A Pig Dog Tale

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Location: Bargara, Queensland.

A Pig Dog Tale

Post by thestoryteller » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:18 am


Though I live in Bargara these days, I still have strong ties with Goondiwindi my place of birth. Many of my mother's family still live there as well as my eldest son Shane, his wife Kate and their daughter Danielle. My wife Chris and I called in after the Tamworth Festival in 1997 and spent some time with them before heading home.

One afternoon Shane and I were talking in the lounge room about this and that, when the subject of peer pressure came up.
"You know lad," I said, "when I was a young fella your peers judged you on how good a ute you had. Mag wheels were all the go and one had to have a fox tail hanging from the car aerial. Brylcream was for the dags as Californian Poppy was all the go. The sheilas went mad over it.

"Well it's all changed now dad," he replied," your peers out here these days judge you on how good a pig dog you've got."
"Pig dog," I replied, feeling a little taken back from the comment.
"Yes, dad, how good a pig dog you've got."
Suddenly in through the door, like he'd been waiting for the cue, came this big lump of a dog.
"This is Tiger dad, the best pig dog in Goondiwindi."

For the next hour the young fella heaped accolades on this great lump of a dog called Tiger and begged me to go out pigging with him so as he could show me just how smart a dog he was. I tried to fob him off with excuses, but failed miserably and come Saturday afternoon we were in the young fella's ute heading out to the Common.

There was a large gully that ran down to the McIntyre and it was covered with lignum bush, a favourite haunt for pigs. We pulled up and grabbed a few sugar bags from the back of the ute. They came in handy if you caught a pig, as you could push the pig inside the bag and tie it off and leave it beside a tree until you picked it up on the way back. The lad called Tiger and he responded immediately by jumping out of the ute and racing around in circles, ears pricked and tail wagging all over the place.

Bags in tow, we followed Tiger, who headed off down along the gully sniffing and poking his nose in the air, as if he'd found a pig already. Suddenly, up ahead, Tiger raced in under a lignum bush and thirty seconds later he came racing back and sat himself down in front of the lad in a begging stance with one paw pointing in the direction of the lignum bush.

"What's wrong with the dog?" I asked the lad "seems to be acting a bit queer ain't he?"
"No dad, there's nothing wrong with him, he's just smart. He's trying to tell us there's one pig in there."
"Get out with you," I sarcastically replied.
"No dad, there'll be one pig in there for sure. Get on him Tiger!"

The young dog never hesitated and flew in under the lignum bush and within a matter of seconds you could hear a pig squealing from within. Sure enough, upon investigation, Tiger had one pig bailed up. Before long we had it in a sugar bag and left it under a gum tree ready to be picked up on the way back.
"See what I mean dad. He sure is a smart dog."
Not totally convinced I followed as Tiger set off along the gully once more.

A few minutes later we approached another lignum bush and Tiger was off once more. He was only under the bush for a moment or two when he came racing back and sat in a begging stance once more in front of the lad, this time with both paws facing in the direction of the bush.
Amazed at the dog's antics I wasn't about to give in to the obvious and remarked,
"You don't expect me to believe he's telling us there are two pigs in that bush. Do you boy?"
"Too right dad," he replied. "I told you he was a smart dog. Get on them Tiger!" The dog immediately obeyed and flew in under the bush.

Within seconds you could hear this pig squealing and upon investigating we found him doing battle with it. After a bit of a struggle and finally pushing it in the bag I realised he'd only caught one.
"I thought you said there'd be two pigs in here," I sarcastically hinted.
I could hear another pig squealing. There was no doubt about it, Tiger had a second pig bailed up and before long we had him in a sugar bag and lying next to its mate.

It was hard to ignore that Tiger's tally was now three pigs and I was slowly succumbing to the fact that he was indeed a very smart dog. Then up ahead of us the gully ran into the McIntyre and along the banks was the biggest patch of lignum I had ever seen. Young Tiger never hesitated though and flew in under the bush as if he had great expectations on his mind. He was out of sight for about two minutes, when suddenly he came screaming out of the bush with his tail between his legs and making mournful yells Iike a dingo giving birth to a reaping hook.

He raced over towards a large gum tree and picked up a stick in his mouth and began poking his head all over the place and racing 'round and 'round the tree. He had me beat and by the look on the young fella’s face he was dumbstruck as well.
"What the hell's up with the dog boy?" I queried, as I watched him carrying out his mad antics 'round the tree.
"Dunno dad," replied the lad, "I've never seen him go on like this before."

Determined to solve the mystery we began creeping up to the bush and crawled in under to see what had sent the dog stark raving mad. About three metres in we were suddenly besieged by a rush of wild pigs. They went clean over the top of us and underneath us, squealing and kicking as they went. Totally bewildered by the whole fiasco, we finally began to compose ourselves, scratching the pig dung out of our hair and wiping the bristles off our clothes.

As we scrambled back out of the bush the first thing that came to my attention was that mad dog with that stick in his mouth poking his head all over the place and still running 'round and 'round the tree. I just sat there at the entrance to the bush for a while, meditating on why the hell Tiger was going on like he was. Then it suddenly hit me.
"You know lad," I said to the boy, "that Tiger is smarter than you think he is."
"What do you mean dad?" the lad replied, quite bewildered by the whole ordeal.
"You know, when he came racing out of that lignum bush and picked up that stick in his mouth and began poking his head all about the place, running 'round and 'round that tree. Well, he was trying to tell you something."
"You reckon. Just what was he trying to tell me then?"
"Boy," I replied. "He was trying to tell you that there were more pigs in there than you could poke a stick at!"

From the book A Muster of Verse and Yarns.
Some days your the pidgeon and other days the statue.

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Maureen K Clifford
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Location: Ipswich - Paul Pisasale country and home of the Ipswich Poetry Feast

Re: A Pig Dog Tale

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:24 am

You had me sucked in for quite a while with this one :lol:
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -

I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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Location: Bargara, Queensland.

Re: A Pig Dog Tale

Post by thestoryteller » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:09 pm

G'day Maureen.

Keith Garvey was a great yarn spinner and poet and my original Mentor I guess.

Every one has their own way of telling a tale or retelling one.

I guess over the years I've created, from a known situation, a tale and then added a little imagination.

Always been fun to share in our show a variety of bush verse, ballads and yarns.

Thanks for sharing.

Some days your the pidgeon and other days the statue.

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