Written by Cherie Sindall
Jing Jing’s soulful eyes just cried out for a retirement home. But, as it turned out, it wasn’t just one senior animal who would be getting a home that day…
Just Jing Jing
Around 8PM on the 8th of November 2018, my friend Dee of Happy Tails sent me a picture of a brown dog in desperate need of a forever home.
The following day, when she realised I was willing to take in another rescue, she told me about Jing Jing’s sad story. With Dee’s competent kind help, she connected me to Kleinmond Animal Welfare Society (KAWS) and introduced me the lovely Tracey-Lee Cohen.
Tracy-Lee was desperate to home the senior dog to give her a chance of happiness in a forever home before her time on earth ran out. While chatting, I asked if there were other senior dogs needing a forever home while they live in the Waiting Room of eternity…
Tracey-Lee sent pictures of another sad senior doggy named Gesiggie whose owner had died in a recent tragedy. So I offered to take both seniors… then I decided to also adopt a senior cat called Mo. She was to be a friend for my cat whose sister had passed away at 16 years of age a few days prior.
Within an hour Tracey-Lee called to confirm that Jing Jing, Gesiggie and Mo had all been approved, so she’d bring them to our farm in the Outeniqua Mountains, raising funds to sponsor the journey.
Tripping to Retirement
Within a day, Tracey contacted me to say that Hill’s Pet Nutrition was sponsoring an adventure called “Tripping to Retirement” that would enable the three senior fur babies to be safely delivered to us, and the animals would arrive on Saturday, the 17th of November, 2018.
Since I already have a large number of rescued dogs on the farm, and thinking that Jing Jing and Gesiggie would need “time out” to adjust, I spent a week preparing a private quiet area for them – a specially built kennel-for-two with their own private area. The result was welcoming, and I felt secure knowing my new family would be able to integrate at their own pace.
As the arrival of our golden oldies came closer, I constantly told my zoo family that two new grannies were coming and I wanted them to be friendly, kind and loving when they arrived.
Does anyone else think all dogs speak perfect human?
When Tracey called to announce their arrival at my gate, I rushed up to meet them all and burst into tears of joy and instant love when I saw the three golden oldies packed neatly into the KAWS bakkie (pick-up truck), surrounded by gifts from Hill’s and comfortably seated on their brand-new beautiful Hill’s beds.
Jing Jing leapt out of the bakkie and jumped straight into my arms the moment the door was opened. She knew she was forever home.
Gesiggie was sweet, kind and gentle but deeply uncertain, confused and a bit bewildered, having just been taken from her temporary foster mother.
My dogs barked their enthusiastic welcome to the KAWS team with our new grannies. Everyone was overwhelmed with rivers of love, joy and assurance that this is undoubtedly the best place for our golden oldies to be.
Within half an hour, Jing Jing and Gesiggie were introduced to their large new family of doggy friends of all shapes, sizes and ages. The grannies quickly realised they were HOME – wanted, safe, loved and protected.
In the end, my effort to secure a Retirement Area was not needed; it’s never been used. The girls moved straight into the homesteads and immediately began to settle in.
Gesiggie was sad when Tracey-Lee and Riekie left. I stayed with the precious girls in the house, hugging them both as the KAWS vehicle slowly drove away. Gesiggie gazed out of the window after the bakkie until she could no longer hear them. Then she began touring the lounge, inspecting their beautiful Hill’s beds and greeting her new family. By evening, she realised she was welcome to curl up there; she settled onto a couch and slept quietly through the night.
The two old ladies were exhausted, but it was evident that they knew this is HOME.
Kitty Mo moved in with Sooty and the two began a slow process of becoming friends. At first, Mo hid under the bed for a day but quickly settled into her sponsored beautiful Hill’s kitty bed and began to adjust to her retirement home with her new friend Sooty.
Today, they’ve overcome their shyness of each other and are now eating, sleeping and accepting each other (although I have not yet seen them cuddled together).
Jing Jing bounced around the farm for days, overjoyed at the feel of grass, dirt, sand, and stones beneath her paws. She still loves to run like a dressage horse, prancing proudly around the orchards and gardens, springing across the lawns swinging her front legs out in a dressage-type movement I’ve only seen Olympic horses perform.
She has a sweet, crinkly smile when she sees me and is enjoying forever freedom from kennels, sleeping on couches, bouncing on my bed and gobbling down her delicious meals kindly sponsored by Hill’s.
Each day Gesiggie made gentle new strides forward as she realised that I wouldn’t disappear or abandon her. She began to grow in quiet confidence and peace. The bewildered anxious look in her eyes dissolved and disappeared.
Her eyes are huge pools of deep, pensive contentment and peace. Each mealtime after finishing her bowl of food she jumps up beside me to lean her head on my shoulder and cuddle up to me while I watch over my canine family as they eat their meals. It’s become our “special together cuddle time”.
A lady comes to help me clean the homesteads once a week. Last time she was here sweeping the concrete path around the house, Gesiggie flew off her bed and raced across the lounge to viciously bark against the window at my cleaning lady, threatening to eat her if she came closer. Gesiggie is now my protector!
Jing, Gesiggie and Mo are forever HOME. They’ve brought a new challenge, fresh motivation, great joy, peace and love into the “zoo family” here.
The trio have also been kindly sponsored by CK Quality Pet Products – we feel truly blessed for the lovely spoil of a hamper of goodies. Thank you, Charmaine Young.
Thank you to Dee, to Hill’s, to Tracey-Lee and Riekie for each moment you so kindly gave to securing a forever home to these wonderful senior “petizens”. They deserve the best of the best and are deeply loved, cherished and treasured. They changed my life as much as, together, we all changed theirs.
God bless you all in everything you do.
THE TERRIFIC TRIO
By Tracey-Lee Cohen, volunteer at KAWS
These three loving seniors all had sad stories behind them and badly needed a place to call home.
Jing Jing narrowly escaped death about nine years ago; she was found in Hermanus with her six puppies, and, with no other real option at the time, she was off to be euthenised. KAWS put her in our bakkie and drove the vulnerable little family back to the shelter. Her puppies were all adopted out (the last one being only in 2017) whilst Jing Jing spent her days in the shelter.
She was briefly adopted but, sadly, returned after a few months as her new mom’s circumstances changed.
Jing Jing was a broken and desperate baby; no matter how much love we gave her, she knew she shouldn’t be in a shelter in her final years.
Gesiggie was just a sad doggie who longed for love and kind hands. She was in a loving foster home, but we knew we had to search for a perfect home for her.
And dear Mo had lived her entire life at KAWS.
Home sweet home
When the amazing Cherie stood up and offered to give them love and a final destination, we cried tears of joy for days.
What an amazing experience: We loaded the three fur kids into the bakkie and started the long road to their new home. There was much excitement, and when we arrived there were tears all around! Jing jumped out and seemed to just know she was home. Our hearts were about to explode with happiness.
To the amazing Cherie, we couldn’t be more grateful for loving these three senior babies. We still have happy tears. The world needs more people like you. You are truly an earth angel. And to Dee, your ongoing and unwavering support to animals in need leaves us breathless.
Editor's Note: Special thanks to our advertiser CK Quality Pet Products for the wonderful hamper of goodies sponsored by them for Jing Jing, Gesiggie and Mo; they were delighted.