Dog attack victims back on their feet

Sporting a few scars but blessed with no permanent damage after being mauled by their dogs shortly before Christmas, Colonel Danie Calitz and his wife Sharon are keen to be back at work and to resume pounding the tarmac to add to their medal collection

JUST three weeks after being viciously mauled by their pet dogs, Danie and Sharon Calitz are back home and ready to return to work at the Empangeni Police Station.

While their bodies still bear the scars of ‘a minute of madness’, neither has suffered permanent damage or disability.

Tough as teak, the couple is also amazingly resilient in dealing with the trauma of the unexplained 21 December attack by their Boerboel, Rufus and half-wolf, Ulva.

Recounting the harrowing late afternoon episode, when Rufus attacked Sharon without warning while she was gardening and Danie attempted to stop the dogs as Ulva joined in, they remain mystified as to what sparked the incident.

‘We often let the dogs onto the front lawn and garden area as a treat and they have never shown any inclination to misbehave,’ said Danie.

‘We will never know why Rufus apparently saw Sharon as some kind of threat and attacked her, nor why he stopped just as suddenly and was back to normal when it was all over.’

The couple had remained amazingly calm and collected during the episode and it was only later at the hospital they realised how badly they had been bitten.

‘I drove us to the hospital, thinking we would both need a few stitches,’ said Danie.

In fact, Sharon – whose scalp and ear were ripped open – required more than 200 stitches and Danie more than 50.

Best therapy

They believe their tough ‘farm upbringing’ and years of rugged police work held them in good stead in being able to handle the ordeal.

Neither requires further medical treatment and ‘at this stage’ do not believe they need any trauma counselling.

‘The best therapy is to be back at work and back out on the road. We intend resuming our love for walking and this year we will concentrate on trail events,’ said Sharon.

She will be back at her Human Resources post at the Empangeni Police Station on Monday, while Danie will resume his position as Visible Policing Commander.

They have been overwhelmed by the number of well-wishers and are grateful for the prayers and thoughts of thousands in the community who responded to the Zululand Observer reports on the incident.

‘We are also grateful for the expert treatment we received at Netcare The Bay Hospital, not just when we were admitted, but also during surgery and the follow-up visits.

‘We were blessed to have such care and compassion.’

Dave Savides

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