Half-century of training and selling dogs

George Prouting is taking heading dog Rose to this week’s Gore dog sale. PHOTO: SALLY RAE
George Prouting is taking heading dog Rose to this week’s Gore dog sale. PHOTO: SALLY RAE
George Prouting very nearly didn’t enter a dog in this week’s Gore dog sale.

It wasn’t until he got a phone call asking why he had not entered - coupled with the fact it was 50 years since he first sold a dog at the sale - that he decided to put heading dog Rose on the market.

On Wednesday, Mr Prouting (79), who lives at Pukeuri, north of Oamaru, will attend the 63rd sheep and cattle dog sale at Charlton Saleyards, continuing a long-standing tradition.

There have been very few years he has missed in the interim; there were several years when the sale was not held and several years that he did not go, including last year when ill health meant his daughter, Jo, took his entries.

Dogs have always played a large part in Mr Prouting’s life. Brought up at Coldstream, in Mid Canterbury, he was about 15 when he sold his first dog, Roy, for £10.

He later sold Roy’s brother for £35, giving the money to his mother to buy a washing machine, as she had only ever used a copper. His father would never allow him to keep dogs, telling him he should "never ‘get married’ to a dog".

Over the years, during which time he worked on farms in Mid Canterbury, South Otago and North Otago, went shearing and, for 26 years, worked as a shepherd at the Pukeuri meat plant, Mr Prouting has sold "hundreds" of dogs.

He was living at Lawrence when he sold his first dog at the Gore sale - a "wee grey dog" called Lyn - and it was a memorable transaction.

After being sold, her new owner let her out of his vehicle down a street in Gore and she took off and high-tailed it back to the gate of the showgrounds to wait for Mr Prouting.

Half an hour later, Lyn again tried to escape.

The majority of his dogs were sold privately through word of mouth and people contacting him.

Many he had taken on were dogs that people could not handle and he derived enjoyment from getting a dog to do work, particularly when it was one that someone else had been unable to get to do anything.

"That’s the challenge for him, he doesn’t like to think there’s a dog he can’t get into working," his wife, Joan, said.

And he gained more enjoyment from that than attending dog trials, although he was placed in the South Island and New Zealand championships in Blenheim in 1978 with Mr Chips.

 

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