By Amanda Khoza, News24 South Africa
Wide-eyed and frozen in fear, Seuntjie watched helplessly as his owner and travel companion Andre Enslin slowly lost his grip on life.
The dog looked on as the 52-year-old truck driver, from Pretoria, suffered a mild heart attack while he was driving down the N3 highway at Townhill, approaching Pietermaritzburg.
Enslin, who has been driving trucks for 37 years, said when his dog had puppies he instantly fell in love with Seuntjie. Today the collie basset Scottish terrier mix is a year and four months old.
Enslin loved Seuntjie so much he decided to take him along on his work travels.
“I would kill for him. If anyone touches him, I will be on top of that person in a second.”
Recounting what happened that day, November 17, Enslin said he was driving from Johannesburg to Durban when he suddenly felt ill.
“I remember looking back at Seuntjie and he was looking back at me with big eyes and I could see he was afraid because he did not know what was happening.”
The last thing Enslin remembers was being taken to the hospital.
The day after Enslin was taken to the hospital, a passer-by, Jacques van Zyl, 39, stopped at the Metro service station in Westmead where Enslin’s truck was parked.
A woman asked him for help.
“She asked me for a rope… She told me that a driver had suffered a heart attack the night before and his dog had been sitting in the truck all night.”
“I went to the truck slowly and jumped in and sat next to the dog and gave it food and water. When he ate, I saw that he was friendly and I started petting him.”
Van Zyl told the woman that he was taking the dog to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [SPCA].
“I drove him to the Kloof SPCA and spoke to the manager who told me that she would keep him for a week, but she would have to put him up for adoption if nobody came to fetch him.”
A week later Van Zyl received a phone call from the RK Khan Hospital informing him that Enslin had been discharged.
“I fetched him and took him to the SPCA and a miracle happened when the dog saw his owner, he was ecstatic. I knew I had done the right thing,” said Van Zyl.
Manager of the Kloof and Highway SPCA Barbara Patrick said this was one of the happiest endings that she had been involved with over the past few weeks.
“To see how grateful Andre was made all our tears worth it as Seuntjie and Andre were overjoyed to be reunited and, once again, it was confirmation of the saying that a dog is a man’s best friend,” she said.
Patrick said if everyone made a difference every day, like Van Zyl, the world would be a much better place.
Enslin, who has since returned to work, said he will always be grateful to Van Zyl for reuniting him with Seuntjie.
“He is a hero in my eyes. May God bless him,” said Enslin.