Chalky was a rough-haired Jack Russell with an exceptional good-nature. He was born in 1989 into a family of ratting dogs on a farm between St Columb and St Mawgan near Padstow.

Chalky got his name because when Jill and Rick’s middle son Jack was four, he had an imaginary dog small and white with a patch called Chalky. So when the family went to the farm to buy a puppy, there he was.

On 13th January 2007 Chalky sadly passed away. Here is Rick’s dedication to him:

Chalky RIP
August 1989 to 13th January 2007
Let’s look on the bright side, Chalky, my family’s dog lived to seventeen, he was healthy and fit right up to the last six months and he had a wonderful life. He travelled all over the British Isles and Ireland and nearly went to France. He got up to some mighty capers, leaping to bite a microphone, snarling at our cameraman so fiercely that we thought twice about using the film and fearing his shocking fangs which would frighten children. He dispatched rats and caused consternation by doing the same with a rabbit or two. He was loved by my children.  He swam and jumped on boats, he attacked crabs, ran rings round Alsatians and Border Collies being much fiercer and never backing down, ever. He scampered over a Duke’s lawns and petrified me that he might bite the Prince of Wales, but he didn’t. Most of all though we knew him at home as rather an unassuming, diffident dog. He was never greedy; he pestered you a bit for walks but not too much and kept reasonably quiet. But, my God he hated postmen and I don’t know why. If he couldn’t get at them, he’d rip the letters to shreds.

In truth, I’m very sad, he was loved by everyone. So many people, it’s a source of puzzlement to me that he never knew how famous he was.

I know what Kipling wrote is thought a bit sentimental but it’s actually true.

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Rudyard Kipling

Rick Stein