Written by Estelle van den Berg
…well, sandcastle that is. But, let’s start at the very beginning. Vlekkie was picked up next to a road in the Midlands Meander area with a chain around his neck. He was then taken to the uMngeni SPCA, where he stayed for a month waiting to get adopted.
Just in time
We went to look for a dog to adopt and luckily the SPCA worked super-fast so that the adoption process was finalised just in time. We collected our black four-month-old pup on Thursday, the 26th of March 2020, the afternoon before the South African lockdown started.
I’d never seen my three-year-old daughter so excited when we went to pick up Vlekkie, and she kept pointing out that Vlekkie was sitting next to her in the car while I had no-one sitting next to me!
They say that rescue dogs take a couple of weeks to adjust. Vlekkie took a couple of minutes. Shortly after we arrived home, Vlekkie’s zoomies started. He was making the most of his new, spacious yard and loved putting his entire head in my daughter’s splash pool. He also impressed us by being house-trained in ONE DAY. All of Vlekkie’s antics made us laugh and helped us through those first uncertain weeks of lockdown.
While Vlekkie was clearly living in the present, I couldn’t help but wonder about his past and just HAD to know more about his ancestry. That’s when I decided to contact MuttMix. With all the restrictions in place on things to do and places to visit during lockdown, we had extra time on our hands and decided to have a friendly competition amongst family and closest friends to guess which breeds Vlekkie is made up of. The winner (the person whose guess is the closest to the results) would win a box of Lindt chocolates. Then the results came…
Vlekkie’s MuttMix Results
Level 3 Boston Terrier
Level 3 Australian Shepherd
Level 4 Pug
Level 4 Irish Setter
Level 4 Boxer
Reactions ranged from surprise to disappointment in forfeiting a box of those delicious red baubles of milk, sugar and cocoa. It turned out that not one participant guessed even one breed from Vlekkie’s genetic make-up correctly!
Three out of five breeds are brachycephalic (flat-faced), but Vlekkie has a nose like Pinocchio’s after telling a quite extensive lie.
As the lockdown restrictions have gradually been lifted, we’ve been able to do more with Vlekkie and learn more about him. Reflecting on his results, we can see that he has characteristics or features of all five breeds of which he’s made up: The colours of a Boston Terrier, the problem-solving abilities of an Australian Shepherd, the love of cuddling on a lap from a Pug, the athleticism of an Irish Setter, and the playfulness of a Boxer.
After first living in a kennel and then upgrading to a house with a yard, the next step was obviously to take Vlekkie to the beach. When self-catering accommodation within provinces opened, we went to a pet-friendly beach house at the South Coast, where Vlekkie was able to run and chase the waves, dig as much as he liked, chew on seashells and help our daughter build sandcastles.
Here’s to many more runs, cuddles and holidays together.
Dominque of MuttMix adds…
While there are three flat-faced breeds in the mix, the two breeds with longer noses have dominated that facial feature. This is quite normal in mixed breeds – as the old adage says, “You can’t judge a book by its cover!”