Friends share memories of Val Boje’s love of her dogs
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Pretoria - Val Boje dearly loved her animals, and her heart was broken when her Zack died last year of cancer.
She spent many Saturdays at dog school, training Zack.
And she was very proud of all his achievements.
Shortly after Zack, she welcomed Cody, another love of her life.
Cody too, went to dog school.
Sadly there will be no more weekend walks around the parks of Pretoria for Cody, with his beloved Val.
Doreen Gough, animal lover and a friend of more than 30 years, recalls Val’s love of her dogs: “When I met Val (as a 21 year old) she was into cats and Roy (Devenish) was the dog person when she married him.
“Her first Border collie was Flash and, being Val, she took him to training classes every Saturday.
“Again, being Val, she took to it wholeheartedly and was thrilled when Flash was promoted to a more advanced class.
“When he passed on, she acquired Zack, and he was the light of her life.
“Training, walks, games – he gave her such pleasure and when he passed on unexpectedly she was heartbroken.
“Enter Cody – who healed his mistress’ heart in no time.
“Sadly in recent weeks Val’s illness interfered with her enjoyment of walking him.
“She no longer had the energy but would nevertheless take him to the park, but instead of walking with him, rested while he explored his surroundings.
“One can only hope Zack was there to meet her at the rainbow bridge.”
This is how her friend and colleague, Tania Stapelberg, remembers Val and her animals: “When Val committed to something she gave it 100%, and so too was it with her pets.
“The Devenishs’ dogs were of the small variety to start.
“There was the “medium sized” dog Sandy they got from the SPCA, which didn’t make it to knee height, and Kip, who fell as a young dog and had very skinny legs.
“Christine (Val’s daughter) had a love-bird, Oliver, which was quite a character, he would perch on anyone’s shoulder and moved round the house freely and seemed to love Val’s shoulder in particular. Oliver was not the only feathered creature to make it into the Devenish home (or yard).
“A couple of years ago Roy and Christine arrived home with three ducks (it had to do with the Proteas and their batting). They all grew up into fine ducks and two still survive.
“Val’s Border collie, Flash, started out as her son John’s dog, but when he left home, Flash became Val’s dog.
“She took him to training and on walks, discovering all the dog walks in Pretoria.
“She was heartbroken when Flash went to the kennel in the sky and we looked at many sites advertising border collies.
“She eventually settled on a puppy she called Zack.
“While she loved him dearly, she despaired at times because of his lack of progress at dog training and she shed a tear when he failed his test (he did pass eventually).
“Training aside, Zack was a great companion and adored Val.
“Many tears were shed when he was sick and died last year.
“Val welcomed another Border collie, Cody, which seems fitting as the breed is as energetic as she always was.
“Visiting her home this week, it was heart-breaking to see Cody so lost without Val.
“He knows something is wrong, he has shredded her blanket and is sleeping on her pillow at night.
“Her Maltese, Oscar, who she last month describe as grumpier than ever, is also missing her, wanting to sleep in Roy’s arms.
“My grandfather said you could judge a person’s character by how they relate to animals. In that case Val, was clearly of superior character as she treated all animals with respect.”