Heroes of Chobham Pet Cemetery
Hidden in Chobham is a disused pet cemetery – currently being restored by a team of enthusiastic volunteers. Among the graves is this one… here is the story behind it:
an extract from:
Dog Heroes: True Stories Of Canine Bravery
by Peter Shaw-Baker (1935)
THE scene is a quiet street in a North-west London suburb,Doyle Gardens, Harlesden.
Set on the slope of a hill, its lower end joins Harlesden Road, a busy main thoroughfare. Halfway up the hill two navvies are digging a hole in the road ; an errand boy is wheeling his bicycle up the hill ; several housewives are going down, their shopping baskets proclaiming their purpose ; and, near the crest of the rise, there walks a man with two dogs at his heels. They are beautiful creatures. One is an Old English Sheepdog, a magnificent specimen of his breed, with a lovely blue coat, splashed with white ; it is very thick and curly and makes him look even larger than he really is. The other is a sleek, smooth- haired collie, whose handsome merle-grey coat is flecked with silver. It is evident that they are both well trained, for they walk shoulder to shoulder at their master’s heels.
Suddenly there is a distant shout, a great clatter, a thunder of horse’s hoofs, and a rattle of wheels. The two navvies lay down their picks, and glance up ; the errand boy stops whistling ; the housewives turn round in alarm. And then at the top of the hill a runaway horse careers madly into view, a baker’s delivery cart swaying and lurching behind him. His ears are laid flat, his nostrils are distended with fright, and the reins drag on the ground beside him. As the cart reaches the top of the hill, its momentum increases, and the terrified beast plunges forward even faster ; at the bottom of the hill is the main road, with ’buses, lorries and cars passing every few moments ; beyond, across the main road, is a high fence and hedge. The two navvies drop their tools and snatch up a long pole, hoping to avert the imminent disaster by holding it in front of the bolting horse. Meanwhile the man at the top of the hill
turns quickly to his dogs — “ Sit ! he commands, and the two animals obediently sink to their haunches. He then leaps into the roadway, waving his arms at the oncoming horse, hoping thus to stop it. But he might just as well have tried to sweep back the tide with a broom. Nothing short of physical force will stop the terrified horse.
The horse bears down on top of him, but as he turns to spring out of the way, the sheepdog rises, bounds into the road, and takes a tremendous leap straight at the horse. It is a wonderful jump. He lands full and square in the mad horse’s face, and the thud of the impact can be heard above the rattle and clatter of the cart. The horse staggers, stops dead in his stride, and rears up on his hind legs ; the momentum of the cart pushes him forward, his feet slip, and he slithers to the ground.
This little drama occurred in May; 1930. The sheepdog was Moffat Treasure, and his master Mr. A. Jinks, of Ancona Road, Harlesden. The horse and van belonged to Messrs. Stevenson’s, Bakers and Confectioners. After the incident, Moffat Treasure seemed very pleased with himself, though at first he looked rather as though he expected to be punished for his disobedience in leaving the pavement after being told to sit ; needless to say, his master over- looked this breach of discipline. The horse and van were left in charge of the two workmen — the van driver not having appeared on the scene — and Moffat Treasure went home with his master. The incident would have passed unknown to any except those who
witnessed it but for the fact that it was brought to the notice of the Daily Mirror, and they awarded Moffat Treasure the Brave Dogs’ Collar. Later, the Tailwaggers’ Club also presented him with a special silver medallion in recognition of his bravery.
He was born on June 29th, 1924. Both his parents were thoroughbreds ; his mother was called Ways Green Peggy, his father Faithful Tramp ; the latter is still alive, having attained the good age of twelve years. Moffat Treasure— his pet name is Jumbo— was one of a family of thirteen,and his original owner, Mrs. Breakspear, was only too pleased to be rid of him,because he was a terrible tyrant over all his brothers and sisters ; he has since, though, developed a most docile nature, and allows children to ride on his back, and do anything they please with him. He has been entered for numerous dog shows, and has altogether won over two hundred prizes, including many Firsts, Cups, Specials, and a Reserve Challenge Certificate at Cruft’s.Quite recently, he won the Cup at Cruft’s in the veteran class, and, despite his age, was placed 3rd in a class with younger
His coat is truly glorious ; coarse, long and broken, it is of the true blue-grey, the face, head, chest and paws being snowy white. His eyes, which are hidden by the long hairs hanging in front, are very large and of a beautiful soft brown colour. He weighs nearly 1 cwt.
His collie companion is also a thoroughbred, and is registered at the Kennel Club under the name Great Friend. He is a year older than Moffat Treasure, but they are great pals and have been ever since they first met, ten years ago ; they always sleep together, and have been separated for two nights only, when Moffat was sent away to a Show. Both dogs love the country passionately ; they have never been trained or used for work on a farm, but the shepherding instinct seems to be paramount in them ; often when in the country, they will lie for hours watching some other dog at work with his flock, and would probably take a great delight in joining him were they permitted. Once, when at the seaside, a flock of sheep broke loose from a field, crossed a road and clambered over a sea-wall on to the shore. Of his own accord, Moffat Treasure bounded off and drove them back, not leaving them until they were safe and sound in the field again. On another occasion, his master and mistress found an injured sea-gull ; they fed it and made it as comfortable as possible, and then left it ; a little later, they came back and found Moffat Treasure and Great Friend sitting quietly on each side of it, keeping guard.
The dogs seem to be very particular about their personal appearance and cannot rest if their coats are muddy or dirty ; often they give one another a wash, each licking the other’s face, after which they go to sleep, Moffat using his collie pal’s back as a pillow.
’ Moffat is extremely fond of horses ; when out for a walk, he will go up to any horse, and, if it is holding its head low enough, lick its nose. It has, however, been necessary to check this habit, as quite probably it would cause a timid horse to bolt ; and it would indeed be unfortunate if he were to be the cause of some such accident, after having won the Brave Dogs’ Collar for averting one.