The story of Lion, the township dog

27th Dec, 2019

Written by Lisa Button, Project Administrator of Funda Nenja

Photography by Sarah Pryke

Lion and his young handler, Lukhona, started attending Funda Nenja a little over a year ago. They had a wonderful bond, and young Lukhona quickly worked his way up through the classes to the advanced class. Recently, it was brought to our attention that Lukhona’s home situation was unsatisfactory, so our social worker made sure to go and speak to his caregivers to assess the situation. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the situation was far more severe than what we’d first thought. This led to all five children in the family having to be removed from a home full of emotional and physical abuse. They were placed in a children’s home, where they’re now receiving some much-needed love and care.  

As Funda Nenja focuses on a “one welfare” approach, we couldn’t turn our backs on Lion once the children were no longer living at the house. It was apparent that the children had been taking care of the dog, and now that they were no longer there, we were concerned for Lion’s welfare. It was then that we advised the SPCA of the situation, as Funda Nenja does not have the legal right to remove an animal from anyone’s house. The SPCA immediately took action and convinced the owners to sign over the dog to them. Funda Nenja, in the meantime, was working hard at finding someone to adopt Lion.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to look too far, as Lauren Richmond heard about Lion and came to our rescue. She went to meet Lion at the SPCA and readily agreed to adopt her. Adoption forms were signed and a home inspection was completed. Shortly thereafter, Lion was placed in her new home. Lion rapidly settled into her new home and she got to know her new, loving family consisting of Lauren and Anthony Richmond, their two grandchildren, Kenzie and Stefan, as well as their cat, Nibbles, and recently adopted dog, Bindi, who was also rescued from a bad situation. Young Kenzie and Lion are particularly close, and Kenzie is discovering that Lion loves to perform all sorts of tricks that Lukhona had taught her, especially a high five.

Nobody was sure how Lion would react to Nibbles the cat, but she’s been an absolute sweetheart, and Nibbles has also welcomed her into the family. He’s often seen affectionately rubbing himself against both the dogs. Lion and Bindi play beautifully together and they quite clearly adore each other.

Lion is very well behaved – the Richmonds very quickly fell in love with her, and she with them. They were going to rename her but found that they kept coming back to Lion – so Lion it is. A big name for a small dog! In Lauren’s words, “We love her and we will keep her name in honour of her brave little owner.”

Lion has been no problem at all since she was introduced into the Richmond household. She sits quietly for her dinner, is extremely well mannered, and is becoming more and more affectionate with the passing of time. She’s a very happy and relaxed dog. 

We’re extremely grateful to the Richmond family for coming to our rescue and adding Lion to their family. As we’re very aware that Lion’s previous young owner is probably missing her terribly, we’ll be sending him photos of Lion in her new home so that he can see that this special dog is being loved and has an absolutely wonderful home.