Unconditional Love And Forgiveness

16th Feb, 2024

Left to right: Heather Van Zyl-Smit and Shaggy, Natascha Mulder and Haile, John Tully and Ziggy, and Albert Mulder and Raine

Supplied by Animal Welfare Society of SA

Professional photography by Jackie Wernberg Photography

The family of seven grossly abused and neglected Maltese Poodles and a cross-breed dog were rescued in the nick of time by AWSSA Inspectors from a property in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain, on the 11th of January 2024.

It was as though their owners had simply forgotten about them and their care of duty towards the dogs. They were in such a bad state that we’re certain that they would have perished had we not stepped in and acted decisively.

Sadly, only four of the eight dogs survived. The others were simply suffering too much and had a long list of irreversible physical afflictions that were impacting negatively on their quality of life.

We were delighted to confirm that the four once-petrified, -abused and -neglected Maltese Poodles we were able to save – and decided to name after famous Reggae music artists – were well enough to leave our care and start a new chapter in their lives.

Our Animal Care Centre Supervisor, Lawrence Nkotha, and Adoptions Co-ordinator, Shannon-Lee Beukes, had been at their side since day one and put in a Herculean effort to get them “adoption-ready”.


According to Shannon-Lee, “Shaggy, who was initially petrified of just about everything, has come out of his shell and is the “lead singer” of the group.”

Shaggy’s new owner, Heather Van Zyl-Smit, shares...

Shaggy is such a gentle-natured boy. He’s not quite sure what’s happening to him but looks quite delighted when he’s allowed on the couch or bed and when he gets his bowl of food. He’s even getting a little bounce in his step.


Raine, who was unable to walk properly due to the extent and weight of her matted coat, learnt to walk again. She still stumbles a little but is getting better with each step. Raine was very nervous so spent some one-on-one TLC time in foster care where she was pampered back to good health.

Haile is the Star of the Show – initially nervous and sceptical about everyone’s intentions, she’s warmed to everyone and loves to be cuddled and stroked. She’s a sweetheart of note and very gentle.

Raine and Haile were adopted together to a wonderful family in Bellville.

Raine and Halie’s new owner, Natascha Mulder, shares...

Haile and Raine joined our family recently and both have adapted very well.

They’ve mastered climbing the few steps we have. They love going everywhere with us. Raine has a very shy personality and follows my daughter everywhere she goes. She doesn’t think twice about climbing onto your lap for a cuddle.

Haile is a very happy little girl; she loves all the cuddles she gets. Both my husband and I and the kids love animals very much. It was very sad to know what they’ve been through. When I saw them on the Animal Welfare Society South Africa’s Facebook page, I immediately knew that I wanted them to join our family.


Ziggy is a bubbly dog. All he wants is a lap to sit on. He needed some physiotherapy to help him regain his balance that was compromised due to the weight of the matted hair on one side of his body. Ziggy initially went into foster care with his foster dad, John Tully, and was scheduled to leave for his new forever home in Port Alfred on the 8th of February. He left our society in a very fancy sports car, sitting happily in the front seat!

On the 7th of February we asked Ziggy’s dad to bring him for the Happy Tails photo shoot whereby he’d also leave Ziggy behind. His foster family had fallen in love with him and really wanted to keep him, along with two other rescues he’d adopted previously from us.

After the shoot, Ziggy’s foster dad handed him over to me. This was a very sad affair; his foster dad couldn’t hold back his tears and neither could we. He was in tears making his way to his vehicle and said he just couldn’t look back.

We then spoke to the lady who was keen on adopting Ziggy in Port Alfred and oh, what a lovely lady she is… with such a good heart. We were speaking about the arrangements with regards to the time of Ziggy’s departure. In the midst of the conversation, she stopped me and asked, did his foster family not fall in love with him, and so we went on chatting. She said, “Shannon, please let them have him. I’ll still pay for the adoption and donate every month. I love the work you guys do and I always follow your page.”

When we called Ziggy’s foster dad to give him the news he was over the moon. Without wasting any time, he drove straight back here to fetch Ziggy again so that he wouldn’t have to spend the night in a kennel again.

Ziggy’s new owner, John Tully, shares...

It’s incredible how quickly Ziggy fitted in to our family and our lives. He befriended our two young sons aged six and three within minutes of arrival and was comfortable enough to lie with our other two dogs, Cholula and Mac, within hours. It was very clear to us from the beginning that Ziggy is extremely intelligent. He was house-trained within one week and understood the feeding times and where the treats were kept within a day or two!

Ziggy is a really playful fellow and has no problem expressing himself to his humans or his doggy friends alike. Although a very playful dog, he also loves a cuddle and will happily sit on a lap watching TV for hours. When bedtime comes around, he’ll expertly jump into our bed where he curls up every night with his new family, safe and happy away from the terrible life he once had.

Please let me extend a massive thank you to the lady from Port Alfred who made this possible and completed our motley crew of beautiful dogs Ziggy, Mac, and Cholula! Big Loves!

Love with all their hearts

These dogs had never known love, but within a week of being rescued, they all displayed tremendous resilience and an abundance of love that they’re desperate to share. We took them to meet a few of the residents of Cle du Cap Retirement Estate https://www.facebook.com/FaircapeLife/ and Faircape’s Tokai Health Centre https://www.facebook.com/FaircapeHealth/ as part of their amazing ‘Animal-Assisted Therapy and Companionship Initiative’ and they were an instant hit with everyone.

There’s simply no doubt that they were all ready to love someone with all their heart, and we’re delighted to have found them their special families who’ll love them the same. My philosophy is to never overlook a dog that has a few scars, grey hairs and a story to tell. Treat them with kindness and I guarantee you’ll find they’re the missing piece of your heart,” stated Allan Perrins, spokesperson for AWS SA.

Should you wish to adopt a pet from AWS SA, our Animal Care Centre situated at 7 Papkuilsvlei Road in Philippi is open seven days a week, and our Adoptions Team can be contacted on 021 692 2626 or by email: adoptions@awscape.org.za.

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