10th February 2009
As I read back through these rambles I realise that there is one from the cast of characters who is not getting air time in proportion to the impact he has had on our lives. That would be because he is now over one hundred years old in human terms and is understandably in retirement. Of course I am talking about Pep.
So in order to rectify this oversight I thought I would bring you a few of his past exploits, and he can take his fame and strut it before the other dogs as he ignores them on his morning rounds and cocks his leg on their kennels – dressed in his pyjamas. Let’s head back to 1995:
It was a typical Pilbara day: oven hot with cloudless, pale blue skies and I was driving around the Roebourne Plains in my work vehicle with Pep doing the supervising.
What was not typical was that Mum and Dad were with me and this was a bit of a tourist day; my parents were keen to see what I actually did out here as an exploration geologist.
I stopped the Landcruiser (because real geologists only drive Toyota Landcruisers) in an old copper mining area and we piled out. Well the humans piled out; Pep took off running as soon as I opened the door. He had spotted a kangaroo from his vantage point on the front seat and was off for the hunt. As soon as his feet hit the ground he lost sight of the roo, the grass being well above his head, but that barely dinted his enthusiasm.
Not overly concerned about the canine, Mum, Dad and I poked about the area looking for good rocks. We came across a mineshaft about 10 metres deep and were admiring the green copper-bearing ore when Pep burst panting through the grass and into empty space above the shaft.
For a moment it appeared he was suspended there like a cartoon character, feet paddling uselessly in the air, and then momentum carried him forward enough to enact a “spiral of death” around the walls and to the bottom of the shaft. It was like watching him go down a plug-hole.
Mum, Dad & I peered into the depths and when the dust settled there was a small black animal sitting on the bottom of the shaft wearing an expression that said “Oh shit – I’ve done it this time”.
Bloody dog. What was I going to do now?
Inside the vehicle was a hard hat and plenty of rope. Outside the vehicle was a sturdy bull-bar and a father. The hat went on my head, the rope around my waist and through the bull-bar to Dad’s strong hands. Then he lowered me over the edge and to the bottom of the shaft. Pep was mighty glad to see me and I have to admit I was quite relieved to get to him.
I then tied the rope around Pep and as I threw him skywards Dad pulled on the rope. The dog was free. Great, but I was still at the bottom of a mineshaft.
After several jokes about the merits of having daughters, the rope was duly re-lowered and re-attached to my waist. Then using the bull-bar as a pulley Dad heaved and I climbed and eventually I too was free.
Pep supervised. Bloody dog.