The big, hairy dog entered our lives unexpectedly. But as is often the case, these things happen for a reason.
So when they leave you suddenly and without apparent reason, you can't help but wish you'd shared a little more time in their odd and eventually loveable company.
Such is the case with His Hairiness.
Chief was exceedingly hairy. His coat was like a bristle brush but lengthier and multi-coloured, with two white socks and mottled blobs of white, grey, black and brown.
The bristles stuck out at strange angles like a canine Johnny Rotten and was so awful to brush, we never bothered.
Which suited Chief just fine.
Wolfhound was the most likely point of his breeding origin but clearly, it had been several cycles back. There was a bit of something else indeterminate thrown in, and perhaps it wasn't even a dog.
The hairiness must have provided good insulation because he never minded the freezing mornings. He'd turn up steaming and panting on our deck early each morning, curious at to what the humans were doing inside on such a fresh winter's day.
Oddly, in a canine universe where tail-wagging is almost universal, Chief's motley-coloured tail rarely moved laterally beyond the semi-horizontal.
It may have gently swayed back and forth a couple of times to indicate measured happiness - usually related to the arrival of food - but never in the fast-slapping metronome fashion of other overjoyed canines.
He had a tenor-like rumbly-whine which emerged at odd times, like he wanted to have a chat but didn't know how and yet his rare bark was curiously yippy and high-pitched, like it belonged to a much smaller dog.
Chief was always hungry and would catch and wolf down any rabbits that hadn't yet mastered the skill of fast directional changes.
Once digestion was complete, he would crap on our lawn in piles heaped large enough to overflow a cement shovel.
He had been bred for pigging and, as a young hound, was reported to be pretty good at it. Not surprisingly, he had a loping, distance-eating greyhound-like gallop in which a front leg would hit the ground first and the rest would follow and there were times, at full tilt, when he'd have all four in the air.
The oddest thing was that Chief loved water - any sort of water at all - the way we thought no dog possibly could.
He'd make a beeline for the most disgusting, freezing puddles of black ooze and wallow contentedly, usually accompanied by a strange sigh of satisfaction.
He would hare off for the dam at the first suggestion you were even heading that way, launching in at top speed with all four feet splayed.
Dripping wet, he'd do lap after lap of the all-round verandah on our house like it was cup day at Flemington, every bit of his 50kg thumping down on the merbau decking until we stuck our heads out and called him off.
It was little wonder he could keep pace behind a fast-moving boar until it came time to bail up the beast and have the slow-moving humans do the rest.
When he came to us at five or six years old, his pigging days were all but over however, the whiff of a wombat or an echidna would set old instincts jangling again. Kangaroos and livestock were off-limits but other wildlife had the big hairy muzzle pointing skywards, sniffing a likely chase.
Just after daybreak, on our customary bushwalk, he happened to grab a large, slow-moving wombat by the ear and, at my bellowing entreaties, only let go reluctantly as the barrel-sized creature clawed the ground and snorted indignantly.
As the combatants parted, with the wombat highly annoyed but unharmed, Chief watched its hairy rear end disappear into the blackberries and looked at me as if to say: "hey, I could have taken him, you know".
The life of being a pet dog didn't clearly sit comfortably with Chief because he'd never expected to be curled up inside at night by the wood heater or fed treats.
Until Tilly arrived.
Tilly, a tiny, cream-coloured black-eared pug, was feistiness and hyperactivity on four legs from six weeks old.
Although Chief was more than 10 times her size and weight, she'd grab him by the leg, attack his jowls, eat his food until stuffed like an inflated goon bag and generally make a complete pest of herself.
We were waiting patiently for the "cease and desist" growl from Chief but strangely, it never came. He'd just carefully lift a leg, or his muzzle, and gently tolerate harassment like a rhino with an oxpecker.
Who would have picked it: Hairy and Shorty became, completely unexpectedly, the best of mates, curled up together, snoring in unison by the fire.
Within this very odd friendship Chief finally learned how to become a (large and less clumsy) laid-back pony-sized dog that could come inside the house without sweeping everything off the coffee table, and Tilly became somewhat slightly less annoying.
The pair became inseparable; big and little, Hairy and Shorty. Good mates, we thought, for a long time to come.
But sadly, for such a dog of such apparently robust health and vigour, Chief died recently, quite suddenly.
Just after midnight he howled a couple of times like he was hurting bad, lost control of his bowels and had a couple of minor seizures. He died while on the way to the vet.
The cause is still unknown but some vets suggest he may have taken a 1080 fox bait.
We will all miss him terribly because, as dogs go, he was the odd and quirky one who arrived unexpectedly and then gradually stole our hearts.
But Tilly will miss him even more.