Story and Pix by Chris Marais
It’s true. You can ask John Donaldson.
Some years ago, the Richmond bookshop man and a buddy were late-night carousing down a dirt road in the Nieu-Bethesda area when his little mixed-grill of a dog, the aptly named Potlood (Pencil) hopped up from the back seat and nipped him sharply on the left shoulder.
Shocked to his core, John pulled his old sedan over and stopped. Just then, a large herd of kudu crossed the road in a rush, right in front of the vehicle.
“If Potlood hadn’t bitten me, we would have been finished off by the kudu,” he says.
They drove on in shocked and newly-sober silence. Not 30 minutes later, Potlood bit him again. John stopped the car. Another herd of kudu crossed. Weird things happen in the Karoo after dark.
In time, John returned the favour. One day they went for a ramble around Richmond and ventured into a pit bull’s territory. The gate was open and Potlood began looking for love in all the wrong places.
“I plucked him from the jaws of death just in time,” says John.
He came to Potlood’s rescue once more. They were out in the veld, and Potlood stood on a gin trap normally used for jackals and lynx. John released the doughty dog before any serious damage could occur.
So now the life-saving score between John Donaldson and Potlood stands at two-all.