WHEN one lives in a small town like Port Alfred, or any of the surrounding towns and villages, you often hear of weird and wonderful stories.
Some of these stories turn out to be rumours or tall tales told around fires and beers, but sometimes, some of these bizarre stories turn out to be true, as in the case of Ozzy, a black Yorkshire terrier cross spaniel who attacked a ragged tooth shark.
Ozzy has always been a highly energised, friendly and loveable dog that loves any form of water and tennis balls, to an almost obsessive level. Due to his breed, he requires frequent exercise and due to the location of his home, Ozzy manages frequent unsupervised beach walks and swims (this is not with my consent).
During an early Sunday morning walk in November, Ozzy accompanied me, as usual, for a walk along Beach Road. Being well trained and disciplined, Ozzy usually follows closely by on these walks, but on this particular day he veered off the path for a swim in the ocean – not unusual for the water-loving pooch.
When I arrived home, I was surprised to learn that Ozzy had not made it home yet. A quick stroll down the beach suggested that Ozzy must have made a friend along the way – which again is not unusual for him.
After about half an hour, a local fisherman called to say that Ozzy was with him at Shark Bay (near Kelly’s Beach) and had been grazed by a shark. Dumfounded and confused I got in my car and made the short drive to Shark Bay where I found two fishermen and a woman enjoying the beautiful morning, with lines in the water.
One of the fishermen, Chris Pike, was the man who called and explained that he had caught a ragged tooth shark. “Ozzy was barking at the shark. I managed to keep them apart until I released the shark back into the water. Ozzy chased after and jumped on the shark in the water and bit the shark,” Pike explained.
Then the shark retaliated and bit Ozzy on the leg, leaving a significant gash underneath his ankle. Luckily for Ozzy, the incoming wave pushed both shark and dog to the shore to where Pike managed to grab and save Ozzy.
A prepared and equipped Pike applied some first aid and bandaged the leg and Ozzy has since then made a full recovery. The shark escaped unharmed and has not been seen again.
Ozzy is now leash-bound for any future walks but can still be seen sneaking off for a beach walk and swim on his own.
First published in TotT’s Sunshine Holiday.