From township to TEARS board: the story of Tazz
His youth was undoubtedly misspent: hanging around the taxi-rank in Phoenix Village, near Montague Gardens, keeping a beady eye open for opportunities that would benefit him, like finding good food or chatting up the local canine lasses.
The residents operated a market from the taxi rank, selling live chickens, offal and other interesting things, which would naturally appeal to a township dog. Being streetwise, this dog was sharp and cunning and had a definite dislike for strangers. As soon as he saw one approaching, he would duck in-between the shacks near the taxi rank, and disappear.
This is what made catching him so difficult. On one occasion, TEARS founder, Marilyn Hoole, managed to get close to him, but as soon as he saw the lead in her hand, he lifted his lips, bared his dirty teeth at her, and the lean, streetwise machine took off.
Marilyn was after him in response to the Welgemoed family plea for help. A family of devoted animal lovers and wonderful TEARS’ supporters, with Dr Janel Welgemoed from Longbeach Dental having served as a TEARS Director for years. Janel told Marilyn about a large, thin, injured dog, living in Phoenix Village, not far from Montague Gardens, where her father, Jan, and brother, Moolman, had their business premises, Stratos Daily Deliveries.
This dog seemed to be a street dog and so, taking pity on him, Jan and Moolman would feed him and the dog would make a daily visit to their premises to get something to eat, but always kept his distance, obviously mistrusting them. The Welgemoeds were concerned about the burns on his back, which were, in all probability, caused by boiling water, which was thrown at him when he visited one of his canine lady friends. In addition, he was thin and had mange, and the Welgemoeds felt that he needed to be caught and treated.
Janel asked TEARS for help and when Marilyn was unsuccessful at catching him, a decision was made to lure him into Stratos Daily Deliveries’ premises and offer him a delicious steak and kidney pie, which would contain a tranquiliser. And it worked! How could any self-respecting street dog resist a yummy pie? The gates were closed to ensure that he couldn’t escape and sleep off his induced stupor in a place where he would be vulnerable. Once the tranquiliser took effect, the dog was put into a travel box and an hour later arrived at the TEARS premises. His life was about to change forever.
Firstly and most importantly, this township dog had to have a name and Janel decided that Tazz would be a good name. It just seemed to suit him, perfectly.
Tazz spent a few days in our clinic, being monitored and his burn wounds, raw ears (fly bites) and mange treated. A few days later, when he was stronger, he was sterilised.
Being the kind and compassionate person that she is, Janel decided to foster Tazz and cared for him at her practice, Longbeach Dental, in Sunnydale. He had only been there a day or so, when Marilyn received a frantic call from Janel to advise that Tazz had escaped – he had jumped over the fence and disappeared. She rushed to the practice and began to look around the area, driving up and down the roads, searching for him and wondering how on earth she was going to catch him.
A while later, a call came through from Janel to advise that Tazz had been spotted in Masiphumelele, kilometres away, trotting down Pokela Street, as if were on a mission – fortunately he’d been seen by one of Janel’s employees, who lives there.
Marilyn rushed to Masiphumelele and drove down Pokela Street, expecting to spend the next few hours trying to catch this artful dodger dog. Imagine her surprise when she came upon Janel’s employee, Tumela, with Tazz, standing patiently at the side of the road, as if he were for a taxi to pick him up. After expressing her gratitude, Marilyn bundled Tazz into the TEARS Caravelle, before he could think about continuing his journey on paw, and he sat quietly on the passenger seat, contemplating his future, as they drove back to TEARS.
This amazing dog – long in the tooth and ugly to the eye, some would say – is the epitome of toughness, resilience, ingenuity, forgiveness, while the rest of him is pure heart. Since TEARS Animal Rescue has been, and continues to be, all these things in order to thrive and survive in a landscape filled with cruelty to animals and neglect, the TEARS executive believed it was only right to appoint Tazz, Honorary Member of the Board.
Tazz has lived at TEARS’ headquarter in Sunnydale for many years now – this is where he chose to make his forever home; among its staff and dedicated volunteers who can always be counted on to hand out a treat or oblige with a back-scratch or a gentle stroll. All Tazz has to do is grin and toss his head in that way that is so uniquely him. And what does TEARS get out of it? He’s always first in and last out, he carries out several inspections each day and keeps his eye on things in general. TEARS just wouldn’t be the same without him.