24th May, 2024

Written by Joel Block

Professional photography by Framed Media

Animal cruelty knows no bounds. The Johannesburg SPCA’s rescue dog named Fish went through so much pain, it’s mind-blowing that he’s still so friendly towards humans.

Our journey with Fish started in February 2023, when the Johannesburg SPCA Inspectors received a call to collect a “stray” in Soweto.

A shocking discovery

The Johannesburg SPCA reported: at first glance you’d think he’d suffered a mouth injury. However, the shocking reality was that someone took fishing wire and tied it around his muzzle. The amount of pain this dog went through for weeks must have been excruciating, as the line cut through his mouth, almost taking his nose off.

And, as it would be, nobody saw anything. Nobody knew who he belonged to. No one knew anything about this poor dog, who was left on his own trying day and night to make the pain stop, and no one helped him. The Johannesburg SPCA medical team jumped into action, cleaned the wound, and Dr Rademeyer somehow managed to stitch his nose and cheeks back together. Fish was thereafter treated with medication for tick bite fever and luckily he pulled through.

The Johannesburg SPCA appealed to the public to make a small donation towards Fish’s medical bills. They knew that the road to recovery would be long and painful, but they knew Fish would survive with everyone’s love and support!

A world of potential

My mom, Shelley Block, stepped in after reading the Johannesburg SPCA’s post on Facebook, and my brother, Advocate Doron Block, generously donated to cover the full cost of Fish’s medical bills.

When we visited the Johannesburg SPCA to meet and greet Fish, he was extremely playful, friendly and loving towards us. He was very lively, full of energy and very goofy. Despite his traumatic history, he was full of fun and enjoyment and didn’t bite at us. We could see a world of potential for him in his bright eyes and big smile!

We successfully adopted Fish on the 9th of March 2023. Settling into our house was difficult for the first few months, as Fish is very active and loves to run around open spaces. He’s the kind of dog that takes you for a walk!

An unexpected medical condition

Six nights after adopting Fish, he suffered from debilitating epileptic seizures starting at 1AM during load shedding. We rushed him off to Bryanston Veterinary Hospital for emergency treatment, not knowing if he’d live or die. Following eight seizures in 12 hours, Fish was prescribed a mixture of anti-seizure medications, but he continued to have seizures every 1 - 2 weeks.

Fish was taken for regular checks at our local vet at Terrace Road Veterinary Hospital, where he was treated by Dr Shabeer and Dr Emmanuel. His seizures lead to unpredictability and hyperactivity, causing a few nasty injuries like broken claws, which were treated.

Fish has been seizure-free for the past five weeks and is living happily with us free of any fear or trauma.

One year later and Fish is well adjusted and “a part of the furniture”. He’s a fabulous friend to our other pets and is extremely strong-willed, loyal and affectionate. He loves to play with soccer balls in the garden and has a cute habit of jumping to greet us first thing in the morning. He also sits serenely with his legs crossed when he’s satisfied, and he’s outgrown his nervous habit of digging his hole in the garden. He still falls asleep on his back and spreads out his arms and legs to relax. Fish’s favourite meals are steak, chicken and vegetables.

In honour of Fish’s rescue and rehabilitation, I set up an extra fundraising campaign for the Johannesburg SPCA whereby members of the public can donate their empty barcoded consumable items at their nearest Imagined Earth recycling machine to the number 083 966 1507.

These donations generate credits for the Johannesburg SPCA to help fund the Inspectors’ vehicles to save more animals in distress.

Doron was also made a director at the Johannesburg SPCA to assist with legal matters and litigation. We hope that Fish’s happy tale can inspire more people in South Africa to take a chance with rescue animals and give them the love and affection which they also deserve!

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