Judging this year’s Uitenhage SPCA Rescue Love Story was just as much a delight, as it was tough. “There were so many beautifully written stories. Picking just one winner per category was a tricky exercise given that so many deserving and talented stories came our way!” said GP and Ronél Goosen, SPCA volunteers who assisted with the Rescue Love Story competition. Well done to all the writers who entered and submitted brilliant stories about their rescued pets, and special congratulations to the winners: Lizette Janse van Vuuren with her story “Blackie” and Ian Oosthuizen with “Hoe ek Rosie gekry het by die DBV”.Both Lizette and Ian received Sterkinekor movie tickets, Rescue Love Story t-shirts and home baked doggy treats for their beloved pooches.Other exceptional stories were those of Tarryn Snyman, Heidi and Vickus Bothma, Lizel Butler and Robin Groenewald. The story of Blackie Blackie has been my loyal, courageous, free spirited companion and protector for the last eight years. How old he really is, or what breed…your guess is as good as mine, but luckily that doesn’t matter.His previous owner used to be our neighbour’s gardener, who abandoned him and moved to Port Elizabeth. Loyal Blackie came looking for him every day at his previous place of work. I started feeding him after I picked him up and felt under his overgrown black coat that he was just a bag of bones. I tracked down his previous owner who said he would appreciate it if I could take care of Blackie. Well, one look into Blackie’s soulful, pleading eyes and I was in love, so of course I said yes.Blackie proved himself as an excellent protector when a new-born baby was abandoned on our lawn and he alerted us by barking anxiously whilst sitting tightly next to the baby until we came out of the house.No security fence could keep our wanderer inside and he would climb over it to walk our domestic worker home safely, sometimes even staying for the weekend in his old hood under her watchful eye. The pair made quite a cute sight, tail wagging and smiling when they came to work on Monday mornings.Unfortunately, his protectiveness of his yard cost him a limb when he was kicked very hard and the vet suggested amputating the hind leg, but said that, because of his agility, he would still lead a decent life after the amputation.Well, “Tripod Security” is still fully operational and alert as ever. It just takes a bit longer to come to speed as old age creeps in. At least now the neighbourhood’s cats, hadidas and kiewiets have a fighting chance.Because of his disability he can’t dig and bury his bones anymore, but now he finds interesting hiding places, for example, between the braai wood or on top of the aloe leaves.He loves taking car rides, and his ultimate favourite is when Shelly and Anthea come to collect him for his grooming sessions.He likes to mark my clothes with his scent by rolling on them. Well, this has led to many cross-dressing moments, with him parading in anything from underwear to dresses.Being a creature of comfort, he picks up his food bowl when I put it down and carries it in his mouth whilst climbing down the stairs to the spot he picks out, usually where he can keep a watchful eye on the street.Although Blackie has never been to the SPCA, he is a great companion to his two siblings from the SPCA. Brother, Vonnie, and puppy sister, Zoe. Zoe immediately fell in love with Blackie (as all his human friends do) and will go straight to him after being scolded for chasing the chickens.I will forever be grateful that Blackie became part of my life and I wish him a happy, pain-free old age.