Finn is our youngest baby.
When he was just 12 days old, his mum died and he and his 9 siblings were handed into Animal Anti-cruelty League’s Belville branch by their owner who claimed their mother was a Labrador and their father was ‘that hunting dog’. He and his sister were not suckling well and the prognosis was not looking good when Vincent went to work that Saturday morning. Not having the heart to put them to sleep, he brought them home for us to hand raise. We got them drinking nicely, made a little nest in a picnic basket for them and gave them a blanket sprayed with Adaptil (a pheromone that mommy dog would naturally produce while the puppies are suckling and which is very important for normal, healthy development in pups).
We both work full time and so Finn and Simone came to work with us every day so that we could bottle feed them every 4 hours. They grew stronger each day, and soon their eyes opened and they took their first wobbly steps. Simone has one blue eye and quickly caught the attention of a family looking for a new four-legged child. So at 6 weeks old, she said goodbye to her brother and moved in with her new family who renamed her Shelby.
Finn continued coming to work with us and made friends with all the staff, especially the smokers who he would enthusiastically greet every time he went out to the toilet.
We crate trained him which made it easier to manage him in an office with furniture and electrical cables that could be chewed. When he was 8 weeks old, he started puppy school at Tygerberg Animal Hospital with Karen Forsdick who has a wealth of experience.
We train Finn using positive reinforcement training and he knows a wide variety of commands already which he will demonstrate enthusiastically for anyone who has some dog pellets in hand. He still occasionally comes to works with us but otherwise, runs around the garden, plays with Oscar, our gardener, bothers his brother, Kai and makes sure the neighbour’s sheep don’t come too close to our fence. He loves people and is an exuberant greeter, so we ask visitors to not greet him unless he sits. He knows this so well, you don’t even have to ask him to sit, you just have to ‘ignore’ him until he does.
Finn’s colouring makes us think he has some Australian cattle dog or Australian shepherd in him. Finn wants to be a therapy dog for Pets as Therapy when he’s all grown up as he already sometimes visits Ladies Christian Home to visit his granny and loves meeting and greeting all the ladies there.