A quick trip to the airport turned into a nightmare for a Fish Hoek woman when her Yorkshire terrier was ripped from her car during a smash-and-grab.
What followed was an “extremely stressful” 24-hours for Terry Harwood, and when she received a call the following day saying Tikkiboo had been found safe and sound, she thought it was a hoax.
Ms Harwood had to go the airport on Monday February 24 to drop off her son’s in-laws who were returning to Germany after their daughter married Ms Harwood’s son on Saturday February 22.
Ms Harwood was up at the crack of dawn, planning the quickest route to the airport, and Google maps suggested it was via Baden Powell Drive.
However, traffic was gridlocked and Ms Harwood said taxis had been driving into oncoming traffic and on both sides of the road.
This was when two of her windows, the passenger side and the back window behind her were smashed at 6.30am and her beloved yorkie was ripped from the car.
Tikkiboo is used to travelling and accompanies Ms Harwood wherever she goes.
“I could see Tikkiboo’s red carrier bag being lifted through the window from the corner of my eye, and I tried to grab it, but it was too late, and I yelled, ‘That’s my dog! That’s my dog!’” A man also attempted to grab the passenger’s handbag but got more than he bargained for when she bit his hand.
“All their travel documents and passports were in her handbag and it would have been a disaster if he had taken her bag,” Ms Harwood said.
Being stuck in traffic, there was nothing Ms Harwood could do, so she continued to the airport to see off her guests.
“They were very traumatised by the incident,” she said.
She then reported the incident to Pinelands police station, as she was too scared to go to the Nyanga police station, and spent the afternoon in Pinelands with her daughter’s friend.
“I was in shock, and my daughter did not want me to drive back to Fish Hoek in that state.”
In the meantime, her daughter and daughter-in-law took to social media and shared Tikkiboo’s disappearance far and wide.
“I was amazed at the response. I had calls from all over, and there were so many people willing to help.”
That night, Ms Harwood prayed for angels to protect Tikkiboo and for someone to find her and look after her.
“I did not pray to get her back because I had no hope of ever seeing her again. I said goodbye to her when she went out the window, and all I wanted was someone to find her and look after her.”
The following day, Ms Harwood started sending pictures of Tikkiboo to various police stations, animal welfare organisations and the SPCA.
When she got a call from her daughter at 9.45am saying Tikkiboo had been found, she could not believe it.
“I was too scared to get excited,” she said.
The Nyanga police had found Tikkiboo after following leads and noticing a suspicious-looking man with a bleeding hand.
They agreed to meet Ms Harwood at the BP garage at the airport where she and Tikkiboo were reunited.
“Three police cars met me at the garage to deliver this tiny 1.8kg dog,” she said.
Ms Harwood said Tikkiboo had been very happy to see her, licking her face and leaning into her chest.
“I am so grateful to the police,” she said.
Nyanga police spokeswoman Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi said Tikkiboo had been found in the Lusaka informal settlement near Borchard’s Quarry after officers had followed up leads and brought a 24-year-old man in for questioning. The investigation was ongoing, she said.