Having endured the storms of their turbulent pasts, Caesar and Saskia, two loyal canines, are joyfully reunited, their hearts brimming with pure joy and deep contentment.

Anyone who has been in love understands how heartbreaking it can be to be apart from their loved one. This emotion is all too familiar to Caesar, an old dog, and Saskia, a youngster. After falling head over heels, the dogs were separated, and they had no idea if they’d ever see each other again.

Before meeting, Caesar and Saskia resided in different parts of Blikkiesdorp, a township in Cape Town, South Africa. Both animals and humans find it difficult to live at Blikkiesdorp. Some of Cape Town’s poorest residents live here, in shacks built of scrap metal, old tires, and pieces of wood. Social services are nonexistent, and there is just one toilet and sink for every eight households. Blikkiesdorp is also known for gang violence, making it one of the most hazardous areas in Cape Town.

Three South African ladies, Rosie Kunneke, Dinielle Stöckigt, and Clarina Hanekom, founded Tin Can Town to address animal suffering in Blikkiesdorp. The group provides humane and life-saving services for dogs and cats. Kunneke, Stöckigt, Hanekom, and a team of volunteers conduct regular outreach days in Blikkiesdorp to neuter and spay animals, as well as provide veterinary care and food. They’re also available 24 hours a day to assist any animal in need.

During one of their regular outreach days, Kunneke encountered Caesar, an older, red-furred dog who lived with a couple in a neighboring shack. Caesar would always come over to greet Kunneke after they met. “If Caesar heard our car, he’d come running,” Kunneke tells The Dodo. “He was really emaciated, and we constantly made sure he had something to eat. We castrated him and supplied him all the necessary veterinary treatment.

When the man and woman who looked for Caesar split up, Caesar stayed with the woman, but Kunneke claims she didn’t properly care for the dog. Then things got worse for Caesar: children flung rocks at him, hurting him severely. “When we found him, he had a few wounds on his head, but the worst was his nose,” said Kunneke. “His nose must have been smashed hard because it bled for days and the vet couldn’t make it to stop. The damage was located in his nostrils, which were difficult to approach.

Caesar’s age at this stage was ten. Kunneke feared that if he stayed at Blikkiesdrop for another year, he would die. So Kunneke removed Caesar from Blikkiesdorp and placed him in foster care.

While Caesar was recovering in his foster home, Hanekom discovered that a 4-month-old dog named Saskia from a nearby area of Blikkiesdorp needed assistance. Saskia was critically emaciated and suffering from gastroenteritis, so Hanekom took her to the vet for emergency treatment. When Saskia recovered, Hanekom attempted to return her to her owners, traveling to the address they had supplied. But when Hanekom arrived at an empty plot, she knew they had given her the wrong location and most likely did not want Saskia back. “We decided then to get a foster mommy for Saskia,” according to Kunneke, “and to find her the forever home she deserves.”

As fate would have it, Saskia wound up in the same foster family as Caesar, and the two fell in love. “I wasn’t there to witness it, but from what I heard, Saskia would follow Caesar around,” Kunneke relates. “She’d lie close to him, eat when he ate and drink water when he did. They would sleep in the same dog bed, and Caesar would play with Saskia. He never got irritated or angry when Saskia jumped all over him. They never left each other’s side. Everything was done together.”

Of course, foster homes are only temporary, and it is critical for animals to transition to permanent homes so that foster caregivers can aid additional animals. So when a retired couple from Cape Town adopted Caesar, everyone was pleased. “We couldn’t have asked for a more lovely home for him,” adds Kunneke.

Saskia was devastated. She had lost her dearest friend and regular companion. “She was definitely depressed and missed him,” Kunneke explains. “She wasn’t much interested in playing, preferring to lie in the bed where she and Caesar usually slept. “She was constantly looking for him.”

The foster family attempted to find Saskia a forever family, hoping that a new atmosphere might cheer her up. They took Saskia to various adoption events but had no success.

Then, a few months later, Caesar’s adoptive parents contacted Tin Can Town and expressed their want to adopt a friend for Caesar. It turns out that Caesar was also depressed. They knew just what dog to recommend.

“The foster mama dropped Saskia off, so I wasn’t there,” explains Kunneke, “but they said Caesar instantly recognized Saskia, and there were lots of enthusiastic licks and tail wags. Caesar showed Saskia about the new house, and then they took a snooze in the same bed.”

Caesar and Saskia haven’t left each other’s side since.

“Every animal that we manage to save and find a foster home for is the reason for us to celebrate,” adds Kunneke. “Saskia and Caesar’s story is so heartwarming, and knowing that we found them a home together makes us smile everyday.”

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