Mike the anti-poaching dog

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By Bryan Havemann, Timbavati Warden


We were informed by the field rangers at the Sumatra Picket late in the afternoon of the 24th November 2016 that Mike, the Belgium Malinois/Shepherd cross had dislocated his hindquarters.  The field rangers were told to take Mike to Provet in Hoedspruit, where he was X-rayed.  Early on Friday, morning the vet let us know that they would not be able to do anything, but that Mike would need an operation to fix the hind leg.  It was a dislocation to the lower joint and not the pelvis as was originally communicated.  They were not equipped to do this operation in Hoedspruit.  The incident occurred when the handler was playing with his dog and somehow the dog landed wrong while running, causing the injury.


I arranged to meet with Chelsea Mercado from RAPS K9 unit at OR Tambo airport Friday afternoon.  Chelsea trained Mike initially and also gave the basic training to Divers and Assurance who are the dog handlers at Timbavati for the K9’s Mike and his brother Joey.  I fetched Mike from the Hoedspruit Provet practice at midday and drove him up in my Toyota Hilux Double Cab and made him comfortable in the load area, under the canopy, on a mattress with blankets.  Once I handed Mike over to Chelsea in Johannesburg, she took him to the surgery where he was operated on.  The operation took place on the Saturday morning  and the surgeon was able to realign the joint and the prognosis was that Mike would make a 100% recovery.


Chelsea let me know today (Thursday 1st December 2016) that Mike is doing very well. He is still at the veterinary surgery, but that she would hopefully collect him in the next couple days. She once again reiterated that Mike should make a 100% recovery. He needs 6 weeks of kennel rest and then slowly needs to get that leg back up and working again.  RAPS K9 Unit has offered to keep him for this period of kennel rest that he needs