Saving a Poisoned Dog and Six Orphaned Pups in Soweto Orphaned pups about 30 minutes after their Mom had died.

I am just about to walk out of the door of the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Dog & Cat Project in Jhb when I get called back….

”Please tell Cora there is a poisoning in Snake Park, I will send the address via sms.”

I jump into CLAW’s mobile van, relay the message to Cora and we hit the road for Snake Park, not knowing how advanced the poisoning is.

With years of experience of traversing the dusty roads of the townships, Cora meanders her way through some serious 4x4 territory, crossing flooded ditches and passing grass fires sparked by the dry highveld air. Many roads leading to settlements in Soweto (south western townships) have remained dirt roads as they are low on the priority lists of municipalities.

We arrive in Snake Park and make our way to the address provided…under a large tree next to a pile of refuse stand the owners with their dog, an adult male dog who is clearly not well.

Cora approaches the owners to find out the full story as she needs to be certain that it is a poisoning. The woman explains to Cora that they witnessed their dog ingesting the rat poison that morning. The dog is vomiting and has diarrhea. Cora explains that we need to take him back to the clinic so he can be put on an IV straight away to flush the poison out of his body. The poisoned dog from Snake Park who survived a poisoning is offloaded at the clinic.  He is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.

The owner is distressed and asks if it is really necessary and Cora tells her that if he doesn’t return with us to the clinic, he will die. The owner agrees and we load their dog in to the mobile.

As we are about to depart, a young man steps forward and says we need to come to his home urgently, his sister’s dog is seriously ill and she has six puppies. Cora asks him if he lives nearby and he says yes, so after a quick shuffle around in side the mobile van, he jumps in with us and directs us to his home.

As we arrive, a very sad sight greets us as we realise that we have arrived too late, the mother dog has died, not 30 minutes before our arrival, leaving six pups orphaned.

The owner takes Cora and us around to where the puppies are laying at the back of the house and six little bodies, about three weeks old, are huddled together.

Cora picks one up and says we have to hurry, he is very cold and we need to get them in a warm environment and bottle fed as soon as possible.

We pass by the father of the puppies and as we walk by and acknowledge him, he wags his tail. First his mate dies a horrible death by poisoning and now his puppies are gone too, but I reassure myself that taking the puppies is for the best as they stand a good chance of survival being fostered and will find good forever homes.

We start making our way out of Snake Park when Cora’s mobile rings, there is a Mom with eight puppies that need to be collected as the owner does not want them anymore.

We cannot turn back now though, our poison victim takes priority and it is imperative that he gets put on an IV line directly, so arrangements are made for the mom and pups to be collected by another mobile.

As we pull up to the clinic, Vet Saskia Karius and Vet Nurse Katie Suddard are standing by with hot water, food and blankets.

The pups are whisked into the clinic to a warm cosy bed and Saskia gently lifts their dead mom into her arms and compassionately looks into her eyes. Another senseless death…

-- LCH

For more information about the International Fund for Animal Welfare effort to save animals in crisis around the world visit

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