A house robbery that occurred at a family home in Benoni and cost distraught members one dog, while badly injuring another, may have a happy ending yet.
On 3 October, the Lamont family home in Lakefield was allegedly entered by two armed men. In the early hours of that day, after the alarm went off, the husband heard one of the robbers moving towards their bedroom.
The intruder began to fire shots, and the father retaliated with his own firearm, hitting him. He was later declared dead at the scene.
The gun found at the scene was said to have been linked to a spate of armed robberies in the area.
The second man then went into the eldest daughter’s bedroom, unaware that her companion, rescue Malinois cross Kei, was keeping guard on the bed.
Kei attacked the intruder, leaving him bleeding and shocked. As the man fled down the stairs, he shot and killed the family’s other dog, a Yorkshire terrier named Holly.
Kei chased the intruder down the stairs but in the process, the dog was shot in the face.
Although stunned and hurt, Kei ran outside and tried to alert a neighbour she knew.
But she was unable to bark due to her injuries. CCTV footage showed Kei pacing up and down outside the neighbour’s property, before running down towards a nearby lake she knew, to look for help.
Kei was later found by her family lying on the grass near the water. She was stabilised by the Boksburg SPCA, before being rushed to a veterinarian.
Reconstructive surgery needed
After being pumped with morphine and later x-rayed, veterinarians found the bullet entered the side of her nose, shattered her two top molars, injured her tongue and broke her jaw.
She underwent surgery, where her tongue and bullet wounds were repaired, and was released and referred to a specialist at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital for reconstructive surgery on her jaw.
More bullet fragments were found in her jawbone, and her tongue needs more treatment.
Once it is confirmed all the shrapnel has been cleared, Kei will need a plate in her jaw, and a possible bone graft.
She is currently being tube fed by her humans every three hours, as well as being medicated and having her dressings checked.
Kei’s medical expenses are expected to come up to about R60,000.
R60,000 in vet bills
The family first started a Back-a-Buddy campaign to pay for the vet bills, but when pet insurer Dotsure came across the story of Kei, they volunteered to foot the entire bill.
“When we heard about the ordeal the Lamont family went through and Kei’s brave actions to save them, despite her own serious injuries, we simply could not stand back – we knew we needed to step in and help,” said Dotsure chief operating officer David Roache.
Roache said Dotsure was moved by Kei’s heroism, and due to the Lamont family being loyal pet insurance holders since 2017, they felt “the least we can do is to foot the bill for Kei’s care”.
The news came as a welcome relief to Kei’s owner, Sarah Lamont.
“It’s so reassuring to know that people can be so wonderful and kind. Thank you to Dotsure for making it so much easier for our family to recover from this traumatic incident and for proving that humans actually are good, after all.”
Kei was adopted by the Lamont family from the Boksburg SPCA in 2020. The Boksburg SPCA said when the family first met the young dog, it was love at first sight.
The Boksburg SPCA has been keeping its social media followers up to date with Kei’s progress, and said the act of heroism was one that came with looking after one’s animals.
Kei went from being an unwanted cross-breed, waiting for a new lease on life at the SPCA, to being a hero.
“Look after your pets and we promise, they’ll look after you!”
The Boksburg SPCA also paid tribute to little Holly, who died protecting her family, and made the ultimate sacrifice.
Kei’s family said as soon as their canine hero returned home, she immediately ran to the area of the wall where the second burglar who shot her fled over.
They said she inspected the area before going inside to lie on her bed, just to make sure the premises was safe for her family.
As soon as Kei recovers, the Boksburg SPCA will presenting her with an award for heroism.
It is hoped Kei’s story will inspire prospective pet owners to adopt their new furry companions, as any animal, no matter how cross-bred, can be a loyal and lifelong friend.