A 14-year-old Jack Russell has been reunited with its owner after he went missing down a storm water drain for 14 days in Parkhurst, Gauteng.
The dog, named Tug, fell into a storm water drain on the corner of 5th Avenue and 20th Street in Parkhurst recently. This after his owner Margaret Hammond-Tooke, 70, was with him at Verity Park next to the Braamfontein Spruit river trail when he chased after something, Rosebank Killarney Gazette reported.
“All I saw was his tail disappearing down the gap in the curb. I stayed until it grew dark, calling and frantically searching for him, hoping that he would find his own way out and trot home,” Hammond-Tooke recalled.
The following day [after Tug’s disappearance], she walked up and down the river calling for him, but there was no sight nor sound of the dog.
Hammond-Tooke then contacted her daughter, Kate Boyes, who lives in Cape Town. After calling various emergency numbers, including the SPCA and searching the Internet for anyone who knew the Braamfontein Spruit and the storm water system, they contacted Ward 117 councillor, Tim Truluck. He assured them that the drain did not enter the sewer and was able to give them a rough idea of where it ran to.
Hammond-Tooke and her handyman searched the river and the streets for days, rattling her walking stick in each opening as she called out to him. Her handyman even lifted up parts of the pavement. They then put Tug’s teddy bear into the gap where he fell in, in the hope that he would smell it and find his way back.
A week later, they contact the Randburg roads department.
“Someone from the department was fantastic. He and his secretary got in his car and personally drove around Parkhurst looking for him. By this stage, we were losing hope that Tug would be found alive,” said Boyes.
“His team cleared some of the drains, lifting the heavy concrete covers and calling down for Tug. He said they would flush the system if he didn’t turn up and at least we would get closure if his body appeared,” added Boyes.
Fourteen days after Tug went missing, Hammond-Tooke got a call from a man who lives along the river. He had found Tug stuck in the drain.
She jumped in her car and was there within five minutes.
“Tug was hardly recognisable, covered in stinky brown slime and so thin that all of his ribs were showing. His paws were raw and bloody. The man was still holding Tug when I arrived and when he put him down he just fell over,” said Hammond-Tooke.
She added when Tug got home he was wobbling all over the place, but very happy to be back.
“He perked up when he saw his comfy bed and has been sleeping so soundly. He visited the vet at Craighall Animal Hospital and they were amazed that he had survived for 14 days. He has been given some antibiotics for his paws,” said Hammond-Tooke.
He went for his first short walk recently and according to Hammond-Tooke, when they walked to the corner by the park and Tug saw the drain, he stopped dead and refused to go further.
“He is tough and is going to be okay,” she said.
– Caxton News Service