How we got to adopting a pack of five rescues

21st Feb, 2020

Written by Ursula Spennato and Quintin Jacobs

Professional photography by Kritzography

Adopting Crystal from Benoni SPCA, our Husky princess

Our journey with our adopted fur babies began after we lost our beloved 14-year-old Lab, Bobby, in August 2014, and our 13-year-old Siberian Husky, Sasha, in January 2015. We were devastated, as they were our whole lives, and losing them within five months of each other was extremely difficult. They both went on holiday to the South Coast with my husband, Quintin, and I every year. We all loved the beach, as it was our happy place.

Just before we lost Sasha, we considered getting another rescue baby to keep her company, as she was missing Bobby, but were concerned she was too old for a feisty energetic young one, so we couldn’t make up our minds. That was until we saw a beautiful white female Husky in December 2014 being networked on Facebook by Lisa Jane Fawkes. They were looking for her owners. 

I kept sharing the picture, hoping to help find the owners, but we still put our names down to adopt her and had to wait for the 13th of January 2015 in order to give the owners time to return from holiday. She was at Benoni SPCA from around Christmas. The day Lisa came to do our home check (as her owners had never surfaced), we were number 24 on her list. I was in tears, as I’d just a week prior lost Sasha and was totally childless. 

After spending some time with Lisa, she approved us to adopt this lovely, gorgeous one-year-old blue-eyed Husky girl from the Benoni SPCA. We were so excited to get her, but she was extremely stressed, having been in the kennels for such a long time. It didn’t take long, however, for all of us to fall in love with each other. She’s our little princess. We named her Crystal, as she has crystal-blue eyes. It was probably our saving grace adopting Crystal so soon after Sasha passed on, as I was terribly depressed having a home with no fur babies.

Adopting Charlie, our ball boy

Because we’d previously loved having a Lab and a Husky, we agreed to immediately look for a rescue Lab friend for Crystal. A couple of days after we got Crystal, Quintin called to tell me that he’d found our next child. A client had passed away, and they were looking for a home for their Charlie, a one-year-old ball boy Lab who’d have to be taken to the Germiston SPCA if a suitable home wasn’t found for him.

I rushed off immediately to meet him – and oh my! We did indeed fall in love with Charlie – Mr Personality! Because he was an only child, it took us a couple of hours to get him to accept Crystal as he wanted to fight with her. Our beautiful little princess Crystal submitted to Charlie, and it’s been a match made in heaven ever since. Our home was now complete again with our two fur babies, and that’s how we intended it to stay.

Adopting a 14-year-old golden oldie female called Bella

Very late one night, I saw a Facebook post that Lab Rescue had posted about a golden oldie Labby girl needing a lifeline as her owners were moving and couldn’t take her with them. I couldn’t believe someone could do this to this elderly dog when they’d spent their whole life taking care of her. Looking into her sad eyes in the photo (without my husband knowing), I completed the adoption form so we could give her a loving home for the last couple of months of her life. When they called me the next day to arrange the home inspection, I had to tell my husband what I’d done. We were approved and went straight to fetch her. 

We were shocked at her condition, because she had to be carried to the car, could hardly walk and her breath smelt deadly. We had some of her rotten teeth removed, even though it was risky as there was a chance at her age that she wouldn’t make it, but, to our delight, she did make it.

We put her on the right food, meds for her hips, and showered her with lots of love and attention. It broke our hearts, over a year later, when we had to say goodbye to Bella when it was her time. But she’d had the most energetic life with my other two babies and actually went for runs with them every week when we went on our outings. It was the most rewarding experience to give such a beautiful soul the best 12 months she could have wished for.

Adopting Max, our oldie Malamute Teddy Bear from Benoni SPCA, nicknamed “our big guy”

On my birthday, the 16th of December 2017, Lisa Jayne Fawkes tagged me in a Facebook post networking an old Malamute, Max, who was dumped at the Benoni SPCA at the age of 12. When I saw this post, my heart melted again at how the human race can do this to dogs in their retirement years. Lisa tempted me to meet her at 8am on Monday morning at the SPCA so that we could meet Max. Say no more; we left with him and added another oldie to our two young fur kids. 

Believe it or not, Max is now 14 years old, still going strong, extremely healthy, goes for runs with my younger babies, and just loves life and everyone around him. He’s the most lovable, cuddly teddy bear and is now well known with all our friends at giving the best bear hugs. He also doesn’t miss a day jumping on our high bed for morning cuddles. He definitely has a number of healthy years ahead of him.

Adopting our Duke (ex-Ice) from Springs SPCA

I was frantically sharing a Facebook post I’d seen where they were looking for a good home for this sad male Husky with piercing blue eyes. Eventually, late one night on a Sunday evening, I noted that they’d be putting him down on Monday following a couple of failed meet-and-greets. 

He was suffering with kennel stress and biting his feet open, whilst displaying some antisocial tendencies. I had to get him out of there, as I could see in his eyes he was calling out for help. I already had three big dogs and didn’t really want another dog, but I had to save this one; even if I just healed him, showed him love and rehabilitated him with other dogs. I was sure I could help him find a good home once I got him into my loving home. 

At midnight I completed the adoption form and sent it to the SPCA. I called Springs SPCA first thing the next morning, panicking that they might have already put him down. Due to the previous failed meet-and-greets, they requested we bring all three of our fur babies to meet him. With time, love and patience, we managed to show the staff at the SPCA that we were the correct family to adopt him to give him a second chance. When they saw how we handled the meet-and-greet with our precious fur kids, they were delighted to allow us to adopt him. 

Our Duke has turned into such a special and beautiful soul who’s crept into our hearts. We could never let him go, so we ended up with a happy family of four fur babies. From a skinny, malnourished, insecure dog with ribs showing and sores on his feet, he’s turned into a healthy, handsome Duke!  

Foster gone wrong… our little three-year old freckle-faced tom-boy Tweni girl, nicknamed Mischief

We’ve landed up with a fifth child. We had a client who moved and couldn’t take her Husky with her, so we managed to find her a home through Husky Rescue. Unfortunately, it didn’t work very well, as Tweni bit the male she mated with. We couldn’t believe this, because she never showed any signs of aggression and apparently grew up with a Rottweiler. We found she only now and again had a scary growl near other dogs, but it was an insecure growl.

She never ate while in kennelling, so we decided to bring her to our home as a foster for some love and rehabilitation to see how she responded to our pack, and hopefully we could assist her to feel more secure around other dogs.

That was nearly a year ago, and now we have a pack of five fur babies, as we’ve yet again fallen in love with her and she’s doing well with my other four. She is, however, extremely jealous of our beautiful princess Crystal, and the girls niggle now and again, but only over food. Tweni is very playful and adores all three of the boys and keeps our big old guy, Max, on his feet as they chase each other around. It’s absolutely adorable to see.

From being parents who only wanted two furry children, we’ve landed up with the most precious pack of five fur kids, and we’re loving every minute of it. We know that we can’t save them all, even though we wish we could, but knowing we can help one at a time is extremely rewarding, as they’re definitely our guardian angels.

Our home is filled with so much love from our fur babies that we just cannot imagine life without them.