A sense of true community spirit was showcased when concerned residents, neighbourhood watch members and emergency personnel teamed up to rescue a pregnant dog that had gone into labour while stuck under a tree stump and bring her vulnerable pups to safety – an effort that was a resounding success.
The initially traumatic incident with a heart warming end occurred in Somerset West last Tuesday afternoon (17 January), when a member of patrolling group Community in Blue (CIB) in Lourensia Park saw the dire situation and called for help.
According to George Kruger, Victoria Park Neighbourhood Watch member and Community Policing Forum coordinator, a distress call was received around 16:30 on Tuesday. He said four CIB members of Victoria Park and Megan Bridger of the animal rescue organisation K9 & Bridgers and her “right hand” Anje Hanekom responded to the emergency call.
On arrival, the dispatched teams found the cross-breed dog stuck under the stump of a tree while giving birth along a canal separating the neighbouring residential areas of Paardevlei and Lourensia Park, just off De Beers Avenue.
“As the stump was too heavy to lift, the predicament was immediately communicated via radio network to the Helderberg Crime Watch (HCW) control room, requesting the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services be dispatched to the scene for assistance,” Kruger recalled.
While sitting out the waiting game on-scene, responders discovered two puppies that were stillborn and one that was still alive. “Following the discovery we just kept pulling out puppies one after the other,” said Bridger, who expressed utter disbelief that there were more little ones after the initial discovery, and the pups didn’t give a single peep as rescue efforts were underway around them.
According to the animal lover and passionate animal welfare promoter, it is suspected the good-natured mommy dog, called Sweety, sought refuge to have her pups, wedged herself and couldn’t get out.
Apparently, the dog – possibly a fox terrier cross-breed between three and five years old as she has had three litters – was seen leaving her owner’s property (which is not enclosed and mere metres from the scene) earlier that day.
After not making her way home after some time, a family member sent one of the children to look for Sweety, who was found to be stuck under the stump.
With the arrival of firefighters dispatched to assist with the unusual rescue mission, a plan of action was devised and altogether five puppies were freed and brought to safety following their dramatic debut. Then, the visibly tired Sweety was rescued and reunited with her newborn pups.
Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson for the City’s Fire and Rescue Services, confirmed that a crew from Somerset West Fire Station responded to the incident at 19:22 and successfully aided the rescue mission, which was wrapped up just before 20:00.
Kruger extended a “massive thank you” to all the role-players, especially HCW, Fire and Rescue Services personnel, K9 & Bridgers and CIB representatives of Victoria and Lourensia Park. “This incredible team work serves as proof of the successes achievable when standing together and joining hands,” said Kruger. “Here’s to a rescue job well done!”
Following the commendable rescue, Sweety was returned to her owner, who is receiving continued assistance and support from Bridger to ensure the well-being of the beloved pet. During a visit to Sweety yesterday morning (Tuesday), the content mommy dog and her pups were doing exceptionally well. She was comfortably nestled in a warm corner with the pups enjoying feeding time. A relative of Sweety’s owner shared plans to have the pups adopted in their loving forever home when they are ready.