern emerging. Since then, he’s become my shadow. He follows me wherever I go and is so kind, playful, and full of love. He sleeps next to my bed every night and sometimes wakes us up when it’s time to play in the mornings.

Blade has changed our family for the better. We have a very different view on disabled dogs and are overwhelmed by just how much love he has to give!

Elke du Bruyn of Nordic Rescue SA shares…

Blade is a very special boy, and all of us involved in his rescue are truly blessed to have met him and were able to help him. Jaco and his family are the perfect family for Blade.

Blade had a rough journey of almost three months with a leg that must have been beyond painful to live with every day, and yet he survived, transforming from a scared dog to the most adorable baby one could wish to have!

We’re so grateful that we had the chance to join him on this awesome road of recovery.