I remember an autumn when he was a couple of years old and the farmer was cutting the maize crop behind the house. He started from the outside and worked in, so rabbits got trapped in the centre until finally they couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and made a run for it. Chester ran too, caught and killed a rabbit and then chased another. I still remember the look of bewilderment on his face when he caught up and realised that he couldn’t hold two rabbits in his mouth. He let go of the first, caught the second, and then was quite disgusted when I’d not only laid claim to the original rabbit but insisted he gave me the second one too. We cooked them both for him to eat, mind you.
Towards the end of his life he became much more indulgent, by the way. He used to sit watching a family of baby bunnies play in the sun. And he never went for the chickens, he understood that no bird was fair game to him.
It was my friend Jackie who trained him more than I did, however. She used to walk her dogs on the field behind ours and Chester went to greet them. He tagged along on their walk and, when they got back to the road, Jackie produced some dog biscuits. All dogs sat and received their biscuits. Then she told Chester to go home. He was quite reluctant, but she persisted. And, finally, off home he trotted.