OPINION: ‘Left behind: Dog survives alone for two months after owner dies’

The dog which had been left behind by its former owner.

DEAR Editor:

We all probably face the same situation as we grow old that with families being torn apart with children leaving the country or moving to another province and only coming home during the odd Christmas but some of us are alone.

Either no children, or children that have no interest in parents or just too far away to come home. No matter what the reason is for being alone it’s a fact in life for a lot of people.

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I’ve had the unpleasant experience of being involved in the hunt for a little dog that was left behind when the aged owner passed away and I would like to tell you about this sad old man and his dog.

He lived alone in the Umkomaas suburb of Widenham.

Through the years he had more dogs that have passed over the rainbow bridge but one little girl remained.

I often saw him shuffling over the R102 at Umkomaas, to buy something at the 24/7 shop at the Widenham garage and wondered if he was safe doing this as vehicles would have to slow down in order to let him pass.

This did not deter him in the least as he just waved his arms at the oncoming traffic and kept on going.

This was the extent of my knowledge of this gentleman until I heard that he had died in his home, days before he was found.

Alone and uncared for, he lay there until he was found and his body removed.

No family, no close friends, nothing except for a little dog that hid away and was left behind when they took him away.

This little creature could not be found and interest in finding her waned and eventually stopped, leaving her alone in the only home she ever knew.

Alone like her owner, afraid with nowhere to go.

A dark house, full of things that one finds in the home of a hermit and a hoarder, overgrown garden to such an extent that you cannot walk around the house.

This little dog survived there for two months until she was spotted by a friend.

We went in that afternoon but we were not prepared for what we found. The doors to the house were open, no lights to switch on and as we moved from room to room the shock and horror hit us full in the face.

We could not find her except that there were signs of her living in the house.

With a daily call every day to check – in this dog would have been found the next day. Let us know you have a pet and if anything happens your loved ones will know at latest the next day
The next day we went back armed with flash lights, wearing boots and the necessary equipment to catch her should she be inside the house. The search started again from room to room until ‘eureka’, we found her hiding behind the old fridge, tucked away and so fearful.

Needles to say she is now safe and being cared for. She will be groomed, vaccinated and eventually spayed.

But in the meantime it’s just all love and comfort as she is very fearful and hides her face in the corner of her box whenever you come close.

Gentle hands will hold her until she understands that no fear is necessary and that life can be good.

My sole purpose in writing about this is the plight of the dog yes, but also to voice my concern that old and elderly people live among us who are in dire straits and no one knows or cares about them.

He had neighbors and no one knew the state of the house or his living conditions.

As a society we need to be watchful, not just for our own families but also for those who don’t have families who care.

And yes we have difficult elderly in our midst making it nearly impossible to reach out, but just maybe the same gentle hands that reached out for this little dog can be your gentle hands that will reach out to an elderly person in your midst so that you can take away the fear and resentment that so many live with.

To the elderly, my prayer is that you will make provision for the animals you have should you die unexpectedly, there might not be someone that will take pity of them when you are gone, and you also still have to cross the rainbow bridge.

Hopefully, you won’t be turned away by the animals you did not care for. Loving and caring for your animals involves planning for the future unknown.

Read more here NICKY KOEKEMOER