Saturday, October 9, 2010
The best dog in the world
On a camping trip many years ago we were camped just outside an outback town in the north of South Australia.
Desert country, and hard to imagine that anything really lives out here...though ‘live’ might be too hard a word, ‘survive’ might suit better.
But survive they do, camels, pigs, kangaroo, emu, rabbit and for our purposes…Goats.
We were on a two week shooting trip to cull as many ferrel goats as we could. Everyday was spent hunting them by 4WD where possible but up hill and down gorge by foot where necessary. As you can imagine that can be quite tiring, especially after a few days of it. So it was that we were in town at the local watering hole, The Transcontinental.
Downing a few beers after a long hot day is good for you, don’t you know!
The most valuable member of our team sat tied in the back of the 4WD, ‘Blue’ the Red Healer dog.
It was Blue that ran the ridges to scare the goats down, it was Blue that runs along the gullies to keep them from escaping into the next hill, and this he did without a word from us. Wherever he was needed ‘Blue’ was there right on time, every time. He shared our food, water, fire and beds.
Inside the pub, the drinking continued. Inside the pub, the gullies got deeper and the hills became higher.
Soon enough the talk came to ‘Blue’ , and that he was, of course, the smartest dog that ever lived….
Graham, the publican disagreed. He felt for sure that he had the better dog.
‘Bouncer’ was clearly the best dog in the district, and any man that knew him would attest…
Our side held the ground for ‘Blue’…words were spoken, veiled threats were made, a wager struck and before I had any idea what was going on, we were out in the car park, beers in hand to sort this out the way drunken men do in Australia.
Terry went to our 4WD, untied ‘Blue’ and gave the command.
“Go Blue, Tucker time!”
The dog barked, wagged his tail and scampered off into the darkness. It was back in a few minutes with a mouthful of twigs, which it piled on the ground. Then, using his front paws he rubbed the twigs together until they burst into flame.
With another bark, the dog bounded into the back of the 4WD and grabbed a Billy between his teeth. He scampered down to the creek and returned to put the full Billy on the fire.
“There!” said Terry. “What d’ya think of that, then?”
Between swigs of beer Graham slurred
“Not bad, not bad at all, but he’s not good enough to beat ‘Bouncer.”
And so saying, Graham untied Bouncer from his place under the pub steps.
“Go Bouncer, Brew time!”
The dog easily repeated ‘Blues’ performance, fetching wood, lighting a fire and getting a Billy full of water from the creek.
But it did more,.. and we assembled drinkers applauded as ‘Bouncer’, having put the Billy on to boil, shot off to the publicans chicken coop and grabbed a new-laid egg, which it gently popped into the Billy.
And then, to everyone’s astonishment (except the publican’s) he stood on his head, his back legs waving in the air.
We were amazed and drank more beer to celebrate.
“What’s he doing that for?” Terry demanded.
“Like I told ya,” said the publican. “Bouncer’s an intelligent dog. He knows I broke my eggcup this morning….”