Written by Sonia Peck, volunteer at DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group)
Professional photography by Hey Doggo
Often, when dogs and cats arrive at DARG, their back story can be somewhat convoluted, muddled and confusing. Owners can be either embarrassed by their current situation or secretive to avoid judgment. At DARG, we fully understand this and remain as neutral and sympathetic as possible, trying to focus purely on the welfare of the animal at hand and their story from that point on. I suppose we operate as an anchoring point for the animal, a source of solace, a safe space to regain balance, to be assessed, taken utmost care of, and rehomed safely.
This story dances on the fringes of the above outline, but let me tell you as much as I can.
Not long ago, a DARG director received a phone call from a local dog groomer who’d been grooming two Maltese Poodle crosses. The owner had mentioned that he needed to rehome them as he was planning to emigrate to the United States. DARG immediately called the owner, who swiftly said not to worry, as he’d already “made a plan”.
Then, oddly, just a day later at 5pm, a gentleman from Imizamo Yethu township arrived at the gates of DARG explaining that he had two small dogs in his yard at the settlement. He said that he was uncomfortable with this situation as he was concerned for both the dogs’ and his children’s safety while he was at work. Two DARG directors then watched a video of the dogs that the man had on his cellphone – they were two Maltese crosses, looking very confused and unsettled!
The dogs were immediately collected from the premises and brought into DARG.
On initial inspection, scabs were found on their backs, some appearing to be from older wounds. Lilly had a urinary tract infection, and Chuba had a secondary ear infection. They were treated for these painful conditions, and both also underwent some dental treatment.
At DARG, due to the proximity to and work we do within the local settlements, we’re more likely to house breeds such as the Africanis or mixes thereof, so to have two cute little Maltese Poodle crosses was quite a rarity. When advertised on social media, the response was huge and we received many applications. But there was a problem: there was no way that DARG would let them be separated, and so far, no one had been interested in adopting both dogs. One application was promising, but sadly, she had cats and we’d learnt that this pair was not “cat-friendly”.
The little dogs remained safely at DARG, and while they received the utmost love and care, they began to show signs of stress caused by the sound and presence of the large, vocal canine community.
Despite this, we didn’t become disheartened, and we kept advertising the pair, hoping that the right home would soon be found.
Then, at last, the magic happened. A lady by the name of Janine called DARG with a specific interest in the poodles. DARG enthusiastically rolled out its usual processes. The application was promising, but there were concerns over how her ageing Schnauzer, Suki, would manage the high-energy arrivals. Well, you only need to look at the photographs to find the answer to that question. Now, the four-legged trio live happily in Sea Point – bliss.
We often say that life isn’t about the ending but about the journey, but in this instance, I feel inclined to disagree – it is about the happy ending.
It takes two to cheers, and cheers they did, happily ever after.
Janine Glanz, Chuba and Lilly’s new owner, shares…
I had a Schnauzer (Fred) for 16 years until I had to put him down in August 2019. My mom had passed away a few months before this and I’d “inherited” her Schnauzer, Suki, so having Suki during this very sad time was healing. Because Fred was old and ill, he required much of my time and attention, so after he passed away, I wanted to spend that extra time to bond with Suki, who’s now 14 and the sweetest dog. I knew I wanted another dog and that I wanted a rescue, but the snag was always my allergies, which have limited me to Maltese/Schnauzer-type dogs, which don’t affect my allergies.
My daughter and I were constantly looking at posts for dogs up for adoption, and whenever there was a Maltese/Schnauzer-type dog I’d enquire, only to be told the dog had already been adopted. Then, about a month ago, I received an email from DARG with the appeal for Chuba and Lilly. I responded immediately, asking whether they were still available, and was completely surprised to be told that they were. So, I took a day’s leave from work and went to meet them a couple of days later.
From the minute I entered the enclosure and got covered in licks and cuddles from these two scruffy monsters I wanted to take them home. The next day I took Suki to meet them, and it went well, so we arranged for me to collect them a few days later after they’d had their dental and ear treatments at the vet in Hout Bay.
From the moment they arrived in our home they settled in, and now, almost a month later, I can’t remember my life before them. They’re energetic, affectionate, loving, intelligent and incredibly entertaining – they each have such distinctive personalities. They seem to intuitively understand that Suki is older and requires her space, which they respect (most of the time…).
Since Covid-19, I’ve been working from home with my “office mates” keeping me company. Chuba and Lilly lie on the bed and Suki lies on a cushion on the floor at my feet. My colleagues are often entertained by the dogs suddenly leaping off the bed to bark at other dogs or people walking past my window while I’m on a Zoom meeting.
I still can’t believe how fortunate I was to find and adopt them; I found it amazing that no one else wanted them, but I suppose taking on two dogs isn’t viable for many people. It didn’t worry me; I saw it as an advantage because I knew they’d have each other and therefore wouldn’t bother Suki. They’re tightly bonded and do everything in tandem, which is very cute. Suki, meanwhile, has responded well to them.