'Angel' dog fills gap in lonely granny's heart

2016-12-21 10:15


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – 2016 was not a very good year, at least for two souls in Cape Town for whom the year was filled with suffering and pain.

At one end of the city, 71-year-old Cathy Beckmann was mourning the loss of her husband Edgar who died in February, followed by her elderly German Shepherd dog, Sheba, a short three weeks later.

Just 13km away, a mutt was tied up in a Salt River scrapyard, knowing nothing of proper food or love and care.

A man who watched the miserable, skinny dog from his office block window across the street finally decided to do something.

He reported the neglect to the SPCA and lives were changed forever.

When 'Tigger' first arrived at the kennels, he was extremely timid. But that all changed when he met Beckmann, who was a volunteer at the animal rescue organisation.

Sent by an angel

She recalls that day clearly.

"I had a 14-year-old dachshund called Toffee. But my daughter kept on saying 'Ma get another dog, get another dog'," Beckmann says of the dark time.

"I made up my mind that I can't carry on like this."

Beckmann, her daughter and grandson sat in the waiting area while a dog was brought to them.

"He came in, jumped on my lap and put his head in my neck. That is when my daughter said it was my dog because he had chosen me."

When he finally arrived home, her friend looked to her and said: "Who sent you this dog? The Angel Gabriel!"

And that is how the two-year-old mutt got his special name.

Slow start

His antics and presence filled the gap in her heart left by her 84-year-old husband's death after a long stretch of dementia.

Taking care of Gabriel wasn't easy in the beginning.

"He was so scared. When I was going to work, he wouldn't walk anywhere. He would just lie down on his back."

Loud noises were especially scary. He would duck under the bed when she swept the house or switched a hairdryer on.

But Beckmann's persistence paid off.

The two spend their days walking in the park or relaxing at home.

A reason to get up

"I walk my dogs in the Alphen every day. He jumps in the water and carries his own lead. It is marvellous to see."

Gabriel is also very affectionate and continues to nuzzle his owner's neck.

At times, he jumps onto the bed and accidentally squishes Toffee cosying up under the duvet.

"It just changed my life. I have a reason to get up every morning."

Beckmann says they do not yet have plans for Christmas.

Despite retiring as a supervisor for the Artscape Theatre's booking office, she still receives invites every now and then to watch the latest productions.

But that will be the one activity the dogs will have to sit out.

Read more on:    spca  |  cape town  |  good news  |  animals

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Partner Content
How data is changing investments

Technological disruption is rife in many spheres of business and given the quantity of data available, it’s no surprise that the way in which asset managers work is also changing fast.

Behind the sparkle

Alluring, beautiful and timeless - diamonds are some of the most sought after gems in the world and are a true testament of everlasting brilliance. Let us take you behind the sparkle to show you the history behind this coveted jewel.


Play with your pet when you're not at home

Many pets are alone at home during the week while their owners are at work. So what do these animals get up to while they’re home alone?



How to get rid of fleas
12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.