PADDING THE STREETS OF MOSMAN
In a suburb known for its high concentration of Groodles, Cavoodles, Labradoodles and Schnoodles, there once lived an old, ugly, battle-scarred mongrel dog with arthritis in all four legs who was almost totally deaf.
His name was Billy.
For 17 of his 19 years, the fox-terrier walked the streets of Mosman behind his loving master Cliff Williams and his council street-cleaning barrow.
Rain, hail or shine, Billy padded along at Cliff’s heels every day, often stopping at the butcher – or the newsagent for a shortbread biscuit before the pair made their way to the pub after sweeping the streets.
The placid old pooch was so cherished and adored; that his photograph even hung behind the public bar of Hotel Mosman.
Over the years, he battled his way through sickness, dodging cars and a couple of strokes before time ran out on 26 October 1978.
The old fox terrier was then diagnosed with throat cancer – and his Master was forced to make the toughest decision. On Cliff’s lap, with the help of the vet, Billy took his last breath. But it wasn’t the end of the story. Not by any measure.
A committee led by Tom Hayson started the Billy Memorial Appeal, for heart-broken locals to donate money towards a permanent monument to mark Billy’s life. On 6 September 1980, the dog bought for ten shillings had a $4,000 statue erected in his memory unveiled near the Rotunda at Balmoral. And now, more than 40 years later, the legend of Billy lives on.
IMAGE CREDIT: Anna Usher