“E, Tina, there’s a cow that ran across your yard!”
The gigantic, heavyset, black-and-white splotched Tui is a familiar sight around Turangi, guarding the Maoate family front gate, or out for a run along the back road behind the pickup.
And, says his owner, people look twice at the shaggy big-eyed beast: is he a dog, or is he a cow?
Tina Maoate’s late husband was Fijian, and gave him his name because in Fiji, “Tui” is a chief.
Tui is about 10 years old – they’ve had him since he was a puppy.
And since their grandson Roman was born, Tui has been like a babysitter. He follows the 4-year-old everywhere; if the family can’t find their little boy, they just look for the giant dog!
Tina Maoate laughingly calls him a “calf-dog”.
“I’ve taken the collar off because he can’t fit it. He’s a chief – he likes his food and his rest! And his bark is so loud and low.
“He’s a very good watchdog – we actually feel safe with him, this dog.”