Love at first sight when girl meets dog

Animal-mad Annika Fisch with one of her doggy friends from Tears. Annika joined Tears as a temporary volunteer between school and university in Germany and is determined to make a lasting difference to the organisation.

It’s the stuff of romantic movies: girl meets dog (and boy), falls in love; there are some high highs, some fraught lows; and then a happy ending – which, in this case, includes raising funds for animal rescue organisation Tears (The Emma Animal Rescue Society).

Annika Fisch is from Eggenfelden, a small town in the southern part of Bavaria, Germany. After finishing her 13th year of school in July last year, she was wondering what to do. Then she found an organisation called African Impact sends volunteers all over the world.

When Annika saw Tears was one of the organisations that used volunteers, this self-confessed “animal fanatic”, knew it was for her and she flew to Cape Town for her three-month stint, staying in African Impact’s volunteer house in Observatory.

At Tears, she was a “volunteer for every need” and came across two four-month-old puppies, siblings, in one of the kennels. It was love at first sight.

“I am in contact with every dog in every kennel, but Naomi was the only one who just wouldn’t leave me,” Annike recalled.

“She sat on me as soon as she had the chance to and she jumped on my back telling me I should carry her. So, of course, I quickly developed a lovely relationship towards her.”

“When I was telling my dad about Naomi, he just said: ‘Come on, don’t be silly.’ which broke my heart a little bit,” Annike confessed.

Then one day when Annike arrived at work, the staff told her that Naomi had been adopted.

“I hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye or anything. So I sat there, crying, but I tried to be happy for her, because I knew she’d have a home.”

As if this wasn’t enough to stir the emotions, her boyfriend, also a volunteer, was due to fly back to Britain as his volunteering stint was over.

“But then something happened, what I call ‘WISA’ – Welcome in South Africa – where everything can happen any time. When I got to work, everybody was like: ‘Have you heard the good news?’”

It turned out Naomi had been returned.

“I ran outside to her kennel, and it was obvious she remembered me. She jumped and talked and kissed me, and eventually. “I sat in her kennel for almost 30 minutes while Naomi lay on me, relaxed as can be. I just held her.

“That’s when I knew I needed to bring her to Germany. I told my Dad it’s destiny, because it clearly is.”

After a week spent convincing her father, she filled out the adoption form, got the vaccinations done, did the necessary blood tests and, when the results are out in January, Naomi will fly to Germany to join her new family.

But that wasn’t the only good news.

“My boyfriend got offered a job as an ambassador for African Impact with a free stay for another three weeks, so he also came back. WISA, right?”

All this set Annike to thinking as her volunteering stint drew to a close. How to improve things? She didn’t want only to improve the animals’ lives by caring
for them.

Her goal is more wide-ranging: long-lasting improvement.

“That’s why I set up a fund-raising page to promote Tears. I want to promote it as a pro-life, registered non-profit organisation and call attention to animal adoption. I want to guarantee the best treatments and shelters possible for every single animal. I want to create a greater impact than just working – even if when I do work I get rewarded for every single action with the unconditional love of those dogs, wagging tails and kisses included.”

Not surprisingly, Naomi is the face of the fund-raising page. A happy ending for an abandoned dog – not only travelling to Germany to her new family, but a model too.

To see Annike’s fund-raising page, visit