Written by Senior Inspector Salome Bruyns of Garden Route SPCA
Professional photography by Fourpawz Photography
Friendly Fix and his owner, Johan Du Preez, were a familiar sight on the streets of George, the beautiful Garden Route’s biggest town. We at the Garden Route SPCA met the pair when they moved here about four years ago.
Everyone in George knew these two; a lot of people helped them with food and blankets. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Fix is more famous than the mayor in our town!
He never left his side
Johan and Fix were homeless, but the cheerful black-and-white mongrel was always happy and smiling, content beside his owner. We helped Johan where we could with Fix, providing food and veterinary treatment if Fix needed it. We also took care of him whenever Johan was hospitalised or couldn’t look after him for any reason.
But then, on the evening of the 10th of November 2020, tragedy struck: a city bus hit Johan, severely injuring him.
Fix never left Johan’s side that day. The loyal little dog sat with him until the ambulance arrived and rushed Johan to the hospital, who then phoned us to collect Fix, which we of course did, hoping to keep him until Johan recovered.
Sadly, they’d never see each other again as, on the 13th of November, Johan succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
Teresa Jardim, Fix’s new owner (who adopted him from the Garden Route SPCA), learned about Johan’s accident and knew that she had to visit Fix at the Garden Route SPCA.
Teresa would see Johan and Fix walking past her biltong shops in George regularly – that’s how they met. Soon her shops became very familiar to Fix and he knew exactly where he could get lots of biltong treats.
She once asked Johan, “Why don’t you give Fix to me?” He said that he couldn’t, because Fix is his brother, and since that day he referred to Teresa as Fix’s “mom”.
“When I think about it afterwards, I realise that God was giving me and Fix time to establish a relationship,” said Teresa.
She continued, saying, “When I arrived at the SPCA and they brought Fix to the office for me, he immediately recognised me: his mom. I went to visit him every day (and, of course, mommy didn’t leave the biltong behind!). I was devastated when I learned about the passing of Johan a couple of days later, and my heart went out to Fix. The first thing that came to my mind was: how will Fix cope without his life partner? Fix was quite obsessed with his human, always by his side.
“I knew that I had to go and fetch him. I am his mom, after all, and my husband said to me, ‘Do what you feel in your heart is the right thing to do…’”
King of the castle
Fix settled into the Jardim home better than expected for a dog that had slept on the streets all of his life – a dog who didn’t know what a home was. “Dogs are amazing, and he learned very fast from our other two dogs how to handle this strange new environment, where he gets to sleep in front of his mom’s bed on his own bed. I mean, who can blame him for getting used to being spoiled?” Teresa told us.
Teresa says that in the beginning, when she arrived home from work, he wouldn’t run to the door to meet her like her other two dogs and all dogs do. She soon realised that it wasn’t because he wasn’t happy to see her; he just wasn’t used to it. He didn’t know in the beginning how to act like a “house dog”. Now he’s the first to welcome her home.
“A month into our adoption of Fix I’ve come to realise that there’s so much to discover about him. In the beginning, he never barked and watched how our other dogs barked at other dogs walking past our home. Two weeks into his stay, our boy Rocky barked at his ball and Fix decided to join in. Rocky and I turned to see Fix barking with delight. He doesn’t bark unnecessarily, but he has found his voice – what a joy, as I’m sure that he wasn’t permitted to bark while living on the streets.
“Fix is a real treat to travel with and has been to play on the beaches of Wilderness. He loves to play with his tennis ball and thinks the house belongs to him. We’re happy to report that he still enjoys his biltong and thinks he’s the king of the castle, which he properly is!
“Fix and I attended Johan’s memorial service, and it was a very emotional day of mixed feelings. I knew that taking Fix would give closure to many people throughout this journey as we said our last goodbyes. My concern was how Fix would react to the people that he might encounter at the service, but he did very well. As we said our farewells and headed home, I knew that I owed it to both of us to remember the past but look forward to our happy ever after...”
About the Garden Route SPCA
The Garden Route SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was formed on the 15th of September 2000 when the George and Mossel Bay branches joined forces to combat animal cruelty. For more information and to find out how you can help, please visit their website at www.grspca.co.za, and follow them on Facebook @GRSPCA and @gardenroutespca.mosselbaai (Mossel Bay branch).