A Soft Spot for Animals: Sam Kelly

Samantha Kelly has worked as Financial Controller for Metrohm South Africa since early 2017. Numbers and maths have always made sense to her, she says, which is why her job is perfect for her. But while Sam’s brain keeps busy with numbers, her heart beats for all animals—and especially for her three chows Bear, Pumpkin, and Roxy, and her two cats Storm and Pipsqueak.

IMG_5340When Leanne, Marketing and Sales Coordinator at Metrohm SA in Cape Town, and I came to Johannesburg, Sam invited us to her home to meet her little animal family. Even before getting there, Leanne told me that, when it comes to animals in trouble, Sam can’t help herself: «Sam loves animals too much for her own good!» She will even rescue bees drowning in her drink in summer and carefully dry off their wings with napkins.

Every Pet Has a Story

When we arrived at Sam’s home where she lives with her husband Adam, we were greeted by the three dogs’ excited barking. None of the three dogs and two cats came from a breeder. Each one of Sam and Adam’s pets has its own story.

The cats, Storm and Pipsqueak, were the first to arrive five years ago. At the time, Sam was doing her accounting articles, a three-year traineeship required to become an accountant in South Africa. «One of the boys went out to smoke and heard crying», Sam recalls. The kittens were trapped in a factory storm drain. Sam rescued them. Her plan was to bring them to a shelter because she was allergic to cats. But when she brought them home, her husband immediately fell in love with them and they decided to keep them anyway.


Sam rescued her cats Storm and Pipsqueak from a storm drain.

Enter the Chows

Pumpkin ops

Bear (right) says hi to Pumpkin after her operations.

Sam and Adam got their first chow, Pumpkin, a year later. Pumpkin was the runt of the litter—she weighed only two kilograms when they got her! She’s also had her fair share of health problems: she’s had torn cruciate ligaments and elbow dysplasia and has had seven operations on her legs. But all of that is in the past and she’s doing great now: «She is the smallest of our chows but she’s the boss of Bear and Roxy!», says Sam.

Bear joined the family just a month after Pumpkin. He came from a plot in Pretoria that had seven dogs. They thought all the females had been spayed—but then the chow got pregnant. Bear is a mix between a chow and a Samoyed. Samoyeds are known to «talk» to communicate with each other, and so does Bear: it sounds like he’s just talking about his day. Unfortunately we can’t understand him!

Because he’s a mix, Bear is the biggest one of the chows. He weighs 40 kilograms. But according to Sam, he’s the biggest baby of all her fur kids. He used to cry and couldn’t be left alone when Pumpkin was gone for her operations.

Roxy is the latest addition to the chow family. Sam and Adam adopted her one and a half years ago from the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) shelter in Limpopo, about three hours drive from Johannesburg. The SPCA made a Facebook post about Roxy, who had been used for breeding and then dumped on a rubbish dump when she was only two. «Our hearts melted, so we took Bear and Pumpkin through to meet her. They said we could take her home that day as they saw that our kids got on well and it was a three-hour drive to get there.»

Roxy has the calmest temper of the three chows, which seems surprising for a dog that has obviously not been treated well. But she’s visibly happy now: «She has finally started to play and run.»

I wouldn’t be surprised if, the next time I come to South Africa, I’d meet chow number 4.



1 Comment


    An endearing account of a wonderful friendship between humans and animals. As the saying goes, dog is man’s oldest friend, if not his best. May your tribe increase, Sam and Adam!

    October 20, 2018 - 5:19 pm Reply

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