Neither rain nor river could stop daring Durban dog rescue

09 April 2019 - 13:18 By NIVASHNI NAIR
Members of the Kloof and Highway SPCA rescued a dog lying on hanging tree roofs on a ledge over a gorge in Durban
Members of the Kloof and Highway SPCA rescued a dog lying on hanging tree roofs on a ledge over a gorge in Durban
Image: supplied/Kloof and Highway SPCA

Uneven terrain, rain and a river did not stop the Kloof and Highway SPCA from rescuing a dog trapped on a narrow ledge in Durban.

On April 1, field officer Eric Simamane responded to a call on the after-hours emergency phone about a dog that could be heard crying in distress in the woodland area bordering Reservoir Hills.

He immediately drove to the area and searched in the rain for two hours but had to abandon his search as visibility was poor.

The next day Simamane and his two colleagues, inspectorate assistant Sbonelo Gasa and field officer Doctor Mthombeni, returned to the area to search for the crying dog.

"Our three staff members could hear the dog crying in the far distance but could not ascertain exactly where the sound was coming from. They tried to follow the crying, which was not continuous, through the dense bush and uneven terrain," inspectorate manager Sue Noakes said.

Three hours later the dog's cries became weaker.

They then had to wade through a section of the Umgeni River and climb a steep incline to get to the dog, a tan boerboel cross.

"They found the terrified, exhausted dog trapped on a narrow ledge next to a cave, lying on hanging tree roots which were close to the edge. It was in danger of losing his grip and falling hundreds of meters down into the gorge below," Noakes said.

Simamane tied a length of rope to a tree and around his arm to prevent himself from falling off the ledge while attempting to reach the dog.

His colleagues held on to him while he carefully and slowly moved closer to the dog, making sure not to frighten it to prevent it from falling into the gorge.  

"After another exhausting, stressful and distressing 50 minutes, Simamane managed to position a control pole over the dog's shoulders and was able to pull the dog slowly towards him to safety," Noakes said.

The dog was absolutely exhausted and unable to walk any further.

"Our three tired and stressed gentlemen then took turns to carry the dog back over the uneven terrain and across the river to where their vehicles were parked.

"About 5pm our exhausted but relieved staff members finally reached their vehicles and were able to transport this dog back to our Kloof and Highway SPCA clinic," Noakes said.

The dog was given water and a meal and put in one of the organisation's kennels with a heating lamp and blankets.

"Early the next morning he was given a thorough health check by one of our veterinarians and we were happy to discover that he was injury-free after his terrible ordeal," Noakes said.

The dog will be kept in the stray department for seven days to allow its owner to claim him before he moves to the adoption department.