As we brought Buddy into our house in 2005, we also took him out of the house on Thursday: in
In September 2005 it was all systems go for a visit to Europe over the December holidays. The
kennels had been booked and paid for, for 5 dogs and two cats, the horses had been taken care of
and as always my will was fine-tuned and in an accessible place should the plane go down in
flames or we die in Euro Disney, the friends & family will have strict guidelines on what should
happen to my pets….
We were driving to work early that morning and our usual route was the Heidelberg Road
towards Boksburg. We had hardly passed Vernon’s Garage on our right when I saw something
bounce onto the side of the road. There were cars and busses in front of us so my line of sight
was marred but as we neared the area I saw what I thought was a calf on the side of the road. The
usual mayhem ensued in the car with me screaming and crying and yelling as I couldn’t get there
fast enough and while the wheels were still turning I opened the door and hopped out not even
breaking my stride whilst managing the gravel on my high heels. When I got to the animal I saw
that it was a huge Boerboel. The taxi in front of us had driven over his front feet to add to his
injuries and I thought he was dying. By then my husband had managed to stop the car and he
helped me put the dog on the back seat of the car. We immediately turned around and made our
way to our vet. As we drove I kept on speaking, pleading and crying all over the dog. I remember
having a white suit on the day and I also remember NOT having any tissues in the car, the result
being snot and tears all over the dog and the seat.
People that know our family well also know that my husband is not easily ruffled. He is a very
calm and collected person and he often chants the following mantra to me:” Calm down, you can
achieve so much more if you just calm down…” He stayed focused and spoke to me all the way
but to no avail – not even a hammer could have shut me up!
We arrived at the vet and now I must paint the following picture: picture a very sedate, very
Afrikaans, elderly, soft spoken, safari suit wearing man and one dirty, tousled, no shoes, no
tissue, bad language woman… he quickly put the dog on a trolley, wheeled him in and said: “go
to work, I will phone you….”
It was touch and go with Buddy. He suffered severe internal injuries, he had a huge cut over his
head, his paws were mangled and for days it didn’t look like he was going to make it. He was a
young intact male and I think roaming was his way of getting fed and impregnating all the
females in the area, which led to disastrous results. I went every day and sat with him but there
was no change. One afternoon I fetched the children from school and they just happened to be
with me when I stopped at the vet. They were desperate to meet the dog that had been a
conversation piece at home for the past week and so I thought what could the harm be. We
walked into the surgery after care area and the kids started interacting with him through the cage.
By the time we left I became apparent that Buddy loved children and he perked up so much in
that one visit that we promised to be back the same time the following day.
And so the healing started. Briony and Keagen gave Buddy a reason for being. He stayed with
the vet for three weeks, but he couldn’t walk. He had to be carried on a blanket from the kennel
to the outside area and back. We made the decision to bring him home.
Having so many dogs that are rather large we are always a bit unsure of how they will react.
Christopher and I carried him into the house on a blanket and straight to our room where we have
a sliding door that would give easy access to the garden. The dogs were curious but gentle. For
three weeks we carried Buddy in and out, rolling him onto the grass so he could do his business
and rolling him back onto the blanket to take him inside. He was a young dog, not much older
than a year and the prognosis was good for a full recovery.
So he healed, became part of the family and we had to beg and plead to get him a space in the
kennels with our other dogs so we could go on holiday. All worked out.
In the 9 years since then he had biliary shortly after he recovered from the accident – another big
scare, he had a type of blood cancer, and he was allergic to maize and had to be on the special
food from Royal Canin but apart from that he was healthy and happy.
He loved DJ so much that we had a few cuts and bites to contend with as DJ just couldn’t cope
with all the love but nothing serious. He also had the bad habit of humping Hazel even though
we neutered him as we got him. Not that we blame him as Hazel is a tart and was always fanning
the fires…..so he got the name of the Dirty Uncle (there is always one in every family). He was
super scared of the vet, the pool and really no “guard” dog at all. It took us forever to show him
that bath time is not killing time and eventually he learned to love the scrubbing and of course
the TOWEL. He always made a duck for safety before everybody else whenever he sensed any
irregularity but we loved him for all his wonderful little quirks and gentle nature. He also never
pooped on the grass but only used the ablutions in the flowerbeds – very considerate ….
He left us sleeping peacefully, no worries and even giving a little snore or two. We let all the
other dogs come and say goodbye and when his ashes return they will join all the other beloved
pets ashes in the special ashes cupboard (yes, we have one of those, seeing that we have so many
We are truly blessed to have such great animals in our lives – they make us the people we are.