Here at Jock Dog Food, we know that dogs can do some incredible things. But even we were surprised to learn of a dog that’s part of the construction crew at the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) in Cape Town. So, naturally, we had to put our noses to the ground and sniff out more.
Buckaroo, or Buc as he is known to his fellow workers, is a 4-year old Belgian Shepherd, and got his start in construction about 3 years ago when his owner, Paul Edgecome, who is a surveyor on the site, started bringing him to work. Although initially wary of his new surroundings and colleagues, Buc quickly warmed up to the crew and was soon recognised as a valuable member of the team. In fact, Buc has become so comfortable on site that he even accompanies crew members up the scaffolding and lifts.
How it all began
Paul has been taking dogs to work with him since the late 80s and met Buckaroo about 3 years ago when he was looking for a younger dog to accompany him. Up until that point the job belonged to Lupie, a 12-year old Belgian Shepherd, who had to be retired due to old age.
Paul found Buc at the SPCA and the two hit it off immediately. Buc’s friendly and approachable nature made him a shoo-in for the job and soon he was accompanying Paul on site, dressed in his own construction vest.
The new job
Buc’s first day on the job did not go as smoothly as expected. Not only did he have to deal with new surroundings and loud noises, but there were also many unfamiliar faces on the construction site. “When we started work, a crew member walked past and Buc barked at him,” remembers Paul of that day. “I asked the guy to pat Buc and say ‘good morning’. It worked and the word soon spread on site. Now he is greeted and patted regularly, and he has many friends.”
It’s been 3 years since that first day and now Buc is seen as another member of the team. And just like everyone else, he’s also got a job to do.
As with all the other dogs that have accompanied Paul to work over the years, Buc’s main responsibility is to guard Paul’s equipment. But that doesn’t mean he can’t squeeze in a nap or two. “If I’m working in my office, Buc likes to sleep under my desk,” says Paul. “But when I’m on site, he’ll follow me around until I set up my instrument and will find a suitable spot to lie down and supervise from. If I walk away, he stays with my equipment.”
It’s tough, sometimes
Like with most jobs, Buc’s role does come with its own set of problems. Working on a construction site means that there is a lot of noise for him to deal with, which can become overwhelming at times. In the beginning, Paul used to make Buc wear earmuffs when the noise level became too much, but Buc didn’t like it and would often remove them himself.
Now Buc simply heads to Paul’s office when he can’t stand the noise. And if he can’t open the door with his paw, he’ll nudge someone nearby to open it for him.
When it comes to sustaining any injuries, Buc has been very good at avoiding them. In fact, in all his years working on site with Paul, he’s only broken a nail.
Off the clock
When the weekend hits, Buc loves heading out into the mountains for a nice long walk. He is also a fantastic swimmer and enjoys cooling off in the dam close to his home in Noordhoek. And when a beach day is on the cards, Buc always makes the most of it.
Something tells us that when Monday morning comes around, Buc approaches it with the same enthusiasm. Now, if only he could teach us that.
Construction Site Image Source – World Architecture News