The Epic tale of Orphan Annie

26th Apr, 2024

Written by Michelle Moyes

Photography by Michelle Moyes and Hatti Thesen

A starving dog dragging a dried-out skull with horns across her patio was the shocking sight that a Brackenridge Estate, Plettenberg Bay, resident witnessed on Saturday morning, the 3rd of February, when reviewing her security camera footage from the previous night.

Our social WhatsApp group was asked to please capture her on camera during the day. One resident had put bone meal around newly planted trees on his verge and managed to take a long-distance photograph of Annie (as we later named her after “Orphan Annie”) while she was desperately eating the bone-scented soil.

On zooming in on the photo, we determined that the brown-and-white dog was lactating. She was terrified of humans and would bolt the minute she saw movement or heard a voice. Annie had been feeding her puppies from her own meagre flesh and blood!

Five weeks of anxiety ensued. Food and water were put out for her all over the estate and then narrowed down to only one house at which she could be monitored on camera.

Estate security had scoured the perimeter fencing and found no escape holes. Guards were asked to monitor the entrances 24-hourly. It was established that she had, indeed, had her puppies somewhere on the estate. Thermal drones were used, with the consent of residents, to try and find her puppies, but to no avail. Annie had cleverly hidden them under something in impenetrable bush. We found the general area because Annie started dragging her food bowls to the edge of this bush.

We were about to place a tracking chip in a meaty bone which she could drag to her puppies when two puppies emerged at the house with the security camera. One was caught and taken to PAWS (Plett Animal Welfare Service). On returning later from a funeral, the owners of the house with the security cameras went to the house nearest the impenetrable bush and found three other pups and mum, Annie, on the deck.

Koos scooped up the three puppies in his arms and mum Annie started howling. Beulah took one puppy and showed Annie that she was just trying to help her. Amazingly, Annie followed the couple, with her three puppies in their arms, back to their house. By this stage it was too late to go to PAWS, so mum and pups spent the night in an outside room. They were taken by rescuers to PAWS the next morning, where Annie was overjoyed to be reunited with her fourth puppy.

Annie and her four puppies are happily and safely at PAWS, which is an interim solution. For the ultimate Happy Ending, these four puppies and Annie, the most wonderful Mum who gave her flesh and blood, hid, and protected her offspring to ensure their survival, will find their Forever Homes. Watch this space…

Editor's note: One pup has been happily homed! 

View images as Gallery | Carousel
FB: 0