Late one Tuesday evening, Jonno Bayman was making his way home on Jake Gerwel Drive. As he was driving through Philippi, he saw a small dog in a bad condition lying on the island between two freeway roads and pulled over to help her.

Bayman could see the dog was distressed and in pain and called his girlfriend who was waiting for him at home to let her know that he would be late, and decided to stay with the troubled dog.

As he tried to pick her up and carry her to safety, the frightened little dog crawled under his bakkie and lay down out of reach. Bayman decided it was best to wait with her until the SPCA arrived instead of trying to carry her.

He called the SPCA and gave them his location details. However, roughly an hour and a half later, Bayman was still waiting for help to arrive and he called his girlfriend again to let her know that his phone was about to die.

As the sun started to go down, five men approached Bayman to ask if he needed help and warned him that he was in a very dangerous area.

The men helped Bayman carry the dog into the back of the bakkie. Thanking them, he was getting into his car to drive off when one of the men punched him in the head and pulled him out of the vehicle.

Everything happened quickly, and in the confusion Bayman could hear the men rifling through his possessions in the car. One of the men was holding a large screwdriver and so Bayman cooperated, handing over his watch, wallet and phone. One of the men then tried to start the car but failed, and all of the assailants fled.

Just a few minutes later, Bayman’s girlfriend Kayleigh Lockem arrived and the pair went in her car to a nearby vehicle repair store to jump-start Bayman’s car. It was then that the fact Bayman had survived a life-threatening ordeal sunk in for the couple.

When the pair finally managed to get the rescued dog to the SPCA it was well past closing time. The pair called the organisation’s emergency number and a helpful staff member arranged to meet them at the SPCA premises and have emergency pain medication administered to the little dog.
They asked to be kept in the loop on the condition of the dog, who has since been affectionately named Gracie, and the staff ensured the couple that they would keep them updated on the results of the X-rays she was due to receive in the morning.
The pair were told to prepare for the worst as Gracie was in a bad condition, with both of her hind legs broken, the right one having three clean breaks. Gracie would need specialist surgery. The SPCA didn’t have the specialist to perform the surgery but Bayman and Lockem couldn’t bear to have the dog put down and so began a search for a specialist. After many calls and emails, the couple’s plea was heard by Doctors Michael Gray and Peter Guy of Panorama Vet, who performed the surgery, which usually would cost R15 000, free of charge.
When the couple visited Gracie for the first time after her operation, she instantly recognised them and fell madly in love with Bayman who had come to her rescue.
The pair were unsure of how to handle the new adoption as they already had four cats at home and were worried there wouldn’t be enough space for Gracie to live happily, but they couldn’t leave her.
“By this point, we were in too deep. The shiny puppy dog eyes, happy smile and ridiculous overbite were not match for our tiny hearts,” says Lockem.
After four weeks of healing, the couple signed the adoption papers and Gracie became theirs.
Gracie’s road to recovery was a tough one with a lot of struggles, but even with a limp Gracie was not phased and soldiered on.
“Now Gracie is a little light that shines everywhere she goes and her loving gentle nature draws everyone to her. She is loyal, playful, lovable and so comical,” Lockem says.
Despite the hardships it took to get the three here, we would say it was all worth it for the love and happiness they have today.

Pictures: Facebook/Jonno Bayman/Kayleigh Lockem

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