The dogs that live next door to lions


One good thing that has come out of lockdown is the huge increase in pet adoptions worldwide. Our supporters may know Kevin and his crew as some of the world’s biggest “cat people”, but the truth is, we are all avid dog lovers too. So when a thin and scared female pit bull cross was found sniffing hungrily around the fridge area, hearts melted amongst the staff. This little woof was in bad condition, full of ticks and fleas and clearly surviving however she could.

KRWS staff members and Kimberley
The staff posted her photo on the Dinokeng website and asked around to find out if anyone was looking for her, but no one replied. It was just a few days before lockdown, and the staff was beginning to grow attached to this bushveld orphan.

And so we present … Kimberley, the Kevin Richardson Wildlife sanctuary “company” dog. We’re not sure why the staff named her “Kimberley”, but apparently, the name means “from the meadow of the royal fortress” and, well, we like that. Kimberley went to see the vet and was spayed, vaccinated and treated for worms and ticks. She got the best veterinary treatment in the country, thanks to the fact that her predator neighbours have pretty good contacts in health care. Her dad is Daka (pictured with her on the left), but she has stolen everyone’s hearts with her sweet nature and affectionate licks.

Kimberley is not alone. Another canine friend has been at the sanctuary for over a year now – Guido the German pointer. Guido has his own story. At nine years of age he moved all the way from a small town in France with his owner, Caroline – a Foundation Director who now lives at the sanctuary. When Caroline and Guido emigrated to the sanctuary, we were all a little worried whether this regal hound would adapt from the luxuries of the French countryside to the wildness of the African bush. Don’t ever underestimate an animal’s adaptability. Guido didn’t have any issues adjusting to the sight of giraffe roaming by the fence in the mornings, or the call of jackals at night.

His obsession for chasing tennis balls distracts him from the wildlife around him, and he demands the sanctuary volunteers throw these balls for him at every moment he gets. Being a real “people’s dog”, Guido played it cool when meeting Kimberley for the first time. In fact he pretty much ignored her. But Kimberely waited every morning at the gate of the Trading Post and, slowly but surely, tails started wagging. These two are now as thick as thieves, playing together and even sneaking onto the couch in Caroline’s room. They get their daily walks and treats and the KRWS family is bigger by one. Welcome to the family Kimberley!
Guido and Kimberley family portrait
Relaxing on the couch after a long day of chasing balls and playing