Cape Town – In a bittersweet tale of “Faith”, 10-year-old Palo Gigi was gifted a pit bull puppy after his pregnant mom, Edith Gigi, miscarried in February this year.
Palo, who anticipated the arrival of his baby brother with great excitement, battled to come to terms with the loss after five months of his mom’s pregnancy.
The boy’s father, Happyboy Gigi, 40, said Palo was so traumatised that he sought counselling for him. Happyboy accepted the advice of a friend and got his son a puppy. The bond between Palo and his pit bull puppy, Faith, was evident and the pair were inseparable from the start.
“This dog has really helped him. She has helped all of us, in fact,” Gigi said. “That is why, when they (Animal Welfare Society of South Africa [AWS SA]) said the dog was dying that morning, I was so emotional because I knew that he wasn’t going to be able to accept it.”
Gigi and Palo brought the puppy to the AWS in Philippi after she became seriously ill. AWS SA nursing assistant Jaque le Roux examined the puppy and found her to be close to death as a result of a severe worm infestation which was affecting her brain. He explained the seriousness of his little puppy’s condition to Palo.
“Tears started streaming down the boy’s face,” Le Roux said. “Myself and Crystal Fester (AWS SA receptionist) looked at each other and said, no, let’s see what we can do.”
He stabilised the puppy and placed her on an intravenous drip along with a course of antibiotics and gently “force-fed” her. “Half an hour later, the patient was showing signs of recovery,” he said. Faith was sent home with medication, but two weeks later, she was admitted again. This time, she was infected with a potentially deadly Canine parvovirus, a life-threatening and highly contagious viral disease.
“We had to stabilise her again, and after a few days, this feisty puppy, named ‘Faith’, refused to give up and was back to her normal self,” Le Roux said.
Head of Resource Development and Communications at AWS SA, Allan Perrins said: “Nothing can ever adequately compensate for the tragic loss of a child and we extend our sincere condolences to the Gigi family but it is an undeniable fact that pets, especially dogs, have amazing therapeutic attributes and healing qualities.
“Faith is a survivor with all of the adorable traits of any puppy and we are confident that both Palo and Faith are well on the road to recovery.”