tbabrusty2If the two-year-old Rusty could write he would probably compose a Shakespearean love sonnet for his doggie sweetheart Rossie.
“Oh sweet Rossie, how I longed for thee?
I compare our time apart to a long winter’s night,
and when we reunited my heart jumped with glee.”
Rusty would tell her in rhyme what dangers he faced to be with her again and how much he pined for her. He might also know that if it wasn’t for a homeless person named Sherman Theunissen (29), then he would never have seen the love of his life again…
The big boerboel with the soft heart was separated from Rossie a couple of weeks ago when he was adopted by a Ruyterwacht resident.
Try as he might, he could not accept that Rossie wasn’t a part of his life any more. That was the first time he escaped into the unforgiving world beyond the gates.
He might have wandered around the streets of Ruyterwacht for a day, perhaps two, but he was quickly claimed by someone.
This person tied him up in his/her yard, but the rope that kept Rusty from Rossie could not appease his yearning heart.
The pining dog escaped again, determined to find his way back to the Lucky Lucy Foundation in Durbanville where Rossie was waiting for him.
It was then, while Rusty meandered through the streets of Ruyterwacht, that the right person found him.
A man who could not even afford food for himself took Rusty in, gave him a few biscuits and water, and then let the dog sleep with him in his tiny shack.
Sherman recognised Rusty as the same dog on the missing posters, so the next day an acquaintance of his lent him money so that he could contact the Lucky Lucy Foundation and tell them that he found the brown dog with the creamy white chest.
Rusty and Rossie apparently yelped with unparalleled joy when they saw each other again.
The foundation’s Richelle Graham and André Verbiest met TygerBurger at Sherman’s shack this Monday to tell the story that has touched hundreds of people on Facebook.
“The pedigree boerboels – Rusty and Rossie – are a married couple,” smiles Richelle.
“They came from Stellenbosch Animal Welfare and were on death row, due to be euthanised. When we went there we offered to give them homes, so we took them in. A lovely lady named Beverley, who also lives in the Ruyterwacht area, said that she wanted to adopt Rusty for protection. Everything went well, but then Rusty escaped.”
Thousands of pamphlets were distributed and then Sherman saw one and stuck it on his trolley, which he uses to collect cans for recycling purposes.
On the Sunday he was doing just this when he saw Rusty jog down Halt Road in the direction of Elsies River.
“Some people called Rusty to come to them, then the dog would stop, look at them and run away. He was dragging a long rope behind him, so when he ran past I grabbed it. He didn’t put up a fight, so I brought him back to my place,” remembers Sherman.
His little shack is located in the cramped “back yard” of a friend. It is just big enough for a uncomfortable makeshift “bed”, which is basically just a few blankets placed on hard stone.
That night, after he shared his biscuits with Rusty, the dog slept with him in his shelter.
He contacted the foundation first thing in the morning, and for his efforts he will now have a ticket out of his poverty.
André says that they will supply Sherman with a little bath and “dip”, which he can put on his trolley and give dogs in the vicinity anti-flea treatment for a minimal amount.
The dip will be topped up by the foundation for free and any income Sherman generates will go straight to his pocket.
The Lucky Lucy Foundation also gave him hundreds of rands of vouchers to show their appreciation.
Since Rusty’s story was put on Facebook, more than 450 people have “liked” it and about 200 have commented on it.
One of these comments reads: “A wonderful story and so glad it had a happy ending. Sherman is obviously one of ‘Nature’s Gentlemen” and, I hope, you were able to make his life a little more comfortable.”