Title: The Man with the Black Dog
Subtitle: A true modern-day Jock of the Bushveld
Author: Mario Cesare
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers
Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa 2011
ISBN 9781868424627 / ISBN 978-1-86842-462-7
Softcover, 15x23 cm, 306 pages, several colour photos
Mario Gesare was twenty-five years old and managing a game reserve in the rugged Tuli Block when he first took possession of a shy black pup that he named Shilo. The pup attached himself to Mario almost immediately and very soon he became known by the locals as 'The Man with the Black Dog'. Very few dogs that live in Africa's big game country die of old age, but Shilo was the exception that proved the rule.
Shilo's incredible versatility ranged from skilfully tracking big game in the hot arid bushveld to retrieving wild fowl in the icy wetlands of South Africa. He was also a constant companion, a devoted protector and for more than fourteen years he and Mario had innumerable adventures together, encountering crocodiles, buffalo, lion, leopard, baboons and poachers.
It is permeated with the same love and empathy that made Jock of the Bushveld a classic and it too is a very South African story. Seldom has an account of a man and his dog revealed so much of the flavour of life in such a wild location and although over a century has passed since the transport wagons carved their trails to and from Delagoa Bay, the scent evoked of dust and rain remains the same and the grey ghosts of kudu and elephant still melt into the bush.