Family reunited with missing husky after 10 years - 'We thought he was gone forever'

2019-07-25 08:17


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In an unbelievable "tail" of surviving a dog-eat-dog world, a family was reunited with their husky this month, exactly 10 years after he went missing from their home in Cape Town.

The Slabbert family had welcomed puppies Koda and his sister, Sasha, into their Vredekloof home in 2009, expecting a lifetime of shared memories, snuggles and walkies.

Instead, the micro-chipped puppies disappeared from their home when they were just a year old.

The family suspected they had been snatched because their collars were missing and all that was left behind were tags bearing the family's contact numbers.

"It was such a shock and we searched for a really long time, getting the whole family to try find them," Chantelle Slabbert, 29, told News24 on Wednesday.

"We thought they were gone forever and we never thought we were going to see them again."

Read: Have a ball! Devastated dog owner leaves toy box on Cape Town beach as a tribute

Slabbert said she had kept a photo of Koda - which is Native American for friend - in her bathroom.

And then they got a call from the Cape of Good Hope SPCA in Grassy Park this month that changed their lives forever - "We found your dog."

It was thanks to the micro-chip.

"I was in total, utter disbelief. They asked if we wanted to come and collect him," she recalled.

Slabbert said she and her mom, Marie, wondered how docile he would be, as they did not know if he had been living with another family or on the streets.

While it is not yet clear how he had survived, the family was extremely grateful for the woman who had brought their dog in and another woman who sponsored the cleaning of his nails and fur.

"He was old, underfed and very thin," said Slabbert. "His hair was thin and he had an old hip." 

Koda was hesitant at first when the door opened and he saw his old family, perhaps because of his age and sight.

"The moment he smelled me, he started licking me. I just started crying and it was so cute."

Read: Sad ending for dog stoned in Oudtshoorn

Since arriving back home a week ago, Koda is finding his feet and settling in well.

Slabbert said they were over the moon.

"If we watch a movie, he comes and snuggles with us. He is so full of love."

The family hopes they will have the same happy ending for his sister, Sasha.

Slabbert said the lesson was that people should never fail to assist a dog on the side of the road, simply because it looked like a stray.

"It might have a family."

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