Saturday, 4 February 2012

Vale Chief - White Wolf of the West

We lost our dog today. Well, lost seems the wrong word - he shuffled off the mortal coil courtesy of a vet's needle after an agonising decline in his health - but that certainly is how it feels to us. We have lost him. He is gone. Our dear friend is no more.

As dogs go he was, of course, extraordinary, marvellous, perceptive, affectionate and loyal to a fault.

He was handsome as well, with his striking white coat and regal bearing.

He was pretty much every kind of wonderful.

So we think it's fitting that Chief, the great white wolf of the west (West of Sydney, that is), gets a mention on this blog.

He joined us on countless adventures chasing reports of big cats, yowies and spectres. He famously roamed the abandoned cells of Maitland Gaol and scared a posse of ghosthunters (yes, almost to death!). Not to mention countless bushwalks, stints on construction sites and in offices, stays in hotel rooms (rather sneakily - but he was a tidy dog), and many, many road trips.

He was a well-known face in our town, and even earned the nickname The White Wolf from some neighbours and council workers who found him every bit as terrifying as White Fang!

He had no tolerance for shopping, as was evidenced one day when his mistress left him sitting in the car for five minutes, windows down. When those five minutes turned into six he shuffled himself into the driver's seat, lifted his paw and proceeded to honk the horn every few seconds until his red-faced owner was alerted and hurried back to take him home!

Chief was no stranger to the media, having featured in several local newspapers, gracing a gardening column as a fuzzy cuter-than-cute puppy, and as a big dog the news pages of a regional daily for Bring Your Dog to Work Day. Hey, if your dog was a fantastic as ours, you'd be using any excuse to bring him to work!

Chief even featured in the pages of men's magazine Ralph accompanying some nocturnal yowiehunters - his 50kg form straining at the leash in a wildly atmospheric photo, looking every inch the wild wolf he no doubt aspired to be in his doggy dreams.

Anyway, he was our dog. He was a great dog. We'll miss him desperately. But we will also treasure some very wonderful memories.

It seems fitting to also post here Rudyard Kipling's famous poem, The Power of the Dog.

Read it and weep. We did.

There is sorrow enough in the natural way 
From men and women to fill our day; 
And when we are certain of sorrow in store, 
Why do we always arrange for more? 
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware 
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy 
Love unflinching that cannot lie-- 
Perfect passsion and worship fed 
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head. 
Nevertheless it is hardly fair 
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits 
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits, 
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs 
To lethal chambers or loaded guns, 
Then you will find--it's your own affair-- 
But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear. 

When the body that lived at your single will, 
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!) 
When the spirit that answered your every mood 
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good, 
You will discover how much you care, 
And will give your heart to a dog to tear. 

We've sorrow enough in the natural way, 
When it comes to burying Christian clay. 
Our loves are not given, but only lent, 
At compound interest of cent per cent. 
Though it is not always the case, I believe, 
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve: 
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong, 
A short-term loan is as bad as a long-- 
So why in--Heaven (before we are there) 
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

1 comment:

  1. A few people have asked us about Chief's breed - he was a White Swiss Shepherd aka a white German Shepherd (without the sloping rear-end so prevalent in the breed today). A very eye-catching breed of dog, but unfortunately not immune to the degenerative conditions that plague so many large breeds of dog - conditions that could easily be bred out if more breeders took the time to properly test for certain diseases.



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