Written by Louise Pinkham
Photography by Yolandi Strauss
Lego, a tiny black pup, and his little brown sister were born around July 2020. They were both given to a worker who could barely afford to look after himself, never mind two small pups. He lived in a shed on a mountainside and wouldn’t allow the pups into the shed, so these little babes wandered around freely in overgrown bush among horses.
A friend arranged for them to be surrendered and, after looking at the photos I received, I decided to home the black pup. His sister had been homed by a friend. On the way to collect him, my family already decided to name him Lego. When I saw him, I noticed with horror that he was missing a back right paw and part of his leg (…now the name was even more appropriate!).
We immediately took him to the vet for his vaccinations and treatment (he was covered in ticks). As the days turned into weeks, this boy’s happy personality shone brightly, and he became a source of absolute indescribable joy. His naughtiness was uncontrollable and his energy levels beyond any limit. There were days when I would say, “Lego, I’m changing your name from Lego to Letgo.” He challenged the mop, the broom, the bedding, the toys... he didn’t listen, but his entertaining antics were ever so joyful. I kept sharing the videos I took of him on Facebook and he crept into many hearts; he had many followers on Facebook and was much loved. I constantly received messages asking for updates on his well-being and daily activities.
In early December, my boy presented with unusual behaviour. He wasn’t energetic, he didn’t want to eat (not even his favourite treats) and just lay under the table. Early the next morning, I rushed him to the vet where it was confirmed he had no temperature, no parvo and no signs of anything!
Later that Thursday afternoon, I rushed him to Onderstepoort were he was transferred to ICU. The following morning, a specialist called requesting permission for a brain tap… “Yes, please go ahead, I need him healthy,” I responded. It was the only way to determine what was going on – he still had no fever. I was informed that a brain tap could be a dangerous procedure. Sadly, I was contacted later in the day and told that Lego’s entire body had become paralysed, and I needed to get there to say my final goodbye. The devastation and trauma were indescribable. How? Why? I had to let him go… Lego was suffering from non-shedding distemper, which he had before being adopted by me, but there’d been no indications of this previously – just this sudden dramatic drop in his health.
Facebook friends cried with me, horrified that this little innocent entertainer was now gone! Coping wasn’t easy. In my pain I needed closure. Dee Ivings of Happy Tails and Sharron Duff of Quantum Soul kindly sponsored a crossover reading, which gave me so much closure. Sharron’s first comment was: “Louise, Lego doesn’t keep still… I had to keep calling him back.” This is so typical of my Lego!
In the last week of December, I was informed that Lego’s daddy had been spotted on the plot where Lego had been born. He was there because Lego’s mommy, Snippie, was on heat again (she’s subsequently been sterilised). He’d been living on the streets for over four years and is the spitting image of Lego – I needed him! It was arranged for Daddy Ninjago to come home on New Year’s Day and become a Pinkham.
Ninjago will never replace Lego, but it’s a huge consolation and bonus to have him; there’d been a huge chance that we wouldn’t catch him. He’s been sterilised and is a wonderful male dog. He’s truly settled in without any complications. At first, he wouldn’t do much, but he’s quickly learnt the fun of being on beds, couches and in the garden.
Ninjago’s best friends at home are Seppi, who was rescued three years ago from the Pretoria East graveyard, and his cat friend, Ms Butterbean, whom he chose from my many cats.
The loyalty he shows to me is beyond words, and Lego’s legacy truly lives and thrives on through Ninjago.