People often speak of the special character or feel about Riverstone. Some of the character of the town extends to animals and when ‘Prince’, a well known local dog died in 2004, the following article appeared on the noticeboard in Marketown. It brings a tear to the eye.
Last Thursday, 18th November, Riverstone lost a special character – Prince – ‘the Commonwealth Bank Security Dog’ died. A title created for him, and printed on his dog tag, by the engraver who had a stand outside the bank. Prince was a unique dog who could only exist in a small community like Riverstone. Some 12 years ago he was a stray who shared his time between the Bank, the TAB and the hotel. He decided to adopt a family in West Parade and although he settled into his new home, he already had a busy life of his own in the town and no fence could contain him. After the family left for work and school each morning, he would jump the fence and make his way to his position in the bank. He had a calm and loving nature and welcomed the attention of a generation of toddlers as their parents did the banking.
During the day he would do his rounds, visiting the takeaway food shops and the greyhound/pet shop in Pitt Street for a chat and snacks. Later in the day he would move over to the TAB where staff and patrons would welcome him. The TAB was Prince’s second home and there was always a bowl of water, light snacks and a kind word for his free spirit; although in later years when his arthritis became very bad they had to limit the treats as he had to keep his weight down to keep the strain off his back. When Prince had a bad fall a few years ago, it was the TAB who took up a collection to help pay his vet’s bill.
The doctors and nurses at the Riverstone Veterinary Hospital have been extremely kind to Prince over the years. In 2002 Prince’s family had to go up north for a funeral and Prince had been booked into the vet’s for a stay. He couldn’t be found when the departure date came and it was a family friend who finally found him lying in the culvert opposite the hotel. Geoff Gibbons, the vet, carried him out and took him back to his surgery where Prince’s indomitable courage and good nursing from the staff gave him a second chance.
He was never quite as strong after his fall, particularly over the last six months when he couldn’t jump the fence any more, but he was always on the look out for an open gate so he could shuffle over to visit his friends at the TAB. One of the nurses at the Vet’s tells a story about stopping the City train as Prince struggled across the road.
On behalf of Prince we would like to thank the people of Riverstone for their kindness over the years. He will be sadly missed.