Stories and Traveltips

ID #5490

Spottie McIver, Killarney Hotel, Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

My sister Moira was friendly with Jocelyn Randall, the daughter of Avro Randall, who owned a chicken farm on the Southwell Road west of Port Alfred. On one occasion Moira was given a puppy of uncertain parentage by the Randalls.  From his coat markings (predominantly white with black patches here and there) he was probably a mixture of Border collie and something else.

Spottie fitted right in at Killarney – he soon won the hearts of all who knew him. Several of the long-term guests (Mr. Armitage in particular) used to take him walking up the East Beach each day, a routine that Spottie loved. His coat shone because of the daily swims he used to take in the sea. My grandfather Pop Myhill was particularly attached to Spottie, so much so that he allowed him to crawl into his bed at night. What my grandmother made of this I don’t know – she never complained about it. Because of his fondness for Spottie, Pop allowed him to get away with murder and taught him many bad habits that were later impossible to correct.

Spottie used to wander far and wide. On one occasion, after we left Port Alfred in 1959, he was spotted killing sheep on De Wet Steyn’s farm on the Bathurst road outside of Port Alfred. Quite rightly of course, De Wet Steyn threatened to shoot Spottie unless my grandfather sent him elsewhere (the other dogs involved were shot). So Pop wrote a letter to Moira asking her to take Spottie to live with us in Krugersdorp. The following is a letter he wrote to her after putting Spottie on the train for Johannesburg.


June 25 1962

Dear Moira

We are anxious to know about Spottie. We took him up to Grahamstown as there was a 4 hour wait and he would be miserable all on his own on that station. However we got him off alright and then there was another change at Alicedale and another wait there so we hope he was put into the Johannesburg train and arrived safely.

It’s miserable here without him. He had become a part of Killarney. The other 2 dogs were shot. I am sure Spot had nothing to do with killing sheep but apparently he was in it. I just could not be a party to having him shot so all we could do was send him up to you. I hope he settles down and is a happy dog as he always was here. Everyone loved old Spot around here so if he does not settle down perhaps Dick John would let him come to “The Pines” as he would be quite happy there with those 3 young children. Anyhow let us know what has happened to him.

He knew that something was all wrong at was miserable all the way and at Grahamstown to make matters worse it was I suppose one of the coldest days we have had.  Cold and windy so what with one thing and another it’s not a happy affair. However, let’s hope he is alright and no trouble. Your house does not give him much room to run around and he reckons to sleep in your room on your bad if he can manage it.  Don’t mention to anyone that he was supposed to kill sheep, which I am sure he did not, and try to make him happy as he is rather unusual as dogs go. Very affectionate and so on and all he wants is to be taken a bit of notice of and a run out now and then.

Your affectionate Grandad

Pop xx

PS his licence is paid up for the year & pop-riveted on to his collar & can’t be taken off – Pop

There was another little dog with the next person with him I don’t know where he was going but I suppose was a bit of company for him


Note: he never did sleep on my Moira’s bed. Instead he chose my bed, to which I objected strongly, particularly because of the white hair he left behind. But I was never able to catch him at it because as soon as he heard my car he would disappear, leaving the evidence behind – a warm spot on the bed. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.


Alan McIver


November 7 2013


attached files: Photograph of Spottie on Beach in Port Alfred edited.jpg

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Last update: 2014-02-28 22:27
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.9

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