Beach bums

In the previous post I mentioned the special relationship between man and dogs, the reciprocal aspect of that relationship. Whilst walking on a splendid beach near Khao Lak, in Thailand, we encountered a group of about 6 dogs who seemed to have carved out a different kind of life.

4-dogsThey obviously formed a group – I hesitate to use the word ‘pack’, as that implies a strict hierarchy, which I’m not sure was present here – and they displayed quite aggressive behaviour towards casual passers-by. Growling and barking when someone ventured a little too close for their liking. How independent were they? They looked well-fed, probably thanks to the many restaurants scattered around the area. But rather than attaching themselves to a particular place (the method many dogs in Dahab have adopted), this gang seemed to value their slightly compromised freedom. 4-dogsa

As you can see from  these pictures, the dogs were constantly alert, protecting, I felt, their hard fought way of life. This deserves our admiration and respect.



We spent some time in Sydney in December.
In Mosman, one of the suburbs, we came across a statue of a dog.



There is a plaque, and this is what it says:


1959 -1978

For 17 years, Billy was a familiar figure in Mosman as he went on the daily rounds beside his master, a street sweeper with Mosman council.

When he died, dog lovers decided to perpetuate his memory.

This statue is a gift to the people of Mosman as a reminder of the reliance of animals on man and the debt mankind owes to animals.


Below this, there is another plaque:

Cliff “Inky” Williams

1922 – 2004

A lifetime Mosman resident, Inky worked for the Mosman council for nearly 30 years as a manual street sweeper and was Billy’s master.

After service with the 2/33 infantry battalion in World War II Inky made a substantial contribution to community life in Mosman.


I was struck by that line about the reliance of animals and the debt incurred by man. It is a symbiotic relationship between man and dog, isn’t it? And we, as owners, have a pretty good deal: provide food, shelter and cuddles, and in return you get unreserved devotion. And no criticism. Ever. It’s a unique relationship that, say, an alien from another planet, or Donald Trump, would find hard to understand.

It’s good to remind ourselves how lucky we, as dog-owners, really are.


Puppy beach, Sydney