Written by Sue Beadon, Secretary SPCA Boksburg
Professional photography by Meraki Photos
Bo, a Collie x Bull Terrier, went missing from Sunward Park on the 26th of December when Ian and Jacqueline Beling’s house sitters mistakenly left the gate open.
For Ian and Jacqueline, this was the worst news possible! Jacqueline had fostered, bottle-fed and raised both Bo and his brother after the litter was dumped alongside a railway line when the pups were just over a week old. Bo was their special boy, a foster fail!
All Ian and Jacqueline could do while they were away was to appeal for help on their suburb’s WhatsApp group. And, boy oh boy, their community ROSE TO THE CHALLENGE! Search parties were set up, walk parties organised, drones were sent up, and 4x4s drove through the veld areas where Bo had last been seen.
He was sighted near the Trinity Methodist Church, in Freeway Park, Elspark; he’d safely crossed the busy N17 highway and was seen behind Farrar Park near Cinderella Dam. Nervous Bo, who’d never been out of his yard before, was so traumatised that the sight of people trying to get near him just caused him to flee further away in terror! Then sightings of Bo seemed to go cold.
Someone in the community suggested a contact where Ian and Jacqueline could send Bo’s fur for a frequency reading. The message they received was: “Bo is not starved or dehydrated. Lactic acid levels high. Muscle pain and bones in his feet inflamed, suggesting he has travelled far. He was feeling very scared and anxious. When asked the conscious mind… he is with people and being looked after, not with children. He is safe, but not happy. Can’t tell if he is at an SPCA, but he seems to be with more than one person...”
Then, on a Thursday morning, Boksburg SPCA received a call from a good Samaritan who’d seen a dog in a stormwater drain, near Fords Village, Boksburg South (Bo REALLY had travelled!).
Trainee Inspectors Ralph Chivaviro and Denise Govender headed out immediately, and Bo’s rescue got underway. On arrival, the trainee inspectors’ greatest urgency was to secure Bo through the drain opening from the street side, so that when they opened and descended the manhole, Bo didn’t take fright and run further into the underground stormwater tunnel system. Once Bo was secured, the manhole was lifted, and Denise descended into a pit of filth to bring Bo back up to the surface! After 16 days on the run, Bo was FINALLY safe and secure!
Jacqueline had contacted a spiritual medium the previous week as she was feeling despondent. She was told that they’d find Bo along a bottom boundary wall! I’m getting goosebumps as I type this; when Ian and Jacqueline came in to collect Bo, he was in Stray Block, Kennel 9... you’ve guessed it ... the bottom kennel next to our boundary wall!
Oh, the joy and delight when Bo smelt his favourite “blankie” and realised, after 16 days alone and running scared, his “mommy and daddy” had come to fetch him! It was definitely a tissue moment! For the first time in a long while, he’d be sleeping soundly alongside his family where he belongs!
Jacqueline updated us the evening after having collected Bo. Their Labby, Zoe, was over the moon to see Bo! He was tired, full of tiny baby ticks and worms, for which he was treated. Bo went to the vet the next day for a thorough check-up.
We’re so glad that Ian and Jacqueline came into our SPCA and completed the Lost Form with all their contact details!
Jacqueline Belings, Bo’s owner, shares…
Our little Bo had a rough start in life. The 9th Day animal rescue organisation found him and his brothers and sisters in a box on the side of the highway in Soweto. I bottle-fed Bo and his brother, Bolt, when they were just 1–2 weeks old. It wasn’t easy as they were both very sickly, and in the beginning, it was often touch and go.
In December, we went away on holiday to clear all the bad energy that came with 2020. Little did we know that there was still more to come. Unfortunately, by mistake, our house sitters left the gate open and Bo, who’s usually a very nervous boy and had never left the house (due to restrictions on walking dogs during lockdown), decided to go on an adventure. We wish we had a camera attached to his collar to see what he got up to.
It was Family Day (26 December) when I received the worst news possible – Bo had run off. My heart sank; our little guy had never been outside our gate. He’s a very anxious dog and even putting a lead on him terrified him too much. I knew then that he’d struggle to find his way home.
But there were many wonderful people willing to help a lost dog and his family; not one community member hesitated to help us find Bo. My neighbours from Sunward Park Lotus Village were completely on it: they organised search teams with drones and even carried the kids on their shoulders when the grass was too long.
Community members messaged from all over with sightings of our Bo. I’m crying so much while typing this, not just for Bo, but also for what this has meant in light of the past year. I needed to know that I could still have faith in humanity. I needed to know that, despite all the bad stories and negativity, I have reason to be proud to be part of this community.
Thank you so much to the SPCA for going above and beyond to find Bo. You’ve made my family extremely happy. Ralph and Denise are very special human beings whom we cannot thank enough for their courageous rescue of Bo.
From the very bottom of our hearts to the tip of Bo’s happy tail, we’d like to thank everyone who helped bring Bo home.