Dear children who heard my Nonu stories, our darling dog has gone


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Whenever I visit schools I tell the story of our dog Nonu. So many of you have heard the way he picked up the rugby ball and ran with it when we brought him home with his sister Molly. How we all chased and he ran and so we named him after our favourite All Black. How he loved to play rugby with us, how he was good at tackling and running with the ball.

You will have also heard how he was almost blind and his sister was his guide dog dog.

And how he loved to run for miles and miles along the beach with us early in the morning.

You will have heard how he was the best swimmer in the universe, unlike his sister!


He has been sick this year with a cough and runny nose and he just couldn’t seem to get better. The past two days he got worse and worse. We spent today at the animal hospital with him and this afternoon he stopped breathing.

So we are feeling very sad. I am so glad I got to share him with you these past 7 or 8 years.

He had the loveliest nature and didn’t grumpy about all the things wrong with him.


I don’t usually share private things with you all, but you have grown up with my dog poems and stories.


Our Dog Nonu (named after Ma’a Nonu)

When our springy dog

is at his springiest best,

with a patch on his back

like number twelve

and a rugby ball in his jaw,

it’s tackle time, flip flop flip

before he scores a try again.


A Sonnet About My Dogs

My dogs are fast asleep in the sun –

the black one dreaming about toast

and the brown one wanting to run

and chase gulls along the coast.

If I wake them they will want to keep

playing rugby with me, or they will be itching

to check the mail, so I let them sleep

on and on, their tails twitching.


One day we will go out of the house

and the dogs will leap and spin

past the sheep and the cows

making such such an almighty din.

But back at home my dogs will flop

on the ground and chew my socks.




Beach Walk

This morning I saw something strange.

It looked like a little alien sleeping in the sand

or a strange octopus that had crawled

from the deep sea,

or an exotic flower blown

in from China,

or a slithery snake with three tails.

Molly and Nonu sniffed

and licked, tails wagging

at the alien seaweed.




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