Formerly Abused "Bones" Easing Into Trust Again
I felt like a child playing with a puppy, overwhelmed by so much love being showered upon me, I had to restrain myself from thowing all abandonement out the window to start rolling around on the dusty cement paving of the clinic’s courtyard.
Mind you, this would probably not even have raised an eyebrow as this sort of behavour is what a person comes to expect from the staff working at IFAW’s Dog & Cat Project in Khayelitsha, Cape Town…people who are genuinely committed to uplifting the welfare of companion animals who have suffered from cruelty, neglect and abandonement and I would not have been the first person to have been overcome with emotions.
The precious being responsible for showering me with love is Bones. Bones was brought to IFAW’s Dog & Cat Project in July 2010, the heart of Cape Town’s winter. A young boy had taken ownership of Bones and had brought her to the project because she did not look well.
Well, to say the least, Bones was in such a state of dire starvation and neglect that the resident vets deliberated for a number of weeks on whether it wouldn’t be kinder to put her to sleep. It seems no matter how much she ate, she did not put on any weight. She was dewormed, treated with anti-parasitic drops and put on a month’s course of doxytab antibiotics and given high protein food in an attempt to give her system a much deserved boost.
Bones is about seven years old and has clearly been abused and subjected to extreme neglect and cruelty during her life. She was more than likely used to breed pit bull pups and then “thrown away” as she was probably seen to be “past her sell by date”, a sad truth for many dogs ending up in the cruel world of dog breeding and fighting. Bones has developed a noticeable anxiety towards being confined and on one memorable occasion a few weeks back, she had everyone in floods of laughter…Bones had been put in the project’s dog run whilst a humane education play was being performed, but after continued barking, it was decided to let her join the school children in watching the play.
Needless to say, Bones took one look at Wafi, the puppet being used in the play to teach the children about the importance of looking after one’s best friend and decided that Wafi was taking too much attention away from her and proceeded to rearrange the puppet’s hindquarters.
Initially extremely shy and reserved, cowering at the sight of a raised hand, it has taken many months of coaxing and reassurance for her to finally trust again. Now, when called, with head bowed and tail in the air, vigorously swaying back and forth, she slowly makes her way towards you, with words of encouragement, helping her to understand that there is no longer any need for her to fear being hit or kicked.
Yes, I think to myself, we did make the right decision in Bones’ case and thanks to the existence of IFAW’s Dog & Cat Project and the dedicated staff and expert vets who treat the dogs and cats who are brought through the project’s doors everyday, she has been given the opportunity to end life off on a much sweeter note than she began.
For more information on IFAW efforts for animals around the world, visit www.ifaw.org