Every day is a gift

8th Apr, 2021

Left to right: Zoara, Jack, Johan Duvenhage (George's husband and the fur kids' devoted dad), Kali and Levi

Written by George Wasserman

Professional photography by Xany Jansen Van Vuuren

Our connection with MuttMix goes back to June 2012, when we first had the DNA of our two rescue dogs analysed. Beside the fun of really knowing the breed(s) of our rescue dogs, understanding their temperament and personality traits better, and being more knowledgeable on their reaction to medication as well as potential medical conditions are of crucial importance.

Beside the Dachshunds in our lives, our fur angels (as we lovingly refer to them) are ‘pavement specials’.


Jack’s currently the oldest, at nine years. Naledi Animal Shelter in Vryburg trusted us to adopt Jack. Jack used Facebook and his beautiful eyes with their large black mascara rings to steal our hearts. His shelter name was “Vonkprop” (Afrikaans for spark plug), which caused a huge laugh. We named him Jack, because his coat reminded us of a Jack Russell. 

He’s become the firm favourite of many people in our neighbourhood, and during our daily 3km post-supper walks, he always turns heads and demands a cuddle. And when the ladies are sitting outside on the grass, chatting and eating, they spoil him by sharing their supper or snacks with him. Although he appears very intimidating, he has a very loving nature.

When he first arrived, he needed a lot of attention and support. His thick, rich coat was full of mange. With much love, patience and medication the mange was eradicated, and today Jack has a very unique coat. A very creative friend referred to him as “the dog with the candyfloss coat”; that really made us all smile a lot. Jack has a unique way of howling (as Basenjis do) but has NEVER allowed us to film this. Every time the phone comes out, he either stays quiet or walks away. Jack also loves to cool down in his splash pool in summer.

A session with an animal whisperer helped us to understand some of Jack’s unique behaviours, such as his anxiety to walk past storm water drains and his need to “attack” white/silver vehicles. During the conversation, he indicated that he’d been knocked by a white vehicle on the hip when he was very young. When we first started walking, he indeed walked slowly and with difficulty. Fortunately, this healed quickly as Jack became stronger.

Jack’s MuttMix Results:

        Level 3                        Irish Setter

        Level 4                        Chow Chow

        Level 4                        Rottweiler

        Level 4                        Shetland Sheepdog

        Level 5                        Poodle

        Level 5                        Collie

        Level 5                        Basenji

        Level 5                        Belgian Tervuren


February 2020 Zoara caught our attention on the Facebook page of New Beginnings Charity in Bloemfontein. Zoara is four years old and has a traumatic past. New Beginnings took such great care of her and fixed all the neglect as much as possible. She’s integrated well but enjoys her own company. The outdoors is the place for her – she enjoys stalking mice and pigeons and lives for the evening walks.

Zoara’s MuttMix Results:

        Level 3                        American Eskimo Dog

        Level 3                        Dalmatian

        Level 3                        Border Collie

        Level 4                        Cairn Terrier

        Level 4                        Parson Russell Terrier


In early March 2020, Kali joined the family, also from New Beginnings in Bloemfontein. Kali and her sister were sold as small puppies next to a national road, and a kind-hearted person brought them to New Beginnings. Just before Kali joined the family, our beloved rescue Dachshund, Kumar, passed away after a brutal attack during one of our evening walks. Emain Fourie from New Beginnings Charity (who was instrumental in Kumar’s rescue a number of years before) knew about our loss and suggested Kali and her sister. We were ready to adopt both, but just before we could, Kali’s sister got adopted.

As a puppy, Kali was deemed to be a Foxie-Dachsie (Fox Terrier crossed with a Daschsund). Looking at the size of her paws at a very young age, it was apparent that this wasn’t the case. She grew very quickly and now as an adult dog weighs 15kgs.

As a pandemic child Kali has never been alone (without her humans) for a day, and she suffers some separation anxiety, although she’s part of a family of six dogs. She’s rather possessive and protective, and if she can’t move a dog out of the way, she simply lies or sits on them. Her favourite way to dominate Max (a large Dachshund) is to stand over him and hold him hostage between her arms and legs. If she wants to sleep in dad’s arm (where Alex the Dachshund sleeps), she lies on top of him. Kali is one year and two months old.

Kali’s MuttMix Results:

        Level 2                        Papillon

        Level 3                        Italian Greyhound

        Level 4                        Ibizan Hound

        Level 4                        Miniature Pinscher


During the winter of 2020, we realised that our little Ester (rescued in 2004) wouldn’t live for many years longer. When we saw Levi on the New Beginnings’ Facebook page, we immediately fell deeply in love with this gorgeous tripawd. We were so blessed when he came to his forever home during August 2020. 

He arrived in this world in very difficult circumstances, and, as a puppy, he was tied with a piece of wire around his right leg to ensure that he didn’t walk away. He was ill-treated and developed gangrene in his leg as the wire ate into the flesh.

Fortunately, an angel rescued him and took him to New Beginnings, who paid for his medical bills to have the leg amputated and to rehabilitate him. Nobody adopted him, and today we know why: he was destined to bless our lives. We received him in perfect condition, and we can’t thank Emain and her team enough for all the love and care they provided Levi.

He’s most adorable, intelligent, loving, trusting and bursting with joy and energy. He does everything the other dogs do; he also goes for the evening walks – in fact, he cannot wait and is the one that drags everybody behind him as he tears down the street.

The biggest gift of all is the massive love that Kali and Levi share. They sleep together in each other’s “arms”. They play together, sometimes roughly, but never nasty. They were made for each other, and the way that the Universe brought them together in our little family is extra special. Nothing happens “by accident”.

In Hebrew Levi means “reunited in harmony”; in a Slavic language Levi means “hero”. We didn’t know this when we chose his name, but it fits perfectly. Levi is one year and five months old.

Levi’s MuttMix Results:

        Level 2                        German Shepherd Dog

        Level 3                        Saint Bernard

        Level 4                        Staffordshire Bull Terrier

        Level 4                        Australian Shepherd

Every day is a gift, receiving their pure, unconditional love and showering them with love in return. We can’t imagine our lives without each other.

P.S. You can follow this adorable pack on Instagram at PrinsJack2012.

Dominque of MuttMix adds…

What more can we say! The Wasserman pack is in the hands of an absolutely loving family, and we just can’t add anything more! EXCEPT a handsome donation from MuttMix to George’s chosen shelter, New Beginnings!

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