Clever Canine: This Injured South African Dog Found His Way to an Animal Hospital All By Himself

·2 min read
close up of a mixed breed black dog
close up of a mixed breed black dog

Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty

Never underestimate a dog's resilience or his ability to find exactly what he needs. Rio certainly has both—and soon he'll be ready for adoption.

The black dog found his way unaccompanied to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA hospital in South Africa last Friday. Rio had bite wounds on his neck and needed help. According to the SPCA's website, he sniffed his way over to the animal hospital where Moyo Ndukwana, SPCA's CEO, came up to him with a tin of treats and secured him on a leash.

Medical staff quickly tended to his wounds with antibiotics, and he's already healed up. Sadly, no one has come in to claim him and he doesn't have a microchip, the SPCA reports.

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There is a silver lining, however: After passing his health and behavior assessments, Rio will join the SPCA's adoption ward where a family can find him and take him home.

But how did he find his way to the veterinarian's office? There are several possibilities, according to Jenna Stregowski, RVT, Daily Paws Pet Health and Behavior Editor. She says it could've been a "happy accident" in which Rio was hurt in the area and was seeking humans to help.

He'd been around humans before, so it's also possible he recognized the smells and sounds of the shelter and veterinary office and knew to go there for help, Stregowski says. Dogs are incredibly good at tracking and scouting, after all.

"When I worked in vet clinics, we would sometimes find stray animals nearby—especially dogs," Stregowski says. "We always figured they were attracted to the unique smells and sounds of the vet. Lots of dogs love going to the vet because they associate it with treats and attention, so maybe this was Rio's past experience."

The SPCA said it logs about 100 missing pet reports monthly, so let this serve as yet another reminder to microchip your pet. Please?