When Tequila was about 6 weeks old we bought him from a bergie at Houtbay. My friends say we are probably the only people who go out to buy fish and chips and then come home with a puppy! To be quite honest with you, when the bergies offered him to us I said no at first because we had 4 kittens at home and I didn’t know how they would react to having a puppy around. However, when they walked away from me and I saw that face, I just knew I had to take him home with me. By the time I convinced my husband that we absolutely NEED that puppy the bergies had disappeared so we set out to look for them. Fortunately I found them about 15 minutes later and R30 later Tequila was ours! He was so small that my daughter Michelle could put him in the front of her jacket and carry him around like that.
The day we got Tequila was the start of many happy and funny days with him. He is a dog with the sweetest nature, full of mischief, very playful, loves cuddles and playing with mommy and daddy. He also adores home cooking! Tequila has absolutely changed our lives and he has taught us about what unconditional love really is.
He has a real fascination with any light reflections and he can run around the garden until he drops chasing after the reflection of a mirror on a wall or on the grass! I call him my “enlightened child” but jokes aside, he has the wise eyes of a very old soul. And anyone who tells you that a dog does not have a sense of humour has never met Tequila!
On November 5 while we were away from home there were fireworks in the area, really loud apparently, and my Tequila got spooked and managed to get out of our yard and disappeared down the road. That started a nightmare of 5 days that I would rather forget. It was the most traumatic time we had been through in a long time and just the thoughts of where he was and whether he was still OK and was he hungry were driving me insane. On top of that the what if’s and regrets of not being home or of doing things differently – it was pure torture!
We looked everywhere we could, drove through the neigbourhood calling his name. The problem with built-up areas though is that they are rather large and you just don’t have a clue where to concentrate your efforts to. Needless to say we did not find him and we spent a very miserable Sunday at home waiting for the print shop to open so we could get posters printed.
We spent the Monday putting up posters at all the places that we could think of that would accept missing dog posters. Most places were actually very helpful about it. We tied fliers to every important stop street at every entrance we thought he might have been seen but we still had no clue as to what direction he had taken.
In the meantime I had also sent out some emails and posted on Facebook about him being missing and so I came into contact with a whole lot of individuals that gave me so many tips and other information on how to go about trying to find him.
On Monday afternoon a kind individual phoned us to tell us that he saw Tequila on Saturday evening on a main road above our house – that at least gave us an indication of what direction he went into. But no matter how we searched it was to no avail.
In the meantime I had sent emails with a photo of him to every shelter I could think of, to vets in the area, the animal hospitals, I phoned as many places as I could find numbers for and asked them to be on the lookout for him. I placed an ad on Gumtree, placed alerts on all the online sites I could find. And then finally all I could still do was look for him around the neighbourhood.
When Tequila took off, he was wearing a collar with a tag that had his name as well as our cell number on it so I was hopeful that someone would see the tag and give us a call. Alas, it seems he lost the collar somewhere on his journey because when he was eventually found he was not wearing it.
When the call finally did come on the Wednesday after he disappeared, I nearly fainted! It was a man called Mark from the AACL in Epping and he told me that he was almost sure that a dog that he took in on Monday was my Tequila! He said that he received a call from a man called Kent who owns a wine-farm just up the road from us that he had a stray dog on his farm. Kent said he was about to let his horses out when he saw Tequila lying in the dirt road on his farm. He tried to approach him but Tequila, exhausted and hungry and still very scared, growled at him so he decided against it and called Mark who came to pick him up in due time.
About 5 minutes after Mark called me another lady from the AACL Epping branch phoned me and said that it was definitely Tequila that they had there and she recognised him from the photo that I sent them, down to the floppy ear! That phone call was one of the best phone calls I had ever had! We went and picked him up about an hour after we got the call and I was seriously shocked to see him – he almost did not look like my dog! He was scared and tired and his poor paws were raw from where ever he had been running – the pads had been worn off in places and were bleeding. He was also full of burrs and grass obviously from the fields he ran through before he got to the wine farm. I can only think that the only reason he could not go any further and lay down in that path was because he was dehydrated, hungry and in an enormous amount of pain!
We took him to the vet after we brought him home but the vet said that bandaging his feet would do no good – we had to get him to just take it quiet, and give it time to dry out and heal.
You cannot even begin to imagine the joy of having our baby home at last after living in so much panic and fear for his safety for the last 5 days. The first thing he did after I gave him some food and water was to jump up on his favourite place – our bed – and pass out fast asleep! For the next few days he was really hurting to walk and really lethargic but thanks to TLC and proper foodies he has light back in eyes. I see him looking at me sometimes as if he is wondering why I let him go out in the big cruel world out there all by himself – and I have to say sometimes I feel like I did. Hopefully we can put this absolute disaster behind us and move forward.
There are two things I learnt out of all this however,
- one is I will never leave them alone at home again on any night that there is any possibility of fire works, and if I absolutely have to, they will be locked inside the house.
- Number two, never take things for granted – I never thought of looking for him any further than our immediate suburbs – it seemed highly implausible that he would be at a place like the AACL shelter in Grassy Park – but we found him in Epping! Epping is about 45 minutes drive away from us!
Today Tequila is happily reunited with his mommy and daddy, 2 brothers and a sister but we were very fortunate that our story had a happy ending! I truly wish that for anyone else who has lost a pet.