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updated 5/10/01
Out of Africa - a true story of triumph over adversity

BONNY THE Border Collie has finally arrived in New Zealand, thanks to people all over the world who helped her to be reunited with her owners Karen and Steve Peel of the Fragglerock affix. The couple had been obliged to flee Zimbabwe because of the problems there and were accepted into New Zealand to start a new life.

We had 'met' Karen and Steve via 'Borderbility', a chat group on the Internet that brings Border Collie lovers together from all over the world. Karen and Steve were regular 'Chatters' and over the past 18 months we had read in their mails about the worrying tension and terrorism in Zimbabwe and the horrific accounts of what was happening to the farmers over there. Little by little the news also crept onto our television screens and into the newspapers. Farmers were being killed, attacked, chased violently from their farms or taken into custody and their dogs and other animals were being tortured, killed or stolen.


Karen and Bonny share a long awaited cuddle.

Then Karen and Steve told us they would have to leave, but taking all their dogs with them to New Zealand would not be financially possible. Dogs have to undergo six months' quarantine in either the UK or 'open quarantine' in another European country i.e., Germany, France etc. There would be the dogs' flight to a European country; the six months' stay with a family, then the flight to New Zealand and a month's compulsory stay in a quarantine kennels upon arrival in New Zealand before going home with Karen and Steve.

Naturally, all this would be extremely expensive. The day we learned of this the Internet must have been burning hot with the emails that went backwards and forwards between not only Border Collie lovers but between dog lovers of all breeds. Other chat groups, such as UK showdogs, Obedience uk, Agility uk, sheepherding uk joined in. We decided to set up the ER Fund (Emergency Relief Fund) for Bonny to pay her expenses.

Re-homed

It was too late for their other dogs. Karen and Steve had already driven a 4,000 mile round trip to South Africa where their other Border Collies had been re-homed with several friends far away from the dangers of Zimbabwe.

People organised raffles, auctioned and sold rare books, novels, bric-a-brac, organised shows, competitions and sent donations to the account that Abbey National had kindly set up for her in the name of The Fragglerock Fund.

Uta Hoffmann, a vet in Germany, organised finding a good foster home for Bonny for six months in Germany. And what a fabulous home that turned out to be. She lived with Frauke and Hans Juergens in their home with their other dogs and accompanied them everywhere. She did Agility, worked sheep and was fed by the generosity of so many people donating food and goodies that if she had managed to eat it all there would have been a very fat Bonny flying to New Zealand! Uta herself did all the blood tests, injections, vaccinations, worming and microchipping, as well as organising all the necessary papers etc, that were compulsory for Bonny to be accepted into New Zealand. For the last minute tests we all held our breaths and hoped "Please let it be ok!"

Bonny left Germany on 1st September and arrived safely in New Zealand and into the arms of Karen and Steve who wept for joy at finally being reunited with Bonny. The Kleenex company's profits must have gone up the day we got the news on the Internet along with photos of their reunion. Tears flowed with happiness.

In spite of the moans, groans, and all the not so nice side of the doggy world, when it comes to pulling together for the sake of a dog, people unite together in force to help.

Thanks are due to so many people for their part in helping Bonny to a new life with her owners in New Zealand. Thanks to Uta Hoffmann, thanks to Frauke and Hans Juergens and thanks to everyone who donated, who gave, even if it was just a little. Every penny and every effort counted. To have re-united even one dog with her owners has made it all worthwhile.
Valerie Rothlisberger-Jones