Tears of joy as missing dog is found after 18 months

2019-04-24 11:57
PHOTO: Supplied

PHOTO: Supplied

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It was an emotional day for retired couple Paula (70) and Philip du Toit (66) when their four-legged “daughter”, Shakira, returned home on 10 April after 18 months away.

Shakira, an Alaskan malamute female (similar to a Siberian husky), lost 2kg while alone in the wild, but a veterinarian has determined she miraculously didn’t contract any diseases or ailments.

The Du Toits last saw their beloved pet on Saturday 30 September 2017 right before two troops of monkeys descended on the couple’s garden in Berea, Durban.

“I knew Shakira was going to be scared but when I went to look for her, she’d vanished,” Paula told YOU.

“Our male dog, Shaka, immediately led me towards the gate as if to say: ‘Look, Mom, this is where she jumped over’.”

A security guard later confirmed he’d seen a dog running down the road. Since then the couple visited the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), situated about 6km from their home, twice a week in the hope of finding Shakira. Instead, Philip found a white dog that looked similar to their cherished missing pet and they adopted her.

“It was a white Swiss shepherd and we named her Lila,” Paula explains and adds they adopted Lila as a mate for Shaka because he was missing Shakira terribly.

“He became very unresponsive and lethargic. He didn’t want to do anything and he’d just sit around for days.”

Even though many months had passed, Lady Luck eventually intervened when their son, Ashley (41), who lives in Umhlanga Rocks recently came for a visit and saw a white dog at Windsor Park Golf Course, not far from his parents’ home.

The Du Toits had received a number of phone calls from people claiming they’d spotted Shakira, but it was Ashley’s sighting that finally persuaded them to investigate.

“There was a big stormwater drainpipe close to the 12th hole where manager of the golf course Lloyd Naidoo said Shakira could possibly be hiding.”

Paula walked up to the pipe and sat there quietly talking to the dog.

“She was very shy and timid, but luckily I’d rubbed my arms all over Shaka before we left home because I wanted his scent on me,” Paula recalls.

The dog eventually moved closer to Paula and started sniffing her arms. “She was beside herself with joy and finally I could pet her and cuddle her again.

“Even though she’s still very hungry, she’s completely recovered and gets along well with Lila. She’s not afraid of the monkeys anymore because Lila chases them away. She even runs with Lila and has become more adventurous.”

But Shakira won’t forget her difficult time in the wild anytime soon.

“Whenever I take the dogs for a walk, Shakira always stays right by my side as if to say she’ll never disappear again.”

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