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In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:04 am Unread post
The pet cemetry got me thinking to the role that dogs and other animals have played in the development of the Park. As I write a group of specialy trained Fox hounds are being prepared to take on poachers. I would like this to be a testament to all those brave and loyal little creatures who have given their lives to protecting, or servicing the Park.

James Stevenson Hamilton realised in his very earliest days that dogs were needed to protect livestock, horses and donkeys from the many predators. Aquiring a good pack of dogs was an essential part of being a ranger.

On my favourite, though poignant stories concerns the first justice of the peace in the Park. Tim Healy was a very likable young Irishman who took up the position with gusto. His favourite dog was Mary. She suffered from heat stroke on a patrol one day. Healy carried her back 10kms to camp, but despite his best efforts she died.

Healy was besides himself with grief. Stevenson Hamilton reports that he made his black rangers stay up all night for a proper Irish wake and she was buried with all the suitable wailing to go with the loss of a loved one. (I can only imagine what his rangers must have thought).

He then placed a "tombstone" incribing her name and date of death. "In loving memory" it stated. Later this was taken by some visitors to be the grave of a child.

Sadly, Healy himself died young in the first world war. He left a very young widow and a son, "John".
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Re: In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:50 am Unread post
What a sad story! Indeed a dog can be like a child to a person


Re: In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:58 am Unread post
Anabel, indeed.

The rangers needed to keep many dogs in the early days. Many were lost to snakes, crocs and of course sickness.

One of the most eccentric early rangers was Alexander Frazer, a crusty Scot.. I know a few crusty Scots :hmz: . I come from a line of crusty Scots :whistle: I strongly suspect that he was dyslexic. He refused to write anything and when once left in charge, left a legacy of chaos.

He hated people, in particular women and loved his dogs and whiskey... in no particular order. He was known to have as many as 28 dogs at a time.

There is the story told by Harry Wolhuter and Stevenson Hamilton of his strange habits. Harry Wolhuter once had to stay over at his camp for the night. It was winter and rather cold. Frazer gave Wolhuter one of his blankets and his bed. As the temperature dropped, Wolhuter felt that he needed a more substantial cover than one blanket.

He went to ask Frazer for another blanket and found Frazer covered by all his dogs and sleeping on the floor. It seems that he had given his only blanket to Wolhuter. It was not unusual for him to sleep covered and kept warm by his many dogs.

There is a lovely picture of Frazer in James Stevenson Hamilton's "South African Eden", where he is indeed surrounded by many, many dogs.


Re: In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

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Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:05 am Unread post
Poachers used dogs as well as the rangers. Harry Wolhuter would often have to shoot their packs as they were too often starved and covered with mange. Every so often he would spare a dog's life if he felt the dog had potential and could be an asset to his own pack.

One dog in particular took his fancy. He was intelligent, fearless and an asset to the pack. This dog would however continually break away and find his way home to his original owner. This was despite the conditions close to starvation and lack of any comforts.

Such is the loyalty of dogs.


Re: In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

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Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:30 am Unread post
Thank you for these canine tales from the past, MM. Fascinating indeed :thumbs_up:


Re: In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

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Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:21 pm Unread post
MM thank you for telling us this great Kruger story. I enjoy listening to Kruger stories and this one especially - about Mary


Re: In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

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Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:20 pm Unread post
Thank you MM, do you have any more stories?
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