Prominent among the personnel of the Hospital should be placed "Durban," the Hospital dog. He was a brindled bull terrier of exceptional physique and intelligence, and the story about him was that he was a refugee dog who had attached himself to "No. 4" at Durban, and that for want of a better name he had been called after that pleasant town.
He had a great love of adventure, and fell into the life of a moving camp with gusto. His good temper and his placid appreciation of a practical joke were among his many excellent qualities. When the orderlies were paraded on the platform of Pietermaritzburg Station, previous to their being entrained for Frere, "Durban" took his place in the ranks with no little dignity.
The orderlies were devoted to him and he to them, and I have no doubt that, pampered and humoured in every canine whim, he is with the Hospital still.
"Durban" had had a special collar made for him on which was emblazoned the red cross and the name of his company. Just before starting for Chieveley his particular master made him a pair of putties, in which his fore legs were enveloped. He was uncommonly pleased with these embarrassing articles of clothing, and was never tired of going round the camp to show them to his many admirers. At Spearman’s he was provided with a travelling kit, consisting of a waterproof cape with two minute panniers on either side, marked with the red cross, and furnished with unappreciated surgical dressings. This exquisite outfit was with difficulty secured in position, and in the early stages of a march was sure to be found dangling beneath "Durban’s" ample chest.
His passion for bathing was only equalled by his passion for catching flies, and when we reached the Lesser Tugela he would join party after party on their way to the river, and would bathe as long and as often as he found anyone to bathe with.
He was useful, too, as a watch-dog, and performed no mean services in connection with the commissariat department. Some sheep were given to the Hospital, and for a day or two it was a problem as to how advantage could be taken of this important supply of food. The sheep, when wanted for the kitchen, could not be caught, and could not be shot, and so "Durban" was appealed to in the difficulty. Accompanied by the cook, on certain mornings "Durban" made his way to the little flock out on the veldt, and never failed to pull down a sheep. He followed the cook and the sheep back to the camp with the air of one who deserved well of his country.