Cape Town - what could be the country’s first, a rescued sheep, at an animal shelter in Melkbosstrand, got fitted a prosthetic leg on Friday.
Dolly the sheep was rescued from a farm in Sutherland, after the farmers realised she had gotten her foot stuck in a snare while out on the field. The leg had to be amputated after the vets could not save it. She was nursed back to health.
“I went up there for a weekend and they asked me if I would like to take her and keep her on our rescue farm,” said Gayl Basson, co-founder of Fallen Angels Pet Rescue.
The organisation focuses on not only the rescuing and fostering of animals, but also using them to help rehabilitate and offer therapy to children. They have created a haven, rehabilitating and fostering animals there. Their funding is entirely donation and sponsorship-based.
After returning with Dolly, Basson put up a post on their Facebook page asking their more than 54 000 followers if anybody can assist them in getting the sheep to walk properly again.
“A company called Eugene Rossow Prosthetics contacted me and offered to help. The company does prosthetics for humans and this was the first time they were doing it for an animal,” said Basson.
It was also Basson's first experience of getting involved in such a project for the animals she rescued.
“We rescue mainly dogs,” she explained.
“Over the years, we have had quite a few amputations and we never thought of getting prosthetic legs, as the dogs seem to do so well. But with the sheep, she is such a heavy girl. We saw she was struggling and decided to try this,” said Basson.
She said that the process took about eight weeks, the company first did a cast, they came with a trial leg, and then she ended up getting her final leg.
“She was struggling without a leg, her head and shoulders and her spine were skew and she would hop all the time,” said Basson.
Since the news of Dolly with a prosthetic leg, the public has been asking Basson why did she bother herself, and not just slaughter Dolly to make a braai with her family and friends.
“People have different pets. To me, she is my pet and I would do the same for her as I would for my other pets. She comes into our house, spends time with us on the farm and enjoys scratches. So why not? It seems to be doing very well,” said Basson.
The leg, for now, will be on during the day and off at night, so they can keep an eye on her stump.
The Weekend Argus promised to keep an eye on Basson’s house. If there is a mutton stew smell or smoke from a braai coming from there, we will ask about Dolly.
“Only chicken for the braai in my house,” she said laughing.
To make donations to the shelter, the public can use the following details:
FA Pet Rescue FNB
Account number: 626 339 77113
Swift code: FIRNZAJJXXX