Happy Days and Happy Families


I have re-homed many Goldens over the years but one that sticks in my mind and always will do was a dog named Rusty. I had a call from a man in Alberton who wanted to re-home his dog; the dog was just over two years old and was already in his second home. The next Saturday morning Mike and I went to see him and were shown to a fenced off part of his garden under an Eskom power line where we were told the dog had lived for the past year with no human contact. He told us that Rusty had bitten him when he arrived and he was scared of him, even showing us the scar of his bite. He had no shelter, the grass was never cut and his food and water were pushed under the gate every day.

We decided we had to take him home with us, I put a collar and lead on him and we walked him to our car. The problem was that he was very dominant and did not like men. At that time we had our 2 young sons at home and a cat. When he started to chase the cat, Mike told him off and the next minute he had his paws on Mike’s knees and his face about six inches from Mike’s face. Fortunately he didn’t bite that time but he also threatened James and David.

I took him to the vet to have his inoculations done and he had to be muzzled. Our vet advised me to put him down. What was I going to do? We put him in kennels while trying to find the right home for him, then out of the blue I got a phone call from Elaine who was an animal behaviourist in Durban, she had just come out from the UK and wanted a problem dog to rehabilitate. Mike and I picked up Rusty from the kennels, gave him a sedative and on a Wednesday evening after Mike came home from work, drove to Harrismith to meet her and hand over Rusty. We met at the Wimpy and I will never forget the look on Rusty’s face as we made him get into their car, he seemed to be saying ’I thought I could trust you’.

Elaine took him home, had him neutered, changed his name to Snipe and after some months serious work, she got him 100% right. He went to his forever home where he was trained as a gundog and lived happily with 2 cats.

Sometimes, when you least expect it, the right solution arrives and everyone wins.