Written by Matthew Harebottle
And in case you missed Zeus’s original Happy Tale… read it here before scrolling down…
I think it’s fairly safe to say that no one saw 2020 going this way! After a long and hard 2019, we were all ready to tackle the new year head on, only to be blindsided by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which sent South Africa (and many other countries across the world) into a nationwide lockdown that has had devastating effects on international livelihoods and economies. Despite the pandemonium, and the “COVID Chaos” that’s swept the globe, we’re extremely fortunate to have our boy, Zeus, back in our lives and have cherished, as I know he has, getting to spend each and every day with him in isolation. Having lost him for just short of two years, we’ve been able to catch up on some much-needed quality time, love and attention.
Following our President’s announcement of the initial 21-day lockdown, our biggest concern, in terms of the imposed restrictions on movement, was for Zeus and the fact that we wouldn’t be able to walk him during that period. With this in mind, and given the fact that work had either been halted completely or could be done remotely, my girlfriend, Isabella, and I were afforded the opportunity by a friend to go and stay at his house on Stilbaai (about four hours away from Cape Town), which was on a small piece of land and had access to the river, where we could walk Zeus and go on adventures.
Our time in Stilbaai was well spent. There were four of us in the house, with Zeus as the fifth and favourite member. Zeus loved the freedom that came with the open space and spent most of his time basking in the sunlight and exploring the secured piece of land. We played garden tennis, and Zeus could run for hours back and forth between players, trying to catch the ball. Whilst this was good exercise and he absolutely loved it, after a while we’d have to stop him, give him water and let him cool down, whereafter he’d spend the next 30 minutes sounding like a helicopter whilst catching his breath.
After what turned out to be a five-week level 5 lockdown, we returned to Cape Town and are now back in our own home. I know Zeus misses the freedom of roaming around outside the house, but since the country moved to level 4, we’ve been able to take him for long walks in the morning to get the outside time he loves so much.
On Sunday the 23rd of May 2020, we celebrated Zeus’s 6th/42nd birthday, and although it was celebrated in lockdown, with the treats and attention he received, it was very much the same. Other than that, our days have been pretty much the same, as I’m sure it has for many of you, but it’s in times like these that I look to Zeus and remember to never give up.
It’s been seven months since Zeus made a miraculous return and about five months since his skin fully recovered from the mange. Looking back at it all now, my friends and family can often be heard saying, “Look at him! It’s as if he never left.” He’s the same attention-craving, tail-chasing little ball of energy with a personality as big as life itself and a heart like gold.
Isabella, who’d never previously met him, absolutely adores him as much as I do (but probably even more) and spoils our “only child” beyond belief. He still sleeps in our bed, and in never-before-seen behaviour can often be found resting soundly on one of our pillows, having wriggled his way up the bed. We absolutely love him, and we’re just so happy knowing that he feels loved and cared for once more.
Whilst things have been a little crazy as we navigate these unchartered waters, we hope to pick up where we left off and continue our efforts to support our amazing animal organisations as South Africa begins to reopen the economy and ease up on restrictions. Thank you to each and every one of you who’s continued to support these amazing organisations throughout these trying times with donations and/or fostering and rehoming of all the animals in need. If you’d like to keep up to date with Zeus’s Story, head on over to Zeus the Brave’s Facebook and Instagram pages.