25th Sep, 2019

Written by Lesley Gaigher, committee member at the Louis Trichardt SPCA

Photography by Elsie Went and Alicia Thomas

Late in June 2016, the Louis Trichardt SPCA Inspector, Lawrence Khodobo, was informed of a stray dog that was often seen scavenging for food at a local convenience store. 

She seemed famished, and she appeared to have recently had puppies. Lawrence went to the site with committee member Alicia Thomas in tow. After many failed attempts, they were finally able to capture the stray dog and take her to the SPCA. Once at the kennels, we were able to confirm that she was indeed still lactating, so obviously there were puppies out there, somewhere – now in danger of starvation because their mom wasn’t returning to feed them…

Alicia and Lawrence decided it would be best if the mom was released again into the area where she’d been found. Hopefully she’d lead them to where her puppies were hidden. After hours of searching, almost at the point where they needed to call it a day, they finally heard it… a faint whimper… crawling through thick bushes towards the sound, and there they were! Five beautiful puppies!! 

Alicia collected the litter, and this time it took no effort to get mommy on board the bakkie again. It was as if she realised that she and her babies were being rescued.

We named the mommy “Firefly”, after the store from where she’d been saved. The five pups were still very young, no more than a week or two, but they were in tip-top shape. Firefly had clearly been looking after her brood very well!

The little family settled in well at the SPCA. As time went by, Firefly fattened up and her puppies were growing up fit and healthy! When the pups were weaned, the little family were all put up for adoption. Firefly’s story had reached so many people by then, and she’d gained quite a following. She was promptly adopted by a lovely family. One by one her puppies went, and the committee decided to adopt Lilly, the smallest puppy, ourselves to become one of our office doggies. However, we always still dream of finding the members of our SPCA pack their own homes. 

Much to my surprise and delight, my parents (Andy and Elsie Went) applied to adopt Lilly – I didn’t even know they were looking! Over the years, they’ve practically become honorary members of the SPCA; a part of the committee, all except for the official paperwork. Sure, I’m biased, but no one could argue that we’d be hard-pressed to find Lilly a better home!

Lilly formally joined her new family in August 2016 and has since blossomed into the loveliest, hoppingly happy girl! She adores her people! Car rides are a real treat, especially if it means they’re heading to “school” (Love on a Leash Dog Training) on a Sunday. 

Lilly comes from the humblest beginnings, but, fortunately, through the perseverance of her rescuers, all the cards that were stacked up against her came tumbling down. She was granted the opportunity to have a full and happy life in a home where she’s loved unconditionally and unequivocally!

Elsie Went, Lilly’s owner, shares…

Lilly came into our lives in August 2016, a wee pup, but so easy! It was our first rescue, and I can honestly say that we’ve never had a puppy that was less of an adjustment. 

Lilly never went through a “teething phase” and has always just been such a joy to us! Safe to say that from here on out we’ll only ever adopt!!

In the beginning she had some confidence issues. She’d go into hiding when someone strange came to our house, but since we’ve started training she’s climbed out of her shell completely. 

Lilly enjoys life to the fullest. One of her favourite things is her morning massage, which she insists on as soon as she wakes up. Oh, and playtime! Be it on her own with toys, with “Big Sister” Casey, or the “Twins” (two Jack Russell sisters), or with little Elvis (my daughter’s special needs Jack Russell), who visits every so often, she’s just so exuberant that all you can do is stand and watch with the biggest grin on your face!

It’s a privilege to be Lilly’s parents, to spoil her and love her, to be the ones she loves back!!