One evening after work, I was minding my own business when I received a message from my colleague. Marna told us about this dog who was living on the pavement next to a busy road. On 9 May 2017, Lemaine who works with Chantal, who is one of our awesome volunteers, informed Chantal about this boy living on the pavement. Chantal, told Marna, who used be be an awesome volunteer but is now an awesome staff member of Dogtown.
Many attempts by others have been made to catch this boy, but he has outwitted them all. And he makes it look so easy to catch him, we always found him in the same spot and he gobbled up the food Marna and Chantal religiously took to him every morning and every evening. Eventually he anticipated their visit, waiting patiently by his food bowl on the pavement.
It seemed all the neighbors knew him very well, because all of them had a snippet to tell us, while we were lounging around with him on the pavement, trying to earn his trust. He has gotten used to us visiting, but he did not let us close to him. Except for one day when our vet gave us valium to give him, he was so sleepy that I ended up being able to sit right next to him. I had the rope lead perfectly over his head, he jumped up and I had him…. almost…. he turned his head 1 mm to the perfect side and got out of the lead and off he went.
So week after week, myself, Marna and Chantal went to feed him, take him treats, tried to bribe him, which he enjoyed very much. Why would he let himself get caught if he is getting the royal treatment right there next to the road. While he did not really have many concerns, we were having sleepless nights about him. It was very cold and he had no shelter. He moved with difficulty as the cold seeped into his old bones, he was living next to a busy road, and the female dog inside the property was about to go into heat, which will obviously bring all the boys to the yard, and from one snippet we were told, we gathered that our boy is not the best fighter on the street.
Our next plan was to take a trap cage through and place all sorts of yummy bribes inside until he gets used to going in and out, once we know he is going inside we will activate the trap and voilà, Major will be coming home to Dogtown.
But, the ‘universe’ had other plans. Even though we placed our trap in a secure place, little hands came to fiddle with it, then it was moved around and the trap was activated, so our boy never even had a chance to go in, the next thing we knew, the trap was standing on the pavement. So yes, the residents were getting slightly tired of us being there all the time.
Many stake outs were attempted afterwards, hours of waiting for Major to settle down so we can once again go closer while he was sleepy. Herding him back when he ran off and waiting for him to return. Having to pack up and go back empty handed because we did not want to chase him away from his spot where we know we can find him. Calling reinforcements to assist us which only caused him to run even further away, and not return to his spot that evening for dinner.
So, once more we called in the troops and lay out the plan on our plastic oval table. Team Major was born and Team Major was my personal last hope, if they couldn’t do it, no one could do it. Marna and Gordon will feed Major some treats with tranquillizers at the precise right time. An hour later, Picane, James, Platson, Mgcini and Billy will arrive and they will start stalking, herding and outwitting our boy.
On 22 June, Team Major left Dogtown for their mission, and all the dogs joined each other in chorus, singing the song of their people. Anxiety had her hands firmly around my throat the second they left. As the hours went passed and we all carried on with our day, a phone call from Marna made me look at my messages. James: “We got him”. I stared at it blankly for a minute and then did a jazz hands dance (in my mind). Major was coming home.
The heroes arrived and brought Major to his new home, a safe garden with a house, warm blankets, medication for his stiff legs and never wanting for food or water ever again. Major’s world have just been turned around and he was shut down, he sat against the wall in his new run to afraid to look. There was absolutely nothing wrong with his appetite though, ate like a champ even though he was stressed and shivered when we approached him. If only he knew, the great life that he was about to experience….
By Tersha, Trainer
To donate and help us care for Major and to help all the other “Major’s” out there, please use the details below:
Donate via EFT
Payments can be made to the banking details below.
Account Name: Dogtown South Africa
Branch Code: 254005
Account Number: 62240425571
Bank: First National Bank