Socks (left) and Nunu
Written by Richelle Graham, Director of Dead Animals Walking
Professional photography by Mel Photography
Socks and Nunu were brought to the haven one evening in the boot of the guy’s car. He didn’t assist me to take them out, so I tried doing it myself, and they were absolutely petrified. They defecated and urinated out of pure fear, and they were shaking profusely. They were being surrendered and had no idea what was going on.
When I attempted to pick Socks up out of the boot, she bit me in the face – not because she was aggressive, but because she was overcome with fear and uncertainty. We managed to get them into our rehabilitation area, and it took us a few weeks to get them to warm up to us. They would cower, run, hide and shiver, and sometimes snap if we came near them.
My kennel manager, Shirnol Willemse, and I persisted. Eventually, they warmed up to us, allowing us to touch them and cuddle them, although their bodies would tense up profusely when we picked them up. It was then decided that, because given the shelter environment, their frightened disposition would scare off potential adopters, looking past them and not understanding why they are so afraid. Notably, too, Nunu and Socks had to be adopted together, as they were joined at the hip. We asked Oscar’s Arc to assist us with their rehoming.
It wasn't even two weeks with Oscars Arc's assistance and there Maryna was, adopting them both. It was a dream come true because they were calm and just completely different, as if knowing they will never be dumped at a shelter again.
Maryna Conradie, Nunu and Socks’s new owner, shares…
It was Saturday, the 20th of June 2020, the day before Father’s Day. My family decided to take a little trip to Sea Point. We hadn’t been out as a family since the lockdown started, so the little break from the work-home-work routine was much needed. Our initial plan was to buy coffee from the Deer Park Café in Vredehoek and take in as much of the much-needed, still limited, freedom the easing of lockdown had brought. Our plans, however, quickly changed as we reached Camps Bay, as the weather became rather sombre and cold. I then suggested to the family that we should rather buy coffee at a café close by and enjoy it on the Sea Point Promenade.
Coffee in hand, we reached the promenade. Of course, the first thing that caught my eye was the little red Oscar’s Arc van standing in the middle of the promenade. Being a huge animal lover, I tend to avoid getting too close to animal adoption centres, as it usually ends up with me in tears because I cannot save all of the animals who need a home. That particular day, however, I felt the need to approach the little red van. I knew it was highly unlikely that I’d be walking away with a prospective adoption candidate, as I’m currently an intern pharmacist and still stay with my dad, who didn’t have any initial interest in adopting another pet. While approaching the van and petting a few of the happy free-roaming doggies, I caught sight of two little scruffy-haired dogs inside a cage with their backs away from the crowd.
As I approached the cage, the smallest of the two turned her little face towards me, and her black beady eyes stared right at me. I immediately felt the need to pick her up and hold her tight, as if to reassure her that everything will be okay.
One of the Oscar’s Arc volunteers offered to open the cage for me – an opportunity I immediately jumped at. I picked up little “Milky Way” and she happily sat in my arms while I walked around with her. I walked over to my dad; he looked at her. Thus began the debate about possibly adopting another dog as a companion for our 12-year-old Dachshund, Chocolate. My convincing points to my dad went from “but it’s for our protection dad; Chocolate can’t hear, and what if someone tries to break in?” to “but she’s so small, and I bet her wiry fur makes her less adoptable than the rest”.
Somehow, after at least 20 minutes of back and forth, my dad agreed that I could put my name up for possible adoption of “Milky Way”. I was in pure disbelief, as this is the closest I’d ever managed to come in the battle of “can we please adopt another dog, dad?”.
While handing in my adoption form, I was informed that there were two other families interested in taking both “Milky Way” and her sister, “Solar System”. I was further told that they’d prefer the puppies going to a family together, as they’re sisters and have been together since birth for the past five years. I was told that we’d be required to do a virtual house tour and that if our application was successful, we’d be informed by the very next day at the latest. I left feeling hopeful but also knew that I should try and contain this hope, as I really hoped they wouldn’t have to be separated. To my surprise, that evening, my dad approached me and said that we could consider adopting both puppies if it was absolutely necessary. I felt elated (and a little shocked) that in a matter of eight hours our conversation went from none, to one, to TWO!
On Sunday morning I woke up and immediately started filming the requested house tour and sent it off. The day went as fast as it came. By the evening, I felt less and less hopeful but still happy, because this meant the puppies had found a home together. Monday came and went, Tuesday came and went, Wednesday came and went, Thursday came…
I was at the clinic; I called my dad to ask him about things I needed to get for supper. A few minutes into the conversation, he randomly started reading a message he’d just received stating that our application for adoption of “Milky Way” and “Solar System” had been approved and that we should let them know when we could collect the pups. We were both shocked. I immediately asked my manager if I couldn’t take lunch the following day, because I needed to go and pick up my new family members. I could barely sleep that evening knowing that our house would be a bit fuller the following day and knowing that those two rugged-haired souls would no longer be lost.
The following day my dad and I arrived at Oscar’s Arc headquarters. I immediately spotted the two pups in the closed-off corner section and went a bit closer. “Milky Way” ran to the cage door as if she’d just seen an old friend and started moaning to get out. “Solar System”, a little wary at first, followed her sister to check out the situation.
A few moments later, my dad and I each left with a puppy in hand and made the trip home. Nunu (Milky Way) and Socks (Solar System) both took their place in the back seat, consoling each other along the way, probably trying to convince each other that these strangers might be a bit nicer than the ones who just gave them away.
Once we got home, both of them left the car, warily sniffing around, and definitely not ready for what they were about to witness. They were greeted by one nosey old Chocolate… two feisty cats, and a very noisy budgie.
A few weeks, many bum sniffs and a number of unpleasant cat chases later, things appeared to have settled down nicely. Nunu and Socks are now two of the most placid, kindhearted, over-protective, playful, happy-go-lucky pups alive. They’ve decided to take over my dad’s bed, much to the dismay of one of our cats. Socks, initially the more timid of the two, now demands attention and back rubs, and Nunu sleeps under the warm duvet every night.
Our hearts and home are now full! Thank you, dad and Oscar’s Arc.
Editor’s note: Find Socks and Nunu on Instagram @a.wired.life