Tonga’s Tale

28th May, 2021

Written by Megan Reyneker

Professional photography by JaniB Photography

Our rescue girl, Tonga, is an almost three-year-old mix breed (Pit Bull x Staffie, we think). We were blessed the day that we saved her and brought her home to become part of our family.

Tonga was nine months old when we got her, and they told us that she never ever barked! She’s a different dog now, full of joy, and she’ll protect us with her life. She’s so friendly and is like a sister to my son, who simply can’t go to sleep without her lying next to him on the bed.

At the beginning of March 2021, we noticed a small marble-size growth-like “something” under her neck that grew rapidly. We took her to the vet one Saturday soon after noticing this, and they gave her pain meds and booked her for an operation to cut out the “growth” the following Monday. We took her home after visiting the vet, and she didn’t seem to be in pain or ill and was still eating.

Later, we went out for a few hours, leaving her with my parents. When we returned later, her wound was bleeding. We called the emergency number and were told to bring her in the next day, which we did. An animal welfare assistant had a look at her and said that it was normal; the fluid inside would just burst. By the Monday, however, when my dad and I took her back to the vet, she’d stopped eating and had started crying. They immediately booked her in. 

It was then discovered that she’d possibly been bitten by a puff adder: their venom eats away at tissue, causing it to rot and have a very bad smell. The vet proceeded to cut out all the dead tissue and drained the fluid in the area. Tonga was in hospital from that Monday until the following Tuesday – it was the longest and toughest time ever for us as a family.

Eleven stitches later, our girl is back home and still putting her head down snake holes! Tonga has some days when she seems depressed and is very clingy, but she enjoys going on her family walks. We aren’t able to play with her favourite rope toy yet, and her neck’s still very tender, but our brave and precious girl is definitely on the road to recovery.


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