Together Forever – Luther and Roxy

By Marie Wells

Photos by Dino Lloyd

To see these two beautiful dogs, who had depended on each other for so long, only to be separated and then brought back together, is an emotion I will never be able to explain.

In June 2013, Luther and Roxy’s owners abandoned them on the property they rented in Bloemfontein. A neighbour realised that they were alone and started to look after them with food and water. The neighbour did this for a period of two months, assuming perhaps that the owners would return to take their babies with them to their new home. Sadly this was simply a pipe dream.

The neighbour contacted Lientjie de Klerk, who undertakes animal rescue work in the area. Lientjie says that when she went to fetch them, they were clearly very depressed and unhappy, as if they knew that they were not wanted. In addition, their general health was poor and their hair was falling out. They were both extremely insecure and attached to one another. Lientjie wanted to find good homes for the siblings and began networking in the hope of finding them a new home. Despite Lientjie being advised to have the two dogs euthanised, she refused. 

In the interim, they were taken in as boarders at a local kennel, where they lived for approximately three months. During this time, a kindly woman by the name of Lorraine Heyns suggested that Lientjie contact Labrador Rescue South Africa to see if they could assist.

To the rescue!

Labrador Rescue immediately jumped on board and arranged for Luther and Roxy to get a lift from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg. The siblings were taken in by Labrador Rescue’s Badhams Kennels in Fourways.

As a family, we were not looking to adopt any fur kids. We had lost our Bruce, a Golden Labrador, early in January 2013, following a long illness, and we had recently lost our Sam (aka Psycho Sam), a Doberman x GSD x Terrier x Psycho. We had vet bills up to our eyeballs, yet the house was empty. My husband, Warren, and youngest son, Bradley, were very affected by the loss of our two much-loved dogs.

My sister, Fee Riley, could see how much our family had been affected by the loss of Bruce and Sam. Chatting to Warren, she asked him what would kind of dog he would like – IF he ever adopted again – and he said: “Black Labrador and a German Shepherd, both male.” Fee started sending us emails – every black male Labrador and every male GSD. None of them “spoke to us”.

Coming home

On the 14th of March 2014, Fee forwarded us a Labrador Rescue email network, which Warren printed out, and that evening, as a family, we sat together going through it. There were a few that we ticked and the very next day we contacted Labrador Rescue. 

Luther was one of the orphans that caught our eye and we went to meet him on the 22nd of March at Badhams Kennels. We didn’t even get to meet Roxy while we were there. We went straight home to fill in the forms as we wanted to give Luther a home. A home check was conducted and we passed! The Labrador Rescue Team were as thrilled as we were, but they did ask if we wouldn’t perhaps also like to adopt Roxy, taking their history into account and how attached they were to each other.

Although not part of our plan, when we collected Luther we met Roxy, who was meeting a prospective family. Instantly, Warren and I could see that these two special dogs were meant to stay together.

On our drive home, as a family (Luther included), we agreed that we just had to adopt Roxy too. We immediately got in touch with Labrador Rescue and offered Roxy a home as well.

Together forever

Roxy came home on the 5th of April, and if you could have just seen the siblings being reunited it would have made you understand what pure love is and why people in animal rescue are so passionate. It was something I had never seen before and something I will never forget. To see these two beautiful dogs, who had depended on each other for so long, only to be separated and then brought back together, was an emotion I will never be able to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it.

Luther and Roxy have slotted into their new home like they have always lived with us, and they are never left alone. They have their Nana – who spoils them rotten – with them during the week days and the rest of us (their family), in the mornings and after work. At food time they sit, give their paws (Roxy throws in a kiss) and then they eat. Warren and I always used to take Bruce and Sam for a walk/run in the summer evenings and weekends. We now take Luther and Roxy (Roxy is better on a lead than Luther, but she’s a girl and we all know that girls are better behaved!). They love their new home, new garden and new family. They sleep like angels and eat well. But most of all, they love that they are together in their new home.

Whilst both Luther and Roxy have emotional scars from their past, we will, as their family, be there for them every step of the way.

We can all make a difference

To anyone reading this, please know that if you are looking to get a dog, please adopt from a shelter; there are so many adoptable dogs just waiting for you in rescue shelters countrywide. Please support your local Animal Rescue Centre and/or “breed-specific” Rescue Organisation.

We, the Wells family, would like to thank the following people who assisted us in this journey:

Fee Riley (Pure Love NPC/NPO), for sending us the Labrador Rescue network – proving that networking saves lives;

The neighbour who took care of Luther and Roxy for two months;

Lientjie de Klerk, for not ever giving up;

Lorraine Heyns, for thinking of Labrador Rescue;

Badhams, for the care and love they gave to Luther and Roxy during their stay there;

Paulshof Veterinary Clinic, for ensuring that Roxy and Luther were healthy;

Labrador Rescue – you guys are amazing, and your commitment and dedication are outstanding;

And last, but not least, to Luther and Roxy Wells, for their forgiving hearts and for accepting us as their family.

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