Rescue Care Advanced Life Support paramedic Emma Westcott and Life Response paramedic Leon Fourie with Metro Search and Rescue officer, Lee Bryant, with the little bundle of fur, above and left, at the scene of the rescue in Newlands East in November.
Rescued from a drain in Newlands West in November and his survival in doubt, puppy Yoda has not only recovered and found a forever home, but is also helping to heal the heartache of a Durban North family.

The puppy’s new owner, Kate Hunt, said this week that although the puppy’s adoption from Durban & Coast SPCA happened quite by chance, it was “meant to be”.

In November, emergency services were called to a scene after receiving reports a baby was stuck in a drain in Castle Hill, Newlands West. On arrival, paramedics soon realised it was a puppy in the drain. Medics went into the drain to rescue the pup, which was rushed to vets at Durban & Coast SPCA.


This week, Hunt, from Durban North, said the family had lost their Labrador, Jake, in tragic circumstances.

“Our daughter, Emma is epileptic and has autism and Jake was her dog,” said Hunt.

“She was so devastated by his loss that two days after his death we decided to visit the SPCA to just spend some time with the dogs there and have coffee.

“Emma told us she was never going to get another dog.”

Emma, 19, assists dog trainer, Andy Ording, at her puppy school. Ording also volunteers at Durban SPCA and they met her there when they arrived.

Ording said: “Sometimes you just know the right puppy for the right people.

“When we brought the rescued pup out, Emma just fell in love with him. It was so special.”

Hunt said: “We sat on the grass and played with him.

“Emma called him Yoda because of his big ears. I phoned my husband, who said ‘get him’.”

Yoda was taken home on De­cember 28 and has bonded well with the family’s other adopted dog, Duke.

Their third dog, Spartacus, however, has remained a little aloof to the new addition to the household.

Yoda has grown so quickly, he has been through three collars.

Hunt added that Jake had also played a role in Emma’s life in terms of seizure alerts.

“Jake knew when Emma had problems and we are also hoping to train Yoda to sense when an (epileptic) attack is coming on for Emma.

“We didn’t know Yoda’s background and I only saw the story of his rescue for the first time this week.

“When I read the article, I knew that this is just where he’s meant to be, he’s very special.”

Life Response medic Leon Fourie, who pulled the puppy out of the drain, welcomed the news of Yoda’s adoption.

“It makes it all feel worth it and keeps us all motivated. The vets at SPCA really worked hard at saving the puppy’s life. When I was down in the drain, it really did not look good and to know the puppy now has a forever home is so, so amazing,” said Fourie yesterday.

Rescue Care Advanced Life Support paramedic Emma Westcott and Life Response paramedic Leon Fourie with Metro Search and Rescue officer, Lee Bryant, with the little bundle of fur, above and left, at the scene of the rescue in Newlands East in November.
Rescue Care Advanced Life Support paramedic Emma Westcott and Life Response paramedic Leon Fourie with Metro Search and Rescue officer, Lee Bryant, with the little bundle of fur, above and left, at the scene of the rescue in Newlands East in November.

On Thursday, Durban & Coast SPCA spokesperson, Tanya Fleischer, said when the puppy was rescued and brought to the SPCA, he was suffering from malnutrition, a worm infestation and a skin disease.

“We were very concerned that he would not survive but with a few weeks of treatment and care, he started to respond well. From a sad puppy, he really came out of his shell and blossomed to a happy playful pup.”

Fleischer added that since November, the SPCA “has been inundated with animals” with 857 stray dogs and 1521 stray cats being admitted, as well as 589 unwanted dogs and 229 unwanted cats.

“There are so many beautiful pets here, in the heat, missing their families and we urge the public to visit us if they have lost their pet,” she said, adding they have a lot of animals up for adoption.

For lost pets, email [email protected] and to view dogs for adoption, go to www.spcadbn.org.za or visit the centre.