Making a difference for Manny

5th Jul, 2018

Written by Lauren van Vuuren, Adoptions Manager at African Tails, Cape Town

Photography by Shuttermutts Pet Photography

Manny was abandoned when his owners decided to move away and leave him behind. For three long years, this gentle dog waited patiently and faithfully outside the gate of his house in Mamre, Western Cape, for his owners to return. Neighbours threw food over the wall when they remembered to feed him.

This is not the kind of life we would wish on any animal, but this dear soul never gave up hoping his family would return.

Then, three months ago, his family suddenly returned. But Manny’s joy and elation were short-lived – his family had acquired two new puppies and did not want him near them because he’d developed mange. Sadly, this loyal dog was locked out and rejected again.

But that all changed when we heard of him during one of our outreaches in the area (as part of the Mending Mamre project). We scooped him up and got him the necessary medical care. And then Manny was sent to his wonderful foster home.

Manny has blossomed into a sweet and gentle boy who has not given up on humankind and has learned to trust again. 


By Sandra Santos, Manny’s foster mom

The first day I brought Manny home, he was somber and his eyes appeared vacantly dull. He walked slowly and with uncertainty through the house with his head down. You could sense that he was confused and didn’t know what was going on. I could only assume he hadn’t been inside a home for a very long time, if ever, and it was a sensory overload for him.

Is this for me?

When I coaxed him outside to the deluxe doggie house my fiancé had built, he sat next to it, looked inside and then looked up at me as if to say: “is this for me?”.

After several minutes of sitting there, staring blankly at the doggie house, he went inside and fell asleep for the next three hours. He was exhausted and finally had a place to call his own; a place that was safe and stacked with comfy blankets and a pillow.

Manny had severe mange, and every bone on his spine, rib cage and hips was visible. His right ear was also severely infected and it may never perk up the way his left ear does – a permanent reminder of his days of being forgotten and abandoned.

Manny’s favourite things

Manny ate every meal with absolute vigour, polishing each bowl of food within 30 seconds or less. Now that he knows he’ll be fed regularly and that he never has to go hungry again, he’s happy to eat more slowly, and it’s nice to see he actually chews his food now!

Because Manny doesn’t have front teeth, his lower lip hangs a bit. I know I’ve taken too long to prepare his food when I find dribble on the floor because his mouth has salivated and his lips can’t contain it!

He loves to sleep inside his man-size doggie bed in the lounge and has embraced my three rescue cats, even when they think his wagging tail is a toy. He also loves his daily evening walks around my complex, as well as his bedtime biscuit treats.

Manny is very intelligent; within the first week he learnt how to sit on command when waiting for his food and treats. He knows the toilet is outside and didn’t need to be told that inside the house is a “no go”. He’s also learning to give his paw when asked. He’s been a pleasure to foster and is a very sweet and mild-mannered old boy. Although we surmise he is approximately six years old, a life of neglect has robbed him of the youthfulness you’d still expect from a six-year-old dog.

Walking with his head held high

We are a few weeks into his foster rehabilitation; his mange has been successfully treated and new sprouts of fur appear each day. I’ve noticed his eyes have a sparkle to them now and, when he looks at me with his tongue sticking out, he looks happy and content.

He’s learnt to walk with his head held high instead of slumped. It’s been wonderful to see him transform from a sad, forlorn dog to one that’s learning to understand what it means to be a dog in the truest sense!

We were overwhelmed when MuttMix kindly sponsored Manny’s DNA test and are thrilled to hear what breeds our special mutt is made up of…

Manny’s MuttMix results:

        Level 2    Belgian Malinois

        Level 4    Samoyed

        Level 4    Bullmastiff

        Level 4    German Shepherd Dog

I was pleasantly surprised at Manny’s physical likeness to the Belgium Malinois images I googled after receiving the results. The resemblance is definitely there! Personality-wise, he exhibits the Belgian Malinois’ intelligence and eagerness to please, the Samoyed’s affectionate nature and the German Shepherd’s loyalty and devotion.

All in all, he’s a wonderfully happy mix of the breeds mentioned above.

Dominique of MuttMix says:

The Belgian Malinois is known to be an incredibly intelligent dog (ranked one of the highest among all breeds) and is typically used as a police dog (tactical, drug and explosive sniffers, human tracking, etc.). They’ve even formed part of the anti-rhino poaching teams in the Kruger National Park with huge success as their tracking abilities are incredible. Manny is sure to thrive in a home with a family who will give him plenty of love, mental and physical stimulation and will provide many years of love and affection in return.

Sandy Clifton adds, “We had such an overwhelming response when Manny was rescued and we highlighted him on our Facebook page, but sadly, to date, we haven’t received one home offer for him.”

If you’d like to be part of his rescue process by giving him a loving home and would like to go and meet him in the meantime, please contact Sandy or Lauren on 021 5107360 or email