Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The dog in the outback

The place of the dog in the outback, that great friend of man, was most recently centre-stage with the success of the movie Red Dog. Why do we relate so well to stories of mateship between a man (or woman) and their dog? Perhaps it's that we all want friendship. We want someone, or a dog, to choose us as their respected companion.

Dogs often feature in Peter's writing, and I happen to know he has two great doggie mates in his life at the moment.

In this story called simply 'The Pup', the harsh realities of a dog's potentially short life in the outback are explored:

"This particular 'day of rest' seemed to be much longer than others I remember, but I was well aware that the pup's life hinged on getting some indication of his worth as a working dog. Maybe, some would think, I could just take the pup out into the bush and leave him, much like some city folk do when their Christmas present pup becomes a bit of a problem. If I was silly enough to do that, and so increase the wild dog population, I would never be welcome, or find work, in the Outback again.   Something that I reckoned equal to an "Unforgivable Sin"... whatever that is. 

I was getting a bit nervous about this whole the responsibility that I had in a duty of care for being a dog owner. Was I going to be strong enough to fulfil the law of the bush and dispatch the pup, which is a polite way of saying shooting him, or would some miracle happen, and he would show signs of being worth the money and effort to suddenly become "Pup—The Wonder Dog". I didn't think so, but I did have one more try at proving his usefulness."

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