"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

Long Ago.


This photo was probably taken in 1980.

The little boy is my eldest son, and the puppy is Ginger, a red Australian terrier.

I grew up with greyhounds, but my first dog was Digger, also a red Australian terrier. Digger was really my dad’s dog. Mum would not let dogs in the house so this little guy lived in the garage. My dad loved him very much, and he loved dad. About ten years after this shot was taken my dad died suddenly, and my mum was left with her grief and a dog she did not want. A few months after dad died mum found this little guy lying dead on the back lawn. There was nothing physically wrong with him he just missed my dad.

I’d heard the expression ‘he pined away’, but this was the first time I had seen it happen.

It breaks my heart, even now, to think of it.

With what  I have learned, if this had happened now I could take that little dog and look out for him for his remaining years, but back then I was dealing with my own grief and foolishly did not think I could take care of a dog.

I have very few regrets in life, but if I had this time over again, I would not let this little guy die of loneliness.


13 responses

  1. Reblogged this on araneus1.


    May 25, 2013 at 4:12 am

  2. We can so easily misjudge dogs and their feelings for us.


    May 25, 2013 at 4:17 am

    • It’s amazing what grief does to us. For me it made my world very small for a long time. It was all I could do to be a dad and a husband and a son, it never occurred to me that this little dog had lost the most important person in his life. I like to think of myself as a person who is eager to learn but it annoys me that it takes so long for me to see certain things clearly. Someone told me that life unfolds itself in it’s own time. Someone also told me that I am impatient. Quite possibly both things are true. I just hope that this little guy met up again with my dad.
      I’m sure that dad would have refused to go to heaven if there weren’t animals there.


      May 25, 2013 at 4:26 am

  3. 1annecasey

    The photo is cuteness overload. The story is sad, but demonstrates much love. I am sure Ginger had much love and joy on his life.


    May 25, 2013 at 5:32 am

    • My dad loved him a lot.
      Regrets are such a huge waste of time. Learn and move on…………. now if I can only take my own advice.
      Thank you for the comment……. much appreciated.


      May 27, 2013 at 1:56 am

  4. No need to beat yourself up. Suddeness, by its nature,leaves us traumatized. Sudden death of a loved one even more so. Feeling it is the flip side of being able to love in the first place. Life wouldn`t be quite so colourful if we couldn`t feel so much. Ginger got a lot of love in her life and her lessons to the world continued after her passing.
    Cute kid! Love the way the chubby little hand clutches thee dinky car.Get teary eyed myself thinking of my kids at that cute toddler stage.What`s this they say about loving and losing?


    May 25, 2013 at 7:17 am

    • Beautiful words, thank you.
      I spent a large chunk of my life not being able to feel much at all. Feeling definitely hurts but it beats the hell out of the alternative.
      I appreciate your time in commenting on this post.
      The little guy in the photo now has a little guy of his own (and a daughter). Time flies by and the photos freeze the moments.


      May 27, 2013 at 2:01 am

      • Yep, another reason to love photography!


        May 27, 2013 at 6:38 am

  5. I saw a movie, Haiku..it had a story of a dog who was faithful to his master..waiting for him each day..even after master died..he kept on doing his duty.This is a relationship, where you have become part of the other..no matter who wants to take your master’s place..its impossible to fill that vacuum..its just so real..no one can replace another..each one is unique..maybe you can take care of someone..but you can not take place for anyone in terms of connections and feelings.
    Some say, you can fool humans but not their dogs..for they go by smell and touch..its amazing


    May 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    • I’ve seen the movie you mentioned. Loyalty and devotion even beyond the grave.
      I’m a firm believer that dogs (and cats for that matter) find you. Like certain people, they are in our lives for a reason, usually to teach us some things.
      Dogs can be very trusting and very forgiving and they know who you are because they watch every move, they don’t need words they can see how we move, and as you said, they can tell a lot from how we smell. Humans do everything they can to disguise their smell and dogs don’t mind how we smell, it’s all a part of their language.
      Thank you for the comment.


      May 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm

  6. I’m deeply touched. I grew up with German Alsatians in Norway and I probably first barked and then learned to speak. Dogs are sensic and sensitive, I’ve experienced this over and over again. I once had a 2 Berner Sennehunde here in Germany. When the older one died, the junger one died one year later totally heartbroken. I have never seen a dog suffer so much. He cried like a wolf, didn’t want to eat, got cancer and there was no way to help him. But looking back, I feel I failed. Oh dear.


    June 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    • Obviously, I know how you feel.
      One of the commenters said that I should concentrate on the happiness that my dad’s little dog experienced and not dwell on the way it all ended up. I think that is good advice. We take what we have learned and if it ever comes up again we are armed with knowledge.
      Don’t be sad, both those dogs loved you and with a bit of luck you might catch up with them some day.


      June 2, 2013 at 1:16 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s