Written by Elsabé Davis
Professional photography by @Strike a Pose Photo / Video
Mo had a rough start in life. Today, she’s proof that, with care and stability, even scared dogs can come out of their shells and live their very best lives.
She must have been abused
We don’t know much about Mo’s past. What we do know is that she was initially rescued from a township in Lydenberg and brought to Johannesburg, where she ended up in a home in the Southern Suburbs of Johannesburg. She must have been a very young puppy at that time as she’s only around three years old now. My son, Mark, and my daughter-in-law, Michelle, adopted her in the summer of 2018 when her owners decided to emigrate.
Mo’s owners lived in a converted garage on the property. Although they cared about her, it seems that there were drugs, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence in the main house, and Mo’s behaviour has led us to believe that she must have been abused to some extent by those main-house tenants. This caused her to become very sensitive to loud noises, such as bottles breaking and loud shouting, amongst other things.
Whilst working in the kitchen one day, Michelle knocked over a bottle of olive oil. Terrified, Mo shot out of the house and straight into the pool, where she swam to the centre, remaining there until they could coax her out. That’s when they realised that what had seemed like a “love of swimming” was actually an escape mechanism.
Happy and confident
Mark, Michelle, and Mo lived in a cottage on our property for some time. Mo settled in well, and soon she was an important part of the family. But when Mark and Michelle moved to a townhouse, Mo just couldn’t settle there. She became a non-stop barker and was very restless. So, knowing how happy she’d been with us and wanting her to be happy again, they decided to let her move back, even though they’d miss her terribly. However, Mark and Michelle keep in constant touch with her; Mark often takes her running and visits her whenever possible.
When he leaves, Mo sits on the steps, quite content that he’s visited her and knowing that she won’t be going home with him but relaxed nonetheless. She also doesn’t swim anymore – a sure sign to us that she’s happy and confident in her surroundings. In her new life with us, she’ll have nothing to escape from ever again.
Gabby and Mo
In the meantime, Mo has gained a new friend in the form of Gabby, a Pekingese-Yorkie mix whom we adopted from The Ark Rescue Centre in November 2019 as a twelve-week-old puppy. Gabby has absolutely no hang-ups at all, is very gregarious, fantastic with children, and approaches everybody quite happily. Although Gabby doesn’t really like other dogs, she’s taught Mo to trust again and how to approach people and be friendly towards them. Gabby plays with children and approaches adults quite happily and, whereas Mo wouldn’t go near anybody or other dogs, she’s now socialised and very relaxed with children and adults. They’re both very popular at the grounds where we walk them.
Gabby and Mo recently joined us on a holiday to the sea at Rooi Els and had an absolute blast. Although initially a little confused, it wasn’t long before they settled in and started enjoying their new lifestyle. They loved the beach, and Mo, who was once so scared of loud noises and change, happily swam across the river and frolicked in the smaller waves. They even had a close encounter with baboons, and rather than being afraid, they were ready to give them a run for their money.
There’s no holding back for these two much-loved adopted dogs.