Nine years ago, in 2009, little Noddy was brought to us at HESC, and it was love at first sight for us all. This brave little Miniature Pinscher had been born physically disabled, his mother was a breeding dog, and sadly the breeders did not want to take on the responsibility of looking after him. A harsh reality of what happens in the breeding world.
It seemed his forelegs did not form properly, causing him to rest his front legs on his elbows, making him hobble and shuffle around in an awkward manner. But little Noddy knew no different, nor cared about his deformity, as he was still so full of life and character.
We gladly took Noddy into our care, and decided that we would make him part of the “Nungu Camp” family. Nungu Camp is the accommodation village for the participants of the HESC Volunteer programme,. It is in an area that is fenced, so he would not have any threat from wild animals, and was certain to be showered with love and affection by the staff and the volunteers.
Little did we know then, that Noddy would end up being the “little big boss” of Nungu Camp and HESC. Where he was lacking in physical abilities, he certainly made up in spirit! He soon became the patriarch of all the animals in his “territory”. He ruled the roost, and he knew it.
Even elephants and giraffes had no chance if they came close to the Nungu camp fences, he made it quite clear they were not welcome, and they took heed of this little fighter, keeping a safe distance at all times!
He has grown up with a rather diverse group of animal friends too, from monkeys, sheep, warthogs, as well as African Greys and dogs much larger than himself. And he has, and continues to be the leader of the pack at all times.
Noddy just loved all the attention he got from everyone, every day he would be ready and waiting for the students to return, greeting each one individually as they entered the camp. But there was one person in particular who he had special connection with, and that was Jeanre, our current assistant manager at HESC.
Jeanre and Karen (general manager) have been with HESC for ten years now, and have both been part of Noddy’s life since his arrival. So, we took the decision last year, for him to stay with them in their house, which is on the centre’s premises. (Much to their delight!) He has a lovely garden there, and shares it with David the Anatolian Shepherd, and a few other friends too.
David is known to play quite rough, and Noddy is tough enough to take it, and give it back too, it is the sweetest thing to see. Even Bullet, a Belgian Malinois, known as the fiercest Anti-poaching Unit dog when in actionis scared and very respectful of our little champion. Noddy remains boss, at all times.
There are so many life lessons that we learn repeatedly from Noddy, but first and foremost, don’t let your physical appearance define you, your heart and spirit determines who you are.
Little Noddy truly has the heart of a lion, and the courage of a bear.
And we love him for it.