Buddy’s handy buddies

2015-04-09 00:00

BUDDY is one lucky mutt, with a host of buddies who saved his life.

After being trapped in a snare in the bushes near Town Bush Road for at least two days, the determined efforts of a group of caring Pietermaritzburg people have resulted in his rescue and subsequent recovery.

Nicknamed Buddy, the Labrador-cross, whose owner has not yet been traced, had been howling from deep in the bush for two nights, with a wire snare fastened tight around his waist.

Town Bush Road resident Greg Froud had searched the forest in vain for the dog, because Buddy howled mostly at night and kept quiet during the day.

Then on Friday night, when he heard the cries of the clearly distressed dog once again coming from the dark forest, Froud called the police for help in desperation.

He said the police who responded — Pietermaritzburg K9 Dog Unit members Warrant Officer Mike Wiid, Constable Bianca Cantello and Wayne Smith from Townhill police station — were “absolutely fantastic”.

Froud set out with the police, searching for three hours in the dark, cold, wet, muddy forest until they found the terrified dog, with a double strand of barbed wire wrapped tight around his waist.

“We didn’t know what we would find when we got there,” said Froud.

“At one point I had said we should give up and come back in the daylight, but the police insisted we carry on crawling around in the dark through thick bush until we eventually found him. He was so stressed. The wire was so tight around his waist we couldn’t see it.”

A nervous, sore and clearly relieved Buddy wagged his tail weakly when his rescuers arrived.

Wiid called the SPCA, who responded in the form of Inspector Ruan Pretorius, who hiked into the bush and down a “very, very, very steep bank” to get to him.

“Fortunately the wire did not go through his skin. He did not struggle too much because the police members had kept him calm,” said Pretorius.

However, prior to his rescue, Buddy had worn a trench around the tree as he circled it, trying in vain to free himself.

After cutting the dog loose and putting a leash on him, Pretorius and Cantello wrapped the skittish Buddy in a blanket and painstakingly hauled him up the bank, struggling as they slipped and crawled, zigzagging up through the mud.

Once back at the SPCA, Buddy was put into a warm kennel and gratefully accepted some warm food and a bowl of water. He is being treated with painkillers and vitamins, said Pretorius.

“He’s on the road to recovery. It seems he has an owner because he was well fed, but no one has claimed him yet. After seven days we can try and find him a home.”

Froud yesterday said the sense of relief he felt knowing that Buddy was safe and not still in the forest was “great”, adding that snares were “a huge problem” in the area.

“Just how cruel can people be, to put out a snare and not check it for days?” Pretorius asked.

• If you recognise Buddy, or know who his owner may be, please contact the SPCA.

• newsed@witness.co.za

THE initiator of Buddy’s rescue, Greg Froud, posted this on Facebook once Buddy was safe.

“I would like to express my sincere compliments and thanks to the emergency services who responded to try to locate the dog caught in a snare in the Cascades forests … Even after hours of crawling through thick bush in pitch darkness, mud and rain, these guys would not give up and eventually found and successfully rescued the dog.

“From my first call to a coherent and sympathetic control centre, to the supa-fast (sic) response of the vehicle, and the determination of the officers … What a breath of fresh air! Really, makes me want to be a “Maritzburger” again. Well done!”

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