My Journey with Fire

10th May, 2024

Written by Cherietha Wagener

Professional photography by Christil Photography 

The memory of the first time I laid eyes on Fire will forever stay with me. He and his owner were seated on the street corner in Langenhovenpark, Bloemfontein. Fire’s unwavering gaze, fixed on every passing car, sparked a curiosity within me. “What secrets lie behind those eyes, my dear dog?” I wondered.

Intrigued by the depth in his eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder what thoughts occupied his mind. Without hesitation, I turned back to purchase food for both Fire and Martin, whose name I learned in that moment. Martin expressed his gratitude, while Fire remained steadfast and focused.

Shortly after our initial encounter, I met them again seeking refuge under a canopy at a shopping centre. The rain poured relentlessly, yet Fire remained unfazed, comforted by his owner’s presence. Gathering my courage, I asked Martin if I could pet Fire. He granted me permission, albeit hesitantly, given the wild intensity in Fire’s eyes. Emboldened by our interaction, I broached the subject of potentially adopting Fire. Martin’s response was swift and firm: “He’s my partner,” he declared, shutting down my inquiry without hesitation.

In 2023, a friend informed me that Martin had suddenly passed away from a heart attack. I immediately phoned a lady who worked very closely with Huistoe Animal Welfare. She informed me that Fire was safe and well looked after, but that he was scared of all the dogs staying in the house with him and overwhelmed by what was going on. This information left me concerned.

It was evident that he wasn’t okay. The kind staff at Langenhovenpark Animal Clinic promptly took Fire in. Following that, both Dorothy and Lientjie, owners of Huistoe Animal Welfare, generously opened their hearts and homes to provide Fire with a temporary yet secure haven. Despite the gravity of the situation, I made the decision to take on a significant responsibility – I wanted to provide a home for Fire.

With the assistance of both Dorothy and Lientjie, I arranged a third meeting with Fire. Though he displayed a mix of excitement and fear, we persevered through the difficult transition period. It was a challenging time for both Fire and me, as we adjusted to our new reality. Eventually, Fire accepted me, along with my parents, his fur friend Jessie, my boyfriend, Rikus, and his two beautiful kids into his life.

In the early hours of the morning, our adventures begin as he wakes me with a wavering tale to be dropped off at grandma, grandpa, and Jessie. Each visit unfolds like a chapter in a cherished storybook, brimming with laughter and warmth. Grandma leads him on leisurely walks, her wise words mingling with the songs of the birds. Grandpa takes Fire on thrilling drives, his tales of yesteryear painting vivid pictures of days gone by. And Jessie, his fur friend with her infectious energy, fills his days with endless joy and mischief.

But it’s when I arrive to take him home that his excitement reaches its peak. His eyes sparkle with anticipation as we embark on our next escapade – 7 Damme. There, amidst the tranquil beauty of nature, he roams freely, his laughter echoing across the water as he splashes and plays to his heart’s content.

Fire also goes with us on every holiday at the sea. His presence brings a sense of serenity, as if he knows that here, amid the crashing waves and endless expanse of blue, we find solace from the chaos of city life.

But it’s in the quiet moments, when I look into his eyes, that I see the true depth of his gratitude. Gone are the tired, weary eyes of the past, replaced now by bright, shining orbs that speak volumes of the joy and contentment he finds in our daily adventures together.

In hindsight, I realise that sometimes what we seek finds us when we least expect it. Our journey together has been nothing short of remarkable, culminating in a truly happy ending.

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