With Heritage Day happening this month, we thought we’d take a look back and remember a fearless Staffie that every South African child wanted as their pet. Americans have Lassie, and we have Jock of the Bushveld.
A bedtime classic, the story of Jock and his owner captured the hearts and minds of kids, not just here at home, but the world over. First published in 1907, the book is a collection of true stories that author, Percy Fitzpatrick told his four children about his travels in the old Transvaal with Jock, his Staffordshire Bull Terrier . And, although not the strongest in his litter at birth, the book showcases how Jock eventually lived up to his name and grew into a brave and fiercely loyal companion that accompanied Percy on a number of adventures.
One such adventure, and probably one of the most memorable moments in the book, took place during one of the pair’s many hunting expeditions. Percy had just shot a kudu bull and watched as Jock tried to take the massive creature down. It was an epic battle between the two animals that showed the immense lengths Jock went to to show his loyalty to Percy.
As a whole, the book is a truly unforgettable tale of a man’s love for his dog, and highlights the undeniably strong, emotional bond that we can develop with out pets and that they develop with us. On a deeper level, Jock’s story also shows us how our Dogs can form part of our family and, therefore, are key characters in our own life stories.
This particular one has been told for over a hundred years and is a fond part of the childhood memories of millions of South Africans. So while your having a braai this Heritage Day, cheers to our history and to the nation’s favourite Staffie.