Written by Julia Travis – Social Media Manager, PlumPets Animal Shelter
Photography by Nat Gold ZA
Rob Chapman is a local Plumstead resident with a BIG heart. On Friday the 15th of May 2021, while driving down Voortrekker Road from his office in Maitland to see a client, he witnessed a very emaciated dog running in the traffic. When he saw her dart across the road, he thought she’d been knocked over by a car.
Seeing her lying on the side of the road, Rob felt compelled to pull over and help her. She was shaking and scared, but when Rob approached her, he was relieved to see her get up on all four legs. Other than being very thin and quite smelly and dirty, she seemed to be all right. So Rob picked her up, put her in his car and took her back to his office, from where he started to phone rescue organisations. He contacted several of them, but every facility was full.
Rob took the dog to his animals’ regular groomer who suggested he contact Paulette Bousfield at PlumPets Animal Shelter. After speaking to Paulette, Rob took the dog to see Dr Duncan Stevens, the shelter’s vet. She was so emaciated and had enlarged teats, suggesting she was lactating, so Paulette suggested that Rob take the dog back to where she was found and see if she’d lead him to the puppies. Volunteer rescuer Emma Konemann accompanied Rob to assist.
They walked up and down Voortrekker Road with Momma Dog, as she’d been dubbed, in the pouring rain on Saturday the 16th of May. Eventually, Momma Dog pulled on her lead and led Rob and Emma to an informal dwelling in the Ndabeni/Maitland area off Voortrekker Road, where her eight puppies were living. Emma approached the people in the informal dwelling and asked them to hand over the puppies so that they could be properly taken care of. Miraculously, they agreed and gave her all eight puppies. Momma Dog and her puppies were reunited, and Rob’s been housing them safely together in a flatlet on his property. The shelter helped to organise kennelling at Camelot Kennels during the week while Rob continues to look after Momma Dog and her pups on the weekends.
Momma Dog, now known as Millie (meaning “gentle strength”) is receiving lots of TLC and food. Her puppies are safe and warm with her and doing well. They were all checked over by Dr Duncan and the pups were given their first vaccinations. The next step is to look for forever homes for Millie and each of her eight pups. Millie likes to take a break from her parenting duties and get some snuggles from Rob.
If you’re interested in giving miraculous and amazing Momma Millie a home or adopting an adorable puppy, please contact Paulette on 083 641 3535 – strict home checks apply.
Rob shared his thoughts…
Since the story broke, I’ve been asked: “Why did you stop?” (… for a stray dog on a busy road). At first, I wasn’t sure how to answer, how to describe a moment of compassion. I’m sure everyone has been deeply moved at some point in their lives, it just depends on what or who moves you. It wasn’t without first facing dilemma. The temptation… “This will upset my day/week… it’s not my problem... Can I afford this?” But somehow in the brutal, tragic reality that’s sometimes our life, there’s a deeper reality. Behind the obvious events lies an opportunity to save a situation or life, a tiny window of rescue.
A great person once said that our measure is in the compassion we have for the least. So stopping for Millie was my opportunity for some of that measure that the likes of veterinary hospitals, shelters, activists and volunteers display week in and week out. For everyone else, it comes along now and again.