Bambi’s remarkable turnaround

15th Oct, 2021

Written by Richelle Van Dyk – Director of Dead Animals Walking

Professional photography by Caroline Hartley Photography

Bambi was first rescued by Kleinmond Animal Welfare Society (KAWS) in 2018 from a home where he’d been severely neglected.

He was removed and KAWS took the necessary steps to have the owner charged with animal cruelty and abuse, but they first had to get Bambi to safety and for immediate vet care. He had severe malnourishment and mange and wasn’t too far from death’s door – and he was only around one year old!

Bambi went into a fabulous foster home with Anke Ha, where he absolutely thrived and blossomed under her foster care. Anke was just phenomenal with him, and besides being given love and proper care, he experienced the beach, got to socialise and play with other friends like him (just not with his past), and had the opportunity to feel what it feels like to lie on a bed or couch.

On the 6th of November 2018, KAWS posted that they’d need a foster home for Bambi as his foster mom was moving away. I immediately responded. Even though I’m the Director of Dead Animals Walking and run my own rescue centre, I was completely drawn to help Bambi because of what we stand for and what our name means. I worried that Bambi would have a limited chance out in the real world because he’s a pit bull cross and appeared to have a lot of scarring on his face, perhaps from fights in his previous, albeit young, life (those deep scars have still to this day not gone away).

No one had responded to come forward to foster Bambi, and I wasn’t going to leave it a minute longer, so I called KAWS and told them that I needed to be his lifebuoy and would like to foster him and give him all the opportunities I could. I drove through to Kleinmond to pick up Bambi on the 29th of November 2018.

I can’t explain it … there was a soul connection between Bambi and me, and I desired to only give him the happily-ever-after he deserved.

His court date was set for the 24th of January 2019. We at DAW, KAWS and everyone who followed his story showed up at court, wearing T-shirts, to display immense support for Bambi. But it was a truly low blow when the proceedings ended with his owner only receiving a R500 fine. It was a low blow for animal welfare as a whole and for Bambi, but I felt okay in the sense that he was with me.

Bambi is a true example of what we at DAW do. He became part of the DAW crew in no time, rocking it with all the other rescues that without Dead Animals Walking would simply be dead.

Bambi is now three years old and is sexier and heavier than ever before. He has an appetite of note but is on a special regimen food-wise so that he doesn’t turn into a walrus. Needless to say, he’s the kindest, happiest boy; he talks to you, “a-woo-hoos” when he’s happy to see you or when it’s dinner time, and he manages the crazy zoomies even though he looks like he blubbers around. But there’s no shame in him having extra love handles, especially after everything he’s been through.

Bambi is amazing with children and people and needs only proper introductions to other male dogs that may be dominant. He has an air about him, but even if he’s to be an only dog, he’ll still shine!

We were never pressed to find Bambi a forever home, because he was, and is, the beat of my heart. However, as his foster mom and a rescue organisation owner, I know that Bambi is fully healed and it’s now time for him to shine his amazing light with a family of his own in a forever home where he can retire in peace with loads of cuddles, long walks, beach visits and lots of treats.

I believe I’ve done enough to erase his past, and I’m not at all worried about him being uprooted – he’s so easygoing – and given the offer from the best home, we’re ready to give Bambi the opportunity to fulfil someone else like he’s fulfilled all of ours.

Rescue in these instances is never easy; we here at Dead Animals Walking devote our entire existence to each and every animal, and Bambi is no exception! I truly believe my job here is done, and now I’d like to hand over the crown so I can take on the next hopeless case.

If you’d like to be Bambi’s happy-ever-after, please call or WhatsApp 072 298 9086 or email info@deadanimalswalking.co.za and get ready to have your heart melted!

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