Sweetheart’s tale



“My name is Sweetheart, although, until two days ago, I had no name. My son, Scout (also a new name), and I were just things, living with a man who didn’t really look after himself, never mind us.

I was always hungry, my tummy growled constantly, although I never, ever did – I love people too much; I always try to believe in the good in them. My son ate most of what little food we got, and, because of the constant tight, itching discomfort in my skin, I didn’t have much appetite anyway.

A while back I injured my leg. I tried to lick it clean but I don’t think it helped, because the pain blossomed into a burning ache, and I could smell the infection. It feels hot all the time now, but the rest of me is cold. It is uncomfortable to lie down because my bones stick out and we have no soft place to sleep.
I had babies in March, but I didn’t have enough milk for them so they all died and I felt sad.

I am dirty and I know I don’t look or smell very nice – maybe that’s why people chase us away? I long for kind words, a gentle hand, and a knowing that I am loved. Why does nobody love me when I try so hard?

Two days ago, our owner called us to follow him. We walked through the squatter camp where we live, past the piles of rubbish (where one can sometimes find things to eat if you look carefully) to a van with two ladies in blue. I was thirsty so I lapped up a little water from a puddle; it was gritty and stank of car fumes.

Our owner spoke with one of the ladies, while the other called me over. I could feel her anger, and she said I looked bad. I started to feel ashamed and turned to go, thinking she was about to chase me away, but then, would you believe it, she reached out her hand and stroked me under my chin!


She was very careful not to touch me where my skin was itchy or where I was sore. She smiled at me and I realised she wasn’t angry with me at all, but rather with my owner.

She carefully picked me up and looked at my wound. She said it must be very eina – and told me they would be able to make it better! I was so enjoying being cuddled and stroked by her; it had been a very long time since anyone had shown me such kindness.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my owner walking away and then the lady put me into a box! What was happening? Where was my boy?! She told me it was going to be ok and then – thank goodness – Scout was gently placed into the box with me.

And then, with a rumble of the van, we were off – to where I do not know, but I hope there will be more cuddles and kindness there…”

Sweetheart and Scout were taken to Uitsig Animal Rescue Centre on Saturday afternoon where she received pain medicine; her gums were very pale but we suspected this is due to malnutrition and worms.

(Of course, we made sure that this story has a happy ending: Sweetheart )

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