Thursday, 19 September 2013

Dog news: SweetPi miraculously survives two ordeals and Abby joins us

Some weeks ago our dogs made use of a tunnel dug below the fence by a visiting porcupine, and disappeared into the mountains. For two days we combed the area on foot and by bakkie without luck. The Paardeberg has over 4000 hectares of bush, rock, and ravine, with wild animals (baboon, rooikat and leopard) on its upper slopes, and lower down, armed farmers protecting their livestock. We were seriously worried.
Then on day 3 Carl, the year old German shepherd, returned - hungry but in good health. Where were the other two? Day 4, day 5, day 6 went by. And then, on the evening of day 6, Abby, the young Labrador, came home – also hungry but fine. With hopes up, we waited for the return of the old boy, 8 year old Pihi (known for good reason as sweetpea)
But as the days and then weeks went by, and the weather turned icy and misty with rain relentlessly pelting down, we gradually lost all hope. We all felt sick, and sad emails criss-crossed cyberspace between us and various friends the sweet boy had made.
And then, one Tuesday evening, exactly 3 weeks after the Great Escape, I happened to be walking across the werf, when I looked up to see none other than Pihi at the gate. He was very thin and without his normal sparkly eyes and spritely demeanour, but he was there, wagging his tail and waiting patiently for me to open the gate.

Abby and Carl welcome Pihi back.
Over the next 10 days he slept a lot and ate a lot, but clearly was traumatized by whatever happened those 21 days. And then, as if being lost and scared in the mountains wasn’t enough, his pancreas gave in, leaving him within hours at death’s door. For days he was either in intensive care at the vet, or home where we fed him 2 hourly with a syringe. He was so sick he couldn’t even lift his head, and we twice came to the point of putting him to sleep, but the vet said we should hang in as some dogs do pull through.

And pull through he has. A few days ago he began eating again and is now making a slow but sure recovery. He seems to have his sparkly eyes back too. We are amazed and awed by him. That he survived the mountains and somehow found his way back to us, and that he has been to death’s door and returned. We are all overjoyed.

Top left Pihi before he got ill. Other photographs show how thin he is now, but on his feet again!

Abby the Labby

From the previous story you will have gathered we have a third dog called Abby, but the Great Escape overshadowed our introducing her as we had planned.
Abby came to us about 3 months ago via the Labrador Rescue Society. She is a small pretty one year old labby who had clearly been both neglected and harshly disciplined. At first we weren’t sure, given our circumstances, that we could manage her, but she is turning out to be a delightful girl. Although still a bit skittish with strangers, she is affectionate and sweet and intelligent too. She has fitted in well with the other dogs, and the cats, and is clearly here to stay.

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