Taura and Mo helping to setout
Dassenberg in Noordhoek
Taura and her two boys Kalib checking the bolts at Consol Glass

A short history of my dogs on site

In the early years of Edgeworks Survey’s existence, most of the work undertaken was either on farms or in Townships. Taking a dog with me was never a problem. The dogs loved arriving at a new place and smelling all the new smells.

Taura was my first working dog. She was a Belgian Shepherd – Tervuren. I bought her as a pup in 1987. She loved hunting and spent her day digging for moles or chasing field mice. Mo, my Mother’s Spaniel was Taura’s best friend. Occasionally Mo would join us and the two of them would deploy a team effort to catch moles. I didn’t ever see them catch one, but they enjoyed themselves trying. Unfortunately Mo had the habit of rolling in anything that stank and snacking on it.

Taura had two pups, Kalib and Joshua. They were given to family members, but after a year Kalib was returned because he was too much to handle. He was a very big male. Kalib collected tortoises, while I worked and I had to make sure he didn’t eat them. He was very poor at judging good and evil. If he was surprised, he attacked. A few people nearly lost their testicles for approaching me too quietly, or innocently walking passed. This wasn’t good for client relations or for Dogs on site. His survey career was limited.

Kalib keeping an eye on the
equipment near Soweto
Kalib, young Tess, Taura and Paul having lunch at the Velodrome Tess inspecting the reinforcing at
Grand West Casino

Tess was given to me at the age of one year in 1997. She was a grey Tervuren. A very pretty girl, actually a prize winner. She had been given to an old lady by her granddaughter, the breeder. Granny couldn’t handle this ball of energy and asked the Vet to find her a new home. Tess’s arrival in my life wasn’t well timed, as she was so naughty compared to Taura. But when Taura died a year later, I was very grateful to have her. She was a constant companion and highly intelligent. She loved chasing anything that moved, particularly cats. She got me in a lot of trouble. She never tired of chasing cars. Winning peoples heart and socializing with other dogs was easy for Tess. But if any dog gave her too much attitude, she’d pick a fight. Fortunately, there weren’t any serious fights or injuries.

At this stage I was working more on construction sites than anywhere else and Tess couldn't be left at home. At Grand West Casino, safety started to become an issue. It was soon realized that Tess posed no safety threat to anyone and people enjoyed have her around. She’d follow me around, offer anyone nearby a stick to throw or chase flies in a puddle, until the work was done. If I climbed up a ladder to another level, she’d howl at the bottom. I’d then have to climb down and carry her up to join us, much to the amusement of everyone. As the building grew the ladders were replaced by scaffolding staircases. I wasn’t going to carry her. Tess took a long time to build up enough courage, but when she did, he followed me up three floors of steps. She was so pleased with herself.

I became known as the guy with the dog. Clients would phone and ask if Tess and I would come and survey.

Supervision by Lupie Maxwell and Lupie at the start of the Stadium construction Lupie on tea break Lupie and Paul at the Stadium

Lupie arrived in 2003. He is a Groenendael. He was four years old and his owner didn’t want him anymore. The timing wasn’t good as I was happy with Tess and didn’t want another dog. But it’s very difficult not to like Lupie. His name was Lupa, meaning wolf. He’d been kept in a very small garden and walked in circles constantly. His behaviour was a bit weird too. So he became Lupie. He was the scruffiest Belgian Shepherd I’ve ever seen. The white of his skin was visible and he was always itchy. He was hyperactive and didn’t want to be left out of anything. He has the deepest growl I’ve heard, but is one of the nicest, gentlest dogs I’ve met. He doesn’t like conflict and avoids dogs with any aggressive attitude.

We were busy with the construction of Cape Gate Shopping Centre at the time and Lupie had to fit in. He’d never experienced so much freedom. He never tired of offering people sticks to throw. Anyone resting on a shovel or broom had a stick placed on their boot. He made many friends and is very popular. Lupie had the tendency to have fits. A few times he was hit on the head while playing cricket or tennis, because he was so eager to fetch the ball. Other times, there was no apparent reason. Whatever his condition, he’d find me and have the fit in my presence. With age and better nutrition the fits have become non-existent.

After many months of hard work on the Cape Town Stadium construction, Tess and Lupie were kicked of site because they were distracting the work force. This posed quite a problem for me, because I was working very long hours. Every morning the dogs would try and force their way into the garage and bakkie, in order to come to work. I missed them terribly.

After three months I started bringing them to the Stadium again. I tried to keep them at my office, but they were forever going on site and offering people sticks or just following me or my assistants.

The Project Director loved dogs and softened the banning, but he was having dog issues from other powers. Someone decided that my dogs were sniffer dogs, used to detect drugs on site. All the problems went away.

Sadly, Tess developed a tumour during the project and had to be put down, at the age of twelve. I am still asked where my other dog is when on site.

After the Stadium was completed, I was asked to attend a site handover meeting in Brackenfell. Consultants and Contractors squashed into a container on the Shoprite Distribution Centre site. At the end of the meeting the project manager asked if my dog would join us for a site inspection. This was the first time that my dogs had been officially invited on site. I collected Lupie from my vehicle and put his safety jacket on. Immediately, the labour force on site recognised Lupie from the Stadium. Passing vehicles hooted and people waved. No one had noticed me when I arrived.

Regularly, I am stopped and told that I was seen years before, on a particular site with my dogs. I don’t think I would be recognised without them.

9 Brook Cres. Noordhoek • P.O. Box 1459 Sun Valley 7985 • Tel: 021 789 1223 • Fax: 086 545 4093 • Cell: 082 457 1789 • email: paul@edgeworks.co.za