“Just Nuisance”, as the dog was to become known by, was by all accounts born on Thursday, 1st April 1937 in Rondebosch, a suburb in the south peninsula of Cape Town.
At an early age, the pup was sold to a Benjamin Chaney who moved to Simon’s Town to run the United Services Institute (USI). The USI was frequented mainly by the Royal Navy sailors – The Royal Navy at that time being in charge of the Simon’s Town Naval Base. This Great Dane soon grew to be a massive dog and it was here in Simon’s Town that he was to become a legend.
Just Nuisance would regularly follow the naval liberty men when they went for a “run-ashore” in Cape Town some 22 miles and 27 stations north on the electric railway, but he always new which station he wanted. He soon became well known on the trains and would jump on and off at different stations. Apparently, the sailors would try to hide him from the Ticket collector, but as he was such a big dog this was not always possible and he would be put off at the next station, but being a very clever dog, he would walk back to the previous station or just wait at the station in question and board the next train to continue his journey.
A few times, when approached by an angry conductor, he showed how serious he was about rail travel by standing on his hind legs, putting his huge paws on the conductor’s shoulders and growling in the poor man’s face. Amused civilians would sometimes offer to pay his fare but exasperated railway officials sent a stream of demands to Mr. Chaney his owner to confine the dog, pay his fares, or get rid of him. The railways finally warned that they would have to put him down if he persisted in boarding trains. This resulted in a massive outcry from his sailor friends and other people in the Peninsula who had come to know him well. One amused regular passenger even offered to buy him a season ticket but the Royal Navy had already put this in hand…
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