Born on 12 September 1922, this year my loving father would have turned 100. No greater man have I ever known.
A FATHER'S LOVE FOR ANIMALS
I was born in Salisbury (Harare) in the former Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). I grew up in the country surrounded by animals. My dad was a race horse owner/trainer. He also competed in the popular carriage drawn trotting races.
For 30 years he was the devoted Chairman of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
SHADOWED BY WAR
My childhood was shadowed by the Rhodesian Bush War although we as children were for the most part blissfully unaware. Traveling in a convoy was somewhat of a thrill especially as young teens who ogled over the boyish good looks of the youthful uniformed soldiers.
The war saw a change in where we lived; we moved into the suburbs and the horses were then stabled elsewhere. As the war intensified, my father’s work at the kennels exploded. Daily rescues poured in and I was always at his side assisting with the feeding and care.
Time and space were limited and it broke both our hearts when the animals were on death row. There was only a predetermined time they could stay and if they couldn’t be re-homed, they were to be put to sleep, euthanized.
And so it began, at least once a week my dad and I would arrive home with another scruffy little mongrel for my dear old mum to take care of. We used to giggle between us that we collected animals like others collected postage stamps. We even managed to overpopulate the stable yard with a small herd of rescued donkeys!
I AM WHO I AM ....
In conclusion, I want to thank you daddy. Without me even being aware of it, I followed directly in your footsteps and your love of animals oozes out of me every day.
Although you’ve been gone 27 years, I am reminded of you daily in all that I do.
Your loving sidekick