Zero is Dorothy-Anne’s Hero!

How a police patrol horse & a woman in a wheelchair became best friends.

How a police patrol horse & a woman in a wheelchair became best friends.

A very special bond has grown between Dorothy-Anne Howitson of Carters Glen and Zero, the white mare who does duty as a patrol horse at the Kimberly SAPS Mounted Unit.

Dorothy-Anne and Zero have formed, in Dorothy-Anne’s words, a ‘precious bond’ since they met by chance a few months ago.

“My neighbour and I both enjoy reading the Volksblad,” Dorothy-Anne says. “I was taking the paper over to him one morning, when I saw Zero being ridden down the street on regular patrol duty.”

Dorothy-Anne was captivated by the big animal and went over to meet her. It was love at first sight. Zero put her muzzle against Dorothy-Anne’s cheek and nuzzled her. “I was having a really bad day that day,” says Dorothy-Anne who contracted polio as a baby and who has been in a wheelchair these last nine years. “Zero understood that I was feeling down. She was so gentle and so soft and warm that I instantly began to feel better. It was a truly special moment and the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”

In honour of her special friend, Dorothy has bought Zero her own Casual Day sticker. The theme of Casual Day this year is Be an Everyday Hero with Persons with Disabilities. Zero and her rider, Constable Dean Malander, proudly wear their stickers to show their support for Dorothy-Anne and thousands of other persons with disabilities in South Africa.

In honour of her special friend, Dorothy has bought Zero her own Casual Day sticker. The theme of Casual Day this year is Be an Everyday Hero with Persons with Disabilities. Zero and her rider, Constable Dean Malander, proudly wear their stickers to show their support for Dorothy-Anne and thousands of other persons with disabilities in South Africa.

Now, every time Zero and her rider patrol Dorothy-Anne’s road, Zero stops outside Dorothy-Anne’s house and waits for her special friend. When she sees Dorothy-Anne, she walks straight to her.

“I like to take her an apple and spend a little time with her. We look forward to our meetings,” Dorothy-Anne says. “She always seems to know how I’m feeling and spending time with Zero cheers me up if I’m feeling down. If I’m feeling well, Zero makes me feel even better! I am privileged to have a friendship like this. I love her very much, and I think she loves me. Zero is an angel in my life. She’s my hero.”

About the Author

Able online

Hi, I’m Able the Casual Day mascot and ambassador for disability. I encourage you to see the ABILITY in people and not the dis-ABILITY. We’re all able, we can all live our fullest lives if the barriers are removed. Join me each year, on the first Friday of September and raise funds to support organisations that render services in the field of disability. This year Casual Day falls on Friday, 7 September. Your donation of R10 for a sticker makes a difference and improves lives all across South Africa.

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