“Afraid of Nothing on the Face of the Earth or Under It…”

The piece below struck a cord with me. The dog is of no specific breed but is called a “snake dog” by author Henry Lawson.  Life was a different life then, tough people, tough dogs. Both have lost something since. For a photo representation, I spent considerable time looking for a black bull arab but wasn’t successful. So I pulled Pedro off gamedogshistory.com (coincidentally listed as belonging to “Snakeman”). Of course, Pedro is a working bred pit bull rather than a hybrid pooch. But between the heavy chain, black color and scarred face, I felt he might be a suitable representation. As well, the name “Alligator” is not uncommon in old game dog circles. I’m going to explore more Lawson.  I love Aussies and this tough frontier stuff!  Enjoy!

At the same time the big, black, yellow-eyed dog-of-all-breeds, who has shown the wildest interest in the proceedings, breaks his chain and rushes after that snake. He is a moment late, however, and his nose reaches the crack in the slabs just as the end of its tail disappears. Almost at the same moment the boy’s club comes down and skins the aforesaid nose. Alligator takes small notice of this, and proceeds to undermine the building; but he is subdued after a struggle and chained up. They cannot afford to lose him…

The fire is burning low. Alligator lies with his head resting on his paws, and watches the wall. He is not a very beautiful dog, and the light shows numerous old wounds where the hair will not grow. He is afraid of nothing on the face of the earth or under it. He will tackle a bullock as readily as he will tackle a flea. He hates all other dogs—except kangaroo-dogs—and has a marked dislike to friends or relations of the family…

Occasionally a bushman in the horrors, or a villainous-looking sundowner, comes and nearly scares the life out of her. She generally tells the suspicious-looking stranger that her husband and two sons are at work below the dam, or over at the yard, for he always cunningly inquires for the boss.

Only last week a gallows-faced swagman—having satisfied himself that there were no men on the place—threw his swag down on the veranda, and demanded tucker. She gave him something to eat; then he expressed his intention of staying for the night. It was sundown then. She got a batten from the sofa, loosened the dog, and confronted the stranger, holding the batten in one hand and the dog’s collar with the other. “Now you go!” she said. He looked at her and at the dog, said “All right, mum,” in a cringing tone, and left. She was a determined-looking woman, and Alligator’s yellow eyes glared unpleasantly—besides, the dog’s chawing-up apparatus greatly resembled that of the reptile he was named after.”

– paraphrased from The Drovers Wife short story in While the Billy Boils, by Henry Lawson

GR CH Snakeman's Pedro
GR CH Snakeman’s Pedro

 

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