11 July 2013

Adventures With A Dog - Part Four

In 1950 we moved from Kaponga to Hornby, on the southern edge of Christchurch and of course Chum came too.  I was now about twelve and the adventures were bigger for me.  Once with Chum I headed off over to Banks Peninsula beyond Gebbies Pass.  There were more battles with possums.  But my interests in mountain climbing and sport on weekends often meant that my hunting mate stayed at home. But he did accompany us on several picnic ventures into the foothills and other places such as Hanmer. 


Dad and Chum at Hanmer
Back in Hornby he would wander off each morning to attend to his toiletries.  Sometimes he would not come home for several days.  We started by worrying about his absences but once we found out that someone's bitch was on heat we relaxed.  He'd come home filthy and exhausted. He'd sleep for days after such activities. I was about to reach the age where I empathised with his instincts.

John and Chum at Hornby


My sister, Karen, recalls a time when Chum went missing on a family holiday (I wasn't there) to Queenstown. After much searching he was found stuck in a stormwater drain.  Maybe a rabbit had preceded him up the drain! After some hours my father found a way to get him out amid great family celebration.  Poor Chum was happily wagging his tail to show his appreciation of his rescue from the dark when a great big Samoyed dog ran up and started savaging him.  It had not been his day.


Finally I left home to study in Australia.  It was while I was in Australia that my mother wrote to say that Chum had died.  He'd been hit by a car one wet night.  He recovered from the accident but developed pneumonia from the wet night lying in the rain. Reading my mothers letter thousands of miles from home a flood of memories returned – it was hard not to let a tear roll. I conducted a private wake of my own.