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A happy outcome to a hideous experience: This chihuahua was rescued from a group of boys who "were kicking it around like a football."

Graphic arts student Shekara Kotze, 20, came upon the scene of brutality near the Tafelsig Community Centre in Mitchell's Plan, South Africa, where Kotze was teaching a hiphop class. When she stopped the boys from kicking the dog back and forth, she demanded to know whose dog it was, but they said it was always just hanging around pestering them for attention, and no one owned it.

The kids were ages thirteen and fourteen. Their actions against the dog caused it hearing loss and blindness. Four weeks after medical care, he was regaining part of his sight and his hearing was improving somewhat.

Cicely Blumberg of the animal rescue center Adopt-a-Pet said the boys maltreatment of the dog was symptomatic of "the violence and desensitation to suffering prevalent in our society, where, to certain people, the lives of both animals and people are of little or no value." Alas this sort of thing happens as easily in America as it is in South Africa.

Given the name Ninja, Adopt-a-Pet found the chihuahua a good home after his recovery. So life will get better even if he can't see it or hear it quite as well. [June 2007]

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