The community of Clarens found themselves climbing through the local mountains for hours in search of a dog that they could hear howling; finally, she was found and brought to safety.


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Clarens, South Africa (08 March 2023) – The Clarens community WhatsApp groups were ablaze with concerned citizens who were reporting the sound of a howling dog in the mountains. The community launched a rescue mission and after several hours, she was found waiting on a cliff face.

“As we are sure you can imagine, we are on all of our local WhatsApp groups. After a very busy and successful outreach weekend, we hit the ground running yesterday morning and then all hell broke loose! WhatsApp messages started streaming in around 7:30 yesterday morning…what sounded like a dog in distress up against the cliff face on the Mallen Route in Clarens.

If there is one thing you need to know about the community of Clarens, it is their love of animals, a load of people went up and down the mountain all morning looking for the dog. She could be heard barking and then she would go quiet for long periods of time, so tracking her was very hard and the undergrowth is very dense on that part of the mountain.”

Clarens resident Joe, a dedicated animal lover and dog owner, spent several hours with his dogs, tracking the distressed animal. He eventually found her and it was clear she wasn’t in any immediate danger, but she did not trust humans either.

“He was up there for a couple of hours, tracking her and he eventually located her. A small little thing, completely terrified, she was on a very steep and dangerous slope. Joe sat down next to her, and he spent a lot of time just getting her used to his presence, thankfully she wasn’t in a snare, but he knew he had to be patient to bring her down to safety.”

Joe spent a good amount of time sitting near her, speaking softly and coaxing her off the cliff face she had perched herself on. When she was brave enough to venture closer to him, he was able to slip a lead around her neck. This startled the poor dog and she returned his deed with a frightened nip of his hand. Undisturbed by the nip, Joe led her back down the mountain and to the safety of the Cluny Animal Trust team that had been in Clarens for a clinic outreach.

The Cluny Animal Trust team attempted to secure a rabies vaccine for Joe through the state vet however, there was no stock available. According to the team, the community contributed towards the vaccine which Joe was then able to access through private medical care.

Heidi has been isolated and is under the watchful eye of the Cluny team, just in case she shows any signs of Rabies. They are being overly cautious, for hers and Joe’s sake.

“We have named her Heidi (because she was in the mountains) and she is with us at our clinic in Fouriesburg. She did have a wound but thankfully it isn’t anything too serious and that was checked and cleaned, and it will heal nicely. She has been put in isolation and is being monitored to check for Rabies, not just for her sake but for Joe’s as well but she is eating and drinking (all positive signs) and she is wagging her tail but of course she is still very nervous.

How she got up there in the first place remains a complete mystery, but she is unsterilised and there is evidence she has had puppies in the past and so we will try to see if we can locate her ‘owners’ and hopefully establish her vaccination history which is important info for both her and Joe right now.” – The Cluny Animal Trust

The team have worked tirelessly in the Free State to keep the local animals fully vaccinated. As soon as there is any kind of signs of a potential outbreak, they get back out to the remote communities and do follow-up vaccinations on any animals not yet covered.

They have committed to keeping everyone updated on Heidi’s progress so stay tuned to the social media pages for more. If you would like to contribute towards Heidi’s care, you can reach out to the team on Facebook as well.

Sources: Cluny Animal Trust
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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