Rolo lived in Fisantekraal and was a huge favourite of all the FAW volunteers. He was born with a fantastic personality and was (and still is) the most incredibly friendly, loving dog with loads of energy. He belonged to someone who stayed in a backyard dwelling and, sadly, most of the time, Rolo was chained up. It pained us to see a lively, outgoing dog like him on the end of a chain but resolving these issues is much more complex than it seems. Sometimes, he would manage to get loose and come to visit us. But, mostly, he was stuck behind a house, chained to his dilapidated kennel, ignored and neglected while his owner was out at work.
Then, in November 2016, horrifically, Rolo was attacked, allegedly with a panga, chopping off two of the toes on his front paw, and sustaining some less severe wounds to his face and other leg. How someone could hurt this gentle soul, we don’t know – it is possible that alcohol or drugs were involved, based on what we were told by neighbours. We were all extremely upset – Rolo is one of the NICEST dogs you will ever meet. Although he looks scary with his ice-blue eyes, he is a gentle giant who loves nothing more than to cuddle. He needed to go to the vet and Rolo’s owner asked us to rather not bring him back because she fears for his safety.
Rolo went to our friends at Tygerberg Animal Hospital Durbanville (Plein Street), where they kindly treated him at welfare rates and allowed him to stayed for several days following surgery. But what were we going to do when he was released? Finding a foster for a large, male, scary-looking dog is not an easy ‘ask’, never mind one that was going to be in recovery…
Then, an extra-special foster stepped forward. PetPrints Magazine‘s Marise and Gerard Burger had delivered a donation of kennels and food to us earlier that year and had had the privilege of meeting Rolo on one of his occasional jaunts (when he would manage to get off his chain and make his way the few blocks to our containers). Marise had fallen for his blue-eyed charms and stepped up to foster him! He needed frequent bandage changes and to be kept from chomping at his foot, and, initially, Marise had to drive up and down to the vet because his paw kept getting inflamed and struggled to heal. But, slowly, things got better and he was soon rid of his ‘cone of shame’ and trotting along on all fours. Physically, he did very well, and made friends with the cats and his new dog ‘sister’, Mia.
Emotionally, however, Rolo had been deeply affected by the attack. He had nightmares which left him shivering and howling in his sleep. But the Burger family was not about to give up on him, despite the sleepless nights, and they worked hard on building his trust and confidence. Rolo eventually slept through, nightmare free. And it wasn’t long before they realised that Rolo was not going anywhere – they adopted him.
Today, Rolo is a fantastic foster himself, giving love to kittens and cats! His missing toes barely affect him and he actually enjoys going on runs. He has even been a welfare mascot and accompanies Marise on school educational talks about animal welfare. He has shown himself to be an incredibly loving, forgiving dog. We are so grateful to Marise and Gerard for giving him the most amazing home ever.
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Main feature image credit to the incredibly talented Emma O’Brien.