South African politician comes to rescue of injured dog

Ronney, pictured here with guardians Abongile and Mlungisi Mnqasela, was picked up by Premier Helen Zille while campaigning and brought to Mdzananda for treatment.Politicians are usually on parade, pressing the flesh and persuading the punters that they really, really want your vote.

At Mdzananda Animal Clinic, we’re certainly not used to a fleet of shiny cars with blacked out windows racing up to our gates, blue lights flashing in the service of saving an injured dog.

In fact, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, which is led by the opposition Democratic Alliance provincial office bearers have been banned from using flashing lights and sirens when travelling in their official vehicles, except in an absolutely emergency.

But on this one particular day, we were caught off guard when out jumped Ms Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape, until recently leader of the opposition in South Africa and one of the most formidable politicians in South Africa. “Godzille” as the media often refer to her is known for the blistering tongue and withering glance that has sent many a politician and journalists scurrying for cover.

It was jaw dropping, so much so that we forgot to take pictures, even when the Premier insisted on being given a tour of the clinic and took the time to talk to Eunice, our cleaning lady, and compliment her on her work.

As it turned out the Premier and her entourage had been visiting projects in Khayelitsha and had come across a dog covered in blood in the street. Instead of continuing, she brought the tour to a halt, had her staff load up the dog in one of her vehicles, and rushed to Mdzananda blue lights ablaze.

The dog was experiencing an irritation to stitches from an old sterilisation wound. Since most animal welfare clinics cannot afford to use dissolvable stitches for wounds nylon stitches are used instead. These nylon stitches remain for life and generally cause no harm. In addition, leaving the stitches in place allows a welfare veterinarian to feel if a pet has been sterilized. If an animal is rescued as a stray, or has a new owner, this is a good way of checking to find out if the animal has been sterilized.

In this case the dog’s stitches were many years old, and the nylon was scratching under the skin. To provide relief the dog had literally gnawed itself open, causing infection and bleeding. It was an easy job for our vet to repair and treat the damage.

And the outcome of the story? We discovered the dog was found to be the much loved pet of Mlungisi and Abongile Mnqasela. According to Abongile the Premier always takes the time to visit their home when she is in the township. On this occasion when she found Ronney so badly injured the Premier sprang into action to help.

The good news is Ronney is 14 years old, a venerable age for a township dog. She’s well on the mend and can look forward to a happy old age in comfort.

Thank you Madam Premier for your caring heart.


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