How to Save a Life - What it Takes to Save a Dog Like Brutus!
Photo Cred: Dog Town

This little pup’s story would have been very different if this incredible animal rescue centre did not step in to save him! This is what it took to save Brutus!


Western Cape, South Africa (09 April 2021) – 2021 had hardly started when Dogtown was called out to rescue an emaciated dog on the N4 Pelindaba Highway near the toll gate. Dogtown had received a call from a concerned person driving along the highway, and the centre immediately dispatched a rescue team.

It took 20 minutes before the team located the emaciated dog and gently coaxed him to the vehicle. The rescue team have named him Brutus.

Tracey McQuarrie, the founder of Dogtown, says that rescues are one of the hardest yet most rewarding parts of the job.

“Most of these dogs are very forgiving of humans even though they have been let down by so many. Living on the street generally makes them social, so they are normally easy to assimilate into the centre”.

However, a rescue is a costly endeavour for any shelter, with the animal’s quarantine alone costing in the region of R1500.00 for the 14 day period. In addition, rescuing a dog takes a number of resources away from the centre; caregivers who are caring for current residents can be involved in a rescue for a number of hours. This means that with the cost of the vehicles and the team away from the centre, a rescue can be quite costly before any other expenses are incurred.

“Once the team rescued Brutus, the first step was to take him to the vet before getting to Dogtown. His vet check-up discovered that apart from being covered in ticks, he had Biliary (Tick-bite fever), so he will need to recover from that before he can receive his vaccinations or be neutered,” says McQuarrie.

Dogtown has a strict protocol when rescuing a dog. That begins with the aforementioned vet check-up to determine if the dog has Parvo, Distemper or Biliary. These check-ups at the vet are also costly, with the general consultation, vaccination, deworming, and top spot amounting to approximately R1000.00. Additionally are the costs of the tests for Parvo and Distemper at around R600.00. Only once a dog is over any illness will they be vaccinated, and once they are strong and healthy will they be neutered.

“We have a special quarantine area for new intakes at Dogtown, positioned centrally so that the caregivers and behaviourists have easy access to ensure the care of the dog, in this case, Brutus,” explains McQuarrie.

Certified caregiver, Savanah, was allocated to Brutus to make sure that all medical protocols were followed and that he is able to receive the care and enrichment required for him to recover from his ordeal. A dog stays in the quarantine area for 14 days from the date of their first vaccination, so Brutus will be in quarantine for quite some time as he still has to receive his vaccinations.

During his time in quarantine, Brutus will be assessed by one of the behaviourists at Dogtown to see his nature and to decide which area of the centre will best suit him once out of quarantine. It is important to determine if he is an adorable adoptable dog or a dog that will need to be worked with and trained or if he will require being moved to the rehabilitation centre.

A behaviourist will do a series of assessments on a dog to determine where in the centre the animal will best slot into day to day life. The best outcome for Brutus will be to find a loving home within a month of his arrival.

“Once we have nursed Brutus back to health, the adoption team will work on his adoption as quickly as possible so that he doesn’t think that shelter life is all there is. A dog like Brutus has lived their lives struggling on the street and so adapt well to having consistency in their days such as balanced regular meals, a warm bed and a safe area to play,” says McQuarrie.

She continues: “They [dogs] love the enrichment and training that Dogtown provides as it is often the best thing that has happened to them. Dogtown want dogs like Brutus to know that there is so much more once they become part of a loving family and that the hardship they experienced is over”.

For Dogtown to rescue a dog takes a lot of time, effort and money. Although done out of love and care for the animals, the centre also needs the assistance of the public. Take some time and consider how you can help the Dogtown team with the rescue, rehabilitation and adoption of these precious lives, be it through donations or adopting a dog as a loving pet.

The public can donate via the website or by emailing Pat to to discuss options.

Sources: Dogtown 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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