Natural- born nurturers
FOR regular Mercury readers, the name John R. Wilson of Daisy Dell is easily recognisable as a constant correspondent to the paper and a great advocate for the Tasmanian wilderness.
So I felt privileged he took the time to write to me about his 12- year- old long- haired white chihuahua Jessie.
Now, John, you didn’t just pluck the name Jessie out of thin air, did you?
Jessie is named after a Hobart resident I much admired, Jessie Luckman ( who passed away recently).
Jessie was a centenarian, conservationist, fi ne concert pianist and also the fi rst woman known to have climbed Federation Peak.
Like Mrs Luckman, my little dog has shown no fear of heights – or anything, to be honest – which is great, given my partner Peter and I live on a private nature reserve at Daisy Dell surrounded by native wildlife.
So Jessie has no qualms with the other native inhabitants around you?
Well, when she came into our lives 12 years ago, we had only just started building our abode, Ike’s Hut, at the reserve and were living in an open air tent on site.
As a pup, Jessie would wait up every night to be entertained by possums, wallabies, quolls and young devils. We would feed the wildlife at night by the campfi re so they visited regularly.
I guess she was accepted straight away by all the animals – even the top predators. Back then she was as small as a laboratory mouse, but despite this we have witnessed her touch noses with a spotted- tailed quoll and even play joyously with mischievous young red- eared Tasmanian devils.
After 12 years of Jessie interacting with the landscape and native wildlife, one story must stand out…
Yes, it was a day not so long ago when we were walking and Jessie suddenly stopped in her tracks and pointed to something in the bushes.
It was a young wallaby that had got one of its legs tangled in a barbed wire fence and was hanging upside down, exhausted but alive.
The poor thing had tangled itself so badly we needed to rush home and get pliers to release it, and even then it was an effort.
We took it home in a blanket and put it on a woolly rug by the fi re to warm up and rest.
Without any ado, Jessie hopped in next to our little patient and kept it company all afternoon, licking its face and being licked back in return.
That evening, after it had recuperated, we released it back into the bush.
What’s great about having Jessie?
I suppose it is the character of the relationship between a dog and master that determines a dog’s predisposition and behaviour towards others.
In this respect, Jessie and I have developed a very close affi nity over the years and we understand and communicate with each other very well. We share many interests, including the welfare of the outside world and the wildlife in it.