New dog from the SPCA helps pet lover smile again

2010-07-13 00:00

THE Kloof SPCA has brought joy to a young boy from Bruntville by giving him a canine companion called Temba.

For three years before he was given Temba, every Saturday morning, Siyabonga Mabaso (10) would take his dog “Doggy” to the Bruntville Township Dog Training programme morning where he learned to train and care for his beloved pet.

Siyabonga and Doggy were preparing for the Hills 1000 Paws for SPCA walk when Doggy had to be put down.

“I got a frantic call from Siyabonga when he got home from school one afternoon about two and a half months ago,” said Moira Kluckow, the programme co-ordinator.

“He said there was something wrong with Doggy, and he was completely beside himself,” she said. “His dog was old, and needed to be put down, and sadly there was no alternative,” she said.

“I have never seen a sadder child; he didn’t smile for months after that.”

Determined to enter the competition, Siyabonga walked with his cousin’s dog, Snoopy. On seeing Siyabonga and Snoopy, SPCA’s Janine Kyle knew how to make Siyabonga smile again.

“I sensed a sadness in him and felt I wanted to be able to give him something more than the prize he had received, but was not sure what it was that was missing. It was only after chatting to Moira that I received some answers as to what Siyabonga needed — someone to love and be loved by,” she said.

Kyle matched Siyabonga with Temba, a dog who needed a home and owner.

“Since then, he has a smile from ear to ear. He is just so happy!” said Kluckow.

Siyabonga and his new friend now attend the weekly training programme and, at bedtime, Temba climbs into bed with Siyabonga instead of sleeping on the floor.

Kluckow’s programme is aimed at teaching children in townships to care for their dogs properly.

“Three years ago we ran the programme during the holidays to keep the kids from getting up to all sorts of mischief; like standing on a bridge and throwing stones at passing cars!” she said.

Overwhelming positive response to the programme saw Kluckow turn the holiday project to a permanent weekly fixture.

According to Kluckow, working with the dogs teaches the children discipline, perseverance and companionship.

Weekly programmes are now conducted in Bruntville and Mphophomeni.

“We teach beginners how to stroke and handle their dogs correctly, and how to look after them. In the advanced classes the kids are learning to teach their dogs tricks and soon we’re starting agility training,” she said. “It’s all about learning to love your dog, and being loved back,” she said.

The programme is sustained by donations of leads, treats for the dogs and children and other canine-paraphernalia.

To support the programme e-mail Moira Kluckow: tgi@futurenet.co.za.

 

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