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A Century Old Daddy

Born on 12 September 1922, today 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.

Death row

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!

Just daddy

Apart from animals, my father had a love for golf. Every Sunday come rain or shine I would walk the course with him.

He always had his pipe in the corner of his mouth. It was his signature piece!

In his quiet time he loved to read. Wilbur Smith was his favorite author and I now know why. The Courtney family series, early settlers in South Africa, is a fascinating true read on the country’s history. There are nineteen novels in the series. I only started this year but I am totally engrossed and see now why my father loved these books.

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 <3

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jessie

    Thank you so much for this beautiful story you told over your father.  It’s so nice to see that people had parents that taught them good values, especially over animals.  I can see you have a deep love for your pets, and animals in general.  Your father did a great job raising you and teaching you those values.

    1. Alison

      Jessie once again thanks for your lovely comment 🙂

  2. JarieLyn

    What a great post and tribute to your dad.  He was quite handsome, by the way.  Those photos are amazing to look at.  I love that you and your dad had a special bond over animals and giggled when you brought another one home.  Thanks for sharing a little personal history with your readers and celebrating what would have been your dad’s 100th birthday.

  3. Parameter

    Kindly accept my condolence. I lost my father last year May and I must say its been my greatest lost in my 44 years of living on planet heart. My father was my best friend, he taught me all I know. Although we did not have animals around us growing up, but he was a man of love. He taught me to love, he taught me to love and to celebrate. We cannot always have them around for ever. It hurts when the go, but we have the responsibility of passing same love to our children.

  4. Stratos K

    I love reading such personal stories. Your dad seems that he was an amazing person. Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s always good to remember our parents and what they have done for us, their children. Memory is the best we have of them. I would love to read more of this.

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