From far and wide there were messages of encouragement, prayers, offers to help. There were posters and extensive searches for this heroic brat who so faithfully protected her owner from house robbers.
And now Sussie is home. And safe. And hopelessly out of her skin with joy.
Tears of joy flowed freely on Friday when Sussie, the missing long-haired Jack Russell terrier, was located safely in the woods near the Vaal shopping center in Vanderbijlpark after more than a week.
Members of the community soon formed a circle around the brave little dog so that she wouldn’t run away again while her old master, Elvin Muller, waited patiently on his knees until a dirty, scared Sussie finally “crawled” into his arms.
Sussie disappeared without a trace last Monday after protecting her owner, Kayla Muller (18), from three armed robbers. The incident took place when Kayla, a matric student from Transvalia High School, came home after her mathematics paper and was attacked by three armed men. The family’s dogs, Sussie and Bumper, both Jack Russell terriers, jumped in between Kayla and the attackers and terrified the thugs.
The puppy then ran after the robbers’ getaway car and disappeared without a trace. The large-scale search for her has continued ever since.
Kayla’s older sister, Lianca (24), was present on Friday when their beloved puppy was found and told RNews that everyone was in tears.
She explains that a worker from people who got involved in the search for Sussie last week spotted her on Friday morning and called her employers.
“They immediately called my father and let him know that they had seen Sussie. My father works in Vereeniging and then called me. I am currently at home because I came from Johannesburg to help look for Sussie, so I drove there immediately.
“A few people who were part of the search were already standing in a circle around Sussie so that she wouldn’t get away again. I saw her and immediately sat down in an attempt to win her trust. She was just very scary. My father arrived and immediately dropped to his knees as well. After about five or ten minutes she went to him.”
Lianca says everyone was in tears – this time “tears of joy and not of frustration and sadness”.
“We are all so happy. It was a very frustrating week and it was hard to keep my spirits up all the time.
“She was very dirty, but we bathed her and she ate a nice piece of steak from my hand.
“She is full of ticks and we are going to take her to the vet now and then so they can check that everything is okay. Then I’m going to drive to Woolies and buy her the most expensive steak,” said an emotional Lianca – with Sussie’s barking echoing in the background.
She says Sussie is as happy as they are that she is home again.
“She immediately ran to her little brother, Bumper, and was already chasing dragonflies around the pool.”
Lianca says Sussie also threw asses on the lawn out of pure joy and ran around exuberantly.
She emphasizes that Sussie’s safe return would never have been possible without the help and support of the Vanderbijlpark community.
“So many people helped us – people we know from some side. It’s just wonderful. We are so grateful to the people of Vanderbijlpark. People really stood with us – it’s just the best feeling.”