Written by Mizan Malan
Professional photography by Nat Gold ZA
On the 27th of November, 2018, I left the hospital after my night shift to go and fetch my two fur babies from their granny, who’d been looking after them while I was at work.
I didn’t know that my whole life would change that night – my Rexi boy had managed to escape. He’d been frightened by my mom’s dogs and went missing!
I searched for hours, day after day, and straight after my 12-hour night shift I’d roam the streets looking for Rex. I posted nonstop on social media, phoned too many vets to even mention to make them aware, and regularly visited every single animal shelter I could think of.
With the assistance of family and friends, we printed flyers and put them all up on every lamppost we could find and in every postbox possible. We walked and called for him every chance we could get. I even got so desperate that I contacted two animal communicators in an attempt to give my heart some closure.
I reached out to many lost and found Facebook pages and groups who helped me so much with advice, guidance, tons of support and many, many shares. I received messages from strangers I’ve never met who were willing to help me find Rex. Strangers who made posters for me to share and who’d follow up regularly – my faith in humanity was restored.
People sent me messages of support and told me to never give up, while sharing their stories of being reunited with their beloved pets. I felt at times like I had given up, as every time I had a lead, it only ended in disappointment… I never knew a heart could be broken so many times.
Then we hit the 12-month mark, and Rex had been lost for a full year. No words can describe the sadness that followed me around for so long. After a year had passed, I accepted that I’d never see him again; I believed he was safely in heaven, watching over me, and I cried day and night knowing that a big part of my heart went missing along with Rex and it would never return.
I missed his second and third birthday, which shattered my soul. I prayed nonstop, begging God to please reunite us. Later my prayers changed to asking God to keep him safe, and if he was alive, to please give him a loving family who’d take care of him.
And then… on Friday the 10th of January, my prayers were heard! An angel of a lady, Ayesha Moolla, emailed me to contact her, as she’d spotted a cat in her yard for the past two days. The first day he meowed and made himself visible she hadn’t thought much about it, thinking it could be a neighbour’s cat. The second day he returned and made an even bigger noise, screaming. She borrowed her neighbour’s carrier, took the cat to the vet and had him scanned.
And so, my prayers were answered! He was found 1.6km from my mother’s house (from where he’d gone missing). I sat down and cried when she brought him to me; he just fell on my lap and purred! I was finally reunited with my Rexi boy!
Never in a million years did I think I’d ever see him again, but God answered my prayers, a lady heard his cries and took him in.
I never gave up on you, Rex, and neither did you! The bond between human and animal was too strong; our love made us to never give up and brought you back to me!
After a year and two months I get to hold this precious boy, whom I’d raised since he was five weeks old. I get to see his beautiful face, even though I can see a lot of pain and damage. If only he could tell me his story… but, no matter what, he’s safe at home.
Mumford recognised his brother immediately (but both need some time to adapt, since Rex is still scared and in total survivor mode). And Harvey boy, who was adopted after Rexi went missing, was at first totally lost with this “newcomer”, but they’re slowly adapting to each other.
God is good!
Thank you to each and every single person (you know who you are), my family and best friends, the strangers who became friends, and my partner, Ivano, for supporting me through this whole experience, for wiping my tears and searching high and low with me – you’re my rock and I love you!
For days, I couldn’t stop crying each time he looked up to see whether I was still next to him as he lay so close to my body, or when he’d keep his wits about him as he ate.
He had to survive for 409 days on the streets, and finally he gets to sleep safely in my arms once more.
Thank goodness for his microchip! No pet should be without a microchip – it’s literally what saved my Rexi and restored my heart.