BELOVED DOG GETS HIS DAY

Source: news24 (Extract)
Posted:
April 6 2021

After one year without many celebrations, the return of Just Nuisance’s birthday celebration last weekend was a welcome departure from our current Covid-19-centred lives.

Simon’s Town residents are all familiar with the annual celebrations commemorating the life of one extraordinary pooch.

This year it was celebrated on Saturday 3 April.

According to the organiser of the event and chair of the Simon’s Town Business Association (STBA) Steph Mellor, Just Nuisance was the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy.

“He was a Great Dane who, between 1939 and 1944, served at HMS Afrikander, a Royal Navy shore establishment in Simon’s Town, South Africa. He died in 1944 at the age of seven years and was buried with full military honours.”

She adds: “Last year the event was cancelled due to lockdown level five. We celebrate it every year if we can but last year was a huge disappointment.”

So this year the STBA and residents of the community were eager to have their annual fun day back on track, albeit on a slightly smaller and Covid-19-conscious scale.

The sculpture of Just Nuisance at Jubilee Square is still an attraction years after it was created and was at the centre of the birthday event.

Thirty four years after local sculptor Jean Doyle won a competition and was commissioned to make a statue of Just Nuisance in Jubilee Square, she restored him to his former glory after he was vandalized in 2019.

“We invited Mrs Jean Doyle, local sculpture of Just Nuisance, and she opened the Just Nuisance Birthday event. Just Nuisance was restored to his former glory, sporting a new collar and cap. The unveiling of the restored statue took place on Heritage Day, Tuesday 24 September 2019 after it guarded the harbour for more than three months without its collar and cap.”

The beloved Great Dane holds special memories for Mrs Doyle as her mother often saw him on the train during World War II.

“My mother worked in Simon’s Town, and he often travelled on the train with the sailors,” she said.

Doyle said restoring Just Nuisance was “very special” to her. He was her first public commission, and the statue was unveiled in 1985, Mellor explains.

This year, Tears Animal Rescue and the Cape of Good Hope SPCA were nominated as beneficiaries to receive donations.

Mellor said the hard work done by the two organisations, which included “the SPCA with their mobile clinic and the anti-dog fighting unit” are the reasons they were nominated.

“We are pleased as punch to be a nominated beneficiary of the Just Nuisance Birthday celebration,” the SPCA noted in a Facebook post.

The generous sponsors included a large number of local businesses, some of whom also assisted with dog food donations.

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