A FEW years ago, a small black-and-white terrier called Pipi moved in next door to us in Bedford Ave. The only trouble was, both her owners worked and Pipi had to go on the chain all day, which she didn't much like.

Pipi looked like she might have had a touch of Staffy in her. Something about her shifty sideways glances and her muscular shoulders and thighs didn't seem 100 per cent Fox Terrier.

While still a pup, she developed a taste for feathers and, before we became her primary caregivers, she had dispatched several chooks and a parrot with one wing named Leftie who once lived at Mount Desert.

Dogs do something called "frenetic random activity generation", to burn off excess energy, which she has in abundance. One outlet was "creative running", devising different circuits through the jungle we called a garden and then down to the river to check if anything edible had washed up with the latest tide.


Once or twice she has managed to pluck a bird out of mid-air, adding a thrush and a white-eye to her list of avian kill.

We have had dogs in the past, but travelling and pets don't go together.

"If we ever get another dog I'd get one like this," I said in an unguarded moment after Pipi had convinced us to let her off the chain, again, and soon afterwards she had moved her kennel next door to our front yard where she could keep an eye on the street at night.

Soon Pipi was venturing further afield, in the ute, adding a duck, one Californian quail hen, two bantams and a family of guinea pigs to her kill tally. Lately I have started channelling her natural instincts into guarding the vegetable garden at our piece of land up the river from the flock of peacocks lurking in the forest nearby -- a job she takes very seriously.

Dogs are pack animals and suffer from separation anxiety when left on their own, so when we started packing up to move house, she started looking a little nervous.

She consoled herself by sitting on the footpath next to the SOLD sign and being told what a lovely dog she was and how much she will be missed by the regular passers-by. She is adapting well to her new home up the river. The stars are brighter at night and her creative running includes wild zig-zags in the moonlight following a trail on dewy grass.

She misses her socialising on the street at Bedford Ave and even misses being stalked by Mittens, the black-and-white cat at 51.

The Pipster's kennel was the last thing to move. She now has a view of mature kanuka trees, where she watches moreporks come and perch at night.

When Fred Frederikse is not building, he is a self-directed student of geography and traveller. In his spare time he is co-chairman of the Whanganui Musicians' Club.