Harare - The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has shared the heart-warming tale of a dog in a coat in the middle of a bitterly-cold Zimbabwean winter.
An SPCA official snapped a picture of the dog, dressed in a hooded dog coat, waiting regally for its vaccinations on the examination table at the weekend.
The dog, a tan-coloured male, was put into a cardboard box and cycled to the SPCA vet in Harare's Hatfield suburb on Saturday by his owner, an SPCA education officer told News24. The dog's rabies vaccination was due. The picture was uploaded to Facebook, where it has been liked nearly 650 times and elicited an outpouring of comments.
The owner of the dog lives with his parents in low-income Epworth suburb. Hatfield, where the SPCA is situated, is a distance of around 9km from Epworth.
'Like a sibling'
"He considers the dog like a sibling," she said in a 'phone interview. "Because it was so cold, he had put the dog in a coat. Lots of dogs here, because they live outside, get hypothermia. It was a proper dog-coat."
In a country where news about animals and wildlife can sometimes be grim, friends of the Harare SPCA have responded enthusiastically to the Facebook post.
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"That is just awesome. Way to go. Everyone needs to take a page out of his book! Well done SPCA," wrote one reader, Charmaine Beattie.
"Wow God bless you for looking after your dog like that!!" wrote another reader.
Captioning the picture, the Harare SPCA said: "It warms our hearts when owners like this come in and makes us proud to be able to support members of the public to look after their animals."
Rabies is an ongoing worry for dog-owners in parts of Zimbabwe. Last month a rabid dog bit 13 people in Marondera, a town 80km from Harare. Three people who did not receive treatment later died.
The SPCA education officer said: "The dog was in very good condition."
She said the society "wants to encourage this sort of behaviour".