Patient Poppy

17th Sep, 2021

Written by Lesley Gaigher – SPCA Louis Trichardt

Photographs supplied by Eben Esterhuizen and Pix for Paws

Poppy’s story starts in November 2016 when she arrived at our SPCA, just a wee pup, roughly eight weeks old. She’d been run over by a car, but fortunately, the injury wasn’t too serious and was treatable. Her owners, however, couldn’t afford any veterinary treatment, so we offered to assist. 

Poppy spent two weeks in our care and underwent treatment every second day. She made a full recovery with only a small scar to tell her tale. As per the predetermined agreement for her treatment, she was reunited with her family on the condition that our inspector was allowed to do post home checks to make sure she was happy and healthy. 

However, a few months down the line on one of these visits, what we found was heartbreaking and very disappointing – Poppy had sustained another vehicle accident injury. This time her owners didn’t notify us, and she was left to recover from this injury with no veterinary assessment or medical treatment of any sort. We immediately issued a warning and confiscated her from the owners. It’s against the law to not seek medical treatment when your animal requires it.

Despite Poppy’s old injuries, she remained a playful, happy pup – full of life and mischief! She was a joy to have around and an inspiration to us all; nothing got this girl down and her confidence was admirable! We investigated the option of amputating her injured leg, but she coped so well and still used it, especially when she ran at top speed or needed to reach a small itchy spot.

It was soon decided that Poppy would become one of our resident pooches. We always have a few of them running loose and keeping us company in the office. But, as with all our “lifers”, we still hope to find them a real home, where they can lie on someone’s lap with the faint light of the television on their faces at night. Unfortunately, nothing ever came from the posts about Poppy on Facebook. Not a single application… and it seemed like we were the only ones who appreciated her quirkiness… Until…

Adira came to us after being dumped in the Komatiland Forest with her four paws bound with cable ties. Her story caused a media uproar, and people from near and far applied to adopt her. All the applications were top-notch, but obviously, we could only pick one home. Adira went to live with a family in Pretoria, but there was another home – that of Eben Esterhuizen in Bela-Bela – that warranted further correspondence. Even though we couldn’t arrange for a home inspection in the area, we knew that the lucky pooch that reached this home would be treated like royalty. 

Eben graciously accepted that we had to let Adira go to her adopted home but asked me to make a few suggestions for another dog to be adopted. He wanted to rescue THE UNWANTED. By then, Poppy had been with us for nearly four years, so I wasted no time in sending him her photos. It took no convincing; Eben immediately knew that Adira was merely the vessel to bring him the one he was destined to have – Poppy!

Since we already knew that we couldn’t make arrangements with another branch to do the home inspection on our behalf, one of our members, Grietjie, and our CCS vet volunteered to drive to Bela-Bela. Also, Grietjie had taken Poppy under her wing in 2016, so she wanted to see for herself that Poppy would be happy in her new home. The rest, as they say, is history!

Eben has been sending us the most endearing updates, proving unequivocally that we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Poppy is happy, healthy and loving life, and she spreads her infectious joy throughout the entire household. She’s finally HOME!

Eben Esterhuizen, Poppy’s new owner, shares…

I’ve adopted my pets from the SPCA for years; I don’t believe in buying any pet or breeding pets. I currently have eight dogs on my farm – five are adopted and three belong to my sister and brother-in-law who also reside on the farm.

I spoke to Lesley from the SPCA after reading a shocking article about Adira. I was horrified at the cruelty this poor dog had to endure; I was, literally, reduced to tears. Lesley and I had a long conversation, and I explained to her that I was fortunate and blessed in life and had recently bought a game farm.

It was important for me to share this blessing with an animal that was unwanted, abused or seriously neglected. I wanted to offer a loving home to a dog that many others didn’t want, that special pet; a pet companion that I could spoil, shower with love and attention, and give happy hugs and surprise kisses to throughout the day.

She told me about Poppy and shared a bit about her history and immediately WhatsApped a few pictures of her.

As soon as I saw her beautiful brown eyes and her cheeky smile, and knowing what she’d endured, I knew she had to be mine – she was the one!

The girls kindly travelled to the farm to bring Poppy for our first face-to-face meeting. While I was waiting eagerly, I called them several times to ask the same questions: “How far away are you?” “Where are you now?”

When I saw Poppy, she was smaller than I expected, and I had to keep my excitement under control as I didn’t want to scare her… however, we were both overjoyed, running, playing, hugging and cuddling on the floor. That very special companion had arrived, and we were inseparable!

I had intended to share my blessings in life, but instead, God blessed me even more by bringing Poppy into my life.

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