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Wednesday, 25 January 2012


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My sympathies to all. Nice tribute Mike

Very sorry to hear about Doppie...

Having never lived with pets as a child, having flatmates with pets was the closest I got to ever owning a dog or a cat myself. A real eyeopener for me: they really do add something special to the house.


"Best in Show" is an affectionately amusing look at the joys of dog ownership and worth watching by any dog lovers who have not yet seen it. By the same guy who brought us the wonderful "Spinal Tap".

Wiener dogs are like tumors, nobody really wants to get one, but they grow on you. I resisted the first, we now have three. All different but I love each one. Two are on my lap as I write this, each got a squeeze when I read your post.

In a perfect world, our dogs would naturally pass on exactly five minutes after us. Alas, it is not to be.

I also loved Stephen Budiansky's book The Truth About Dogs. It takes a jaundiced, scientific look at dog genetics & behavior. Budiansky makes a pretty convincing argument that much of what we interpret as loyalty or love is really sophisticated sucking up by dogs in return for food and shelter.

I still love my mutt, though. And I could swear that he loves me back.

I hope that Doppie's owners know that they have the understanding of all of us who know and love our dogs - in my case better than most humans, if one dare say that.
Lying at my feet as I type this is a four year old German Shepherd who is the direct descendant - 15 generations later - of the first one I bought when I was 21 and there have been many relatives in between. The fact that he is part doppelganger and part unique is perfect - part familiar part new.
Although sadly i scarcely dare believe it will happen I wear on a chain the names of them all of them with the legend "If dogs don't go to heaven then I should like to go where they go".... just in case.
I guess Jane and John might understand that today.
Daft, soft,sentimental I know but they are more than worth it.

My condolences. I still remember my first dog - a wire-haired dachshund. Boy, this was a wild creature :-)
Funny thing, our second wire-haired dachshund also has completely different temperament.

Not that I would do it, but...

Lock the dog in the boot (trunk) of your car and come back a few hours later, the dog will still be glad and happy to see you.

Now try that with the missus...

The loss of a dog is never easy. For some the rainbowbridge.com is a source of comfort.


Sorry for their loss. Always a hard time.

Would also recommend the BBC Horizon programme "The Secret Life of Dogs' from a couple of years ago if you can find it somewhere.

Brings to mind the wonderful, heart-grabbing quote, from whom I wish I knew, (paraphrase) "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."

I agree. Part of the reason I won't get one now is that I hate saying goodbye. I might relent as I get older though.

Heartfelt sympathies to all those concerned.

"Budiansky makes a pretty convincing argument that much of what we interpret as loyalty or love is really sophisticated sucking up by dogs in return for food and shelter."

So, no different from humans?

Jeez, there are few things harder than having to end a noble dog's journey. They do grow on us in profound ways, our furry friends.

My condolences and best wishes to all.

My heart went out to Jane and John when I read this. It is never an easy decision to make, and you wish it could be made for you. It is the hard part of living with a pet though the good parts far outweigh the hard ones.

Been there a couple of times before. And have a cat who is 19 months beyond the 3 the vet thought he had left so that decision looms. I try to focus on enjoying the time we have.

I hope the thoughts of TOP readers are a comfort to them, however small, on this difficult day.


@Geoff Wittig - Budiansky's is a fashionable viewpoint. We talk about evolutionary/survival strategies now with the same conviction that a previous generation used when it talked about the influence of the humours. I'll vote for your own impressions any day.

" … will go to sleep for the last time today …"
What a beautiful way of saying it. Tears welled up in my eyes; it's that time of life.
Always had a dog beside me, I am part dog by now, other dogs know it and I'm proud to be so.

I hope all of you dog lovers have read "My Dog Skip" by Willie Morris. A wonderful piece of writing, and one of my favorite books.

I have 2 dear friends who own 3 Shelties and I'm the proud baby sitter of the dogs whenever one or both my friends are out of town. When I have them to myself to enjoy and play with, I feel a special thrill that is impossible to express in words. I probably spoil them but they are always very happy to see their "masters" once again. Even though I'm not their owner, it's going to be hard when the time comes to let go.

Such a sad and poignant post, brings a tear to my eye. The meaningful photo so emphasizes the loss as we can see a little of Doppie's weary heart in the image.

A (mis)quote from a recent corny movie: "Dogs are so simple, you give them your heart and they'll give you theirs." Truer words were seldom said...my condolences.

My deepest condolences to Jane and John. The loss of a beloved companion whether human or non, feels so like a piece of you just above the solar plexus has died too. You're sure it will always remain empty. In a sense it does, I still tear-up when I think of the furry friends no longer with me and I take comfort knowing I gave them a good and love filled life.

I'm sure Doppie was loved and spoiled and he knew he was a lucky dog to be a part of a family like his. Of course, he thought in a doggy way so it was more like "Gosh, I love you guys."

Remember the love and joy shared, the tears become those of gratitude for the opportunity to have loved him. If we have souls and exist beyond our death, I know there will be a reunion with loved ones, all loved ones.

For anyone facing the sadness of euthanasia talk with your vet about a home visit.

I think that the best tribute to a departed pet that I have ever seen was written about a year and a half ago by an author by the name of John Scalzi. It can be found at:


On another note, when growing up I could not understand why anyone would want an absurd-looking dog like a dachshund. Since marrying a fanatic animal-lover 50 years ago, we have had many, many dogs of various breeds - of which three have been miniature dachshunds. (She takes in strays, plus animals from people who are moving, which is the reason for the wide variety.)

Today, if I were to choose a favorite breed of dog, it would be the miniature dachshund - so I can relate to your feelings about Doppel.

With best wishes
- et -

Rob Smith - Hate to tell you, but it gets much harder to say goodbye as you get older, not easier.

Two of my favorite Rudyard Kipling poems are about dogs. The Power of the Dog (http://www.dog-names.org.uk/dog-poems-poetry-power-dog.htm) reminds us of the pain that inevitably follows from a dog's short lifespan:

"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."

And from the more humorous Supplication of the Black Aberdeen (http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_blackaberdeen.htm:

"Into The Presence, flattening while I crawl - From head to tail, I do confess it all. Mine was the fault-deal me the stripes-but spare the Pointed Finger which I cannot bear! The Dreadful Tone in which my Name is named, that sends me 'neath the sofa-frill ashamed! (Yet, to be near Thee, I would face that woe.) If Thou reject me, whither shall I go?"

Dog lovers will enjoy both these poems in full, but I have no idea whether any copyright laws are being violated by the hundreds of online publishers of such poems.

It's a difficult thing to take a loved animal to the vets to be put to sleep. I've never had a dog, but I had to do it for both my cats at different times.

For those of you who don't know, it is very hard to do the best for the animal because you love it and will miss it. In the end your final responsibility to the animal is to keep its suffering to a minimum, and your pain and loss is not to be considered in the decision.

Pas on my condolences. A good dog is the very best of friends.

Yes, and few things in life are more painful then the passing of your k9 kid.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then I don't want to go there.


Your mother and stepfather have my deepest sympathies. A couple of years ago, three days before Christmas, I too had to put a puppy to sleep after a long battle with a terminal illness. It was a heart breaking decision, and it made it the worst Christmas I ever had.

I have found the best way to help complete the mourning process of a pet is to get a new fur baby after a mourning period. They truly help with the coping process. For me the process of bonding with a new pet helps to alleviate the feelings of loss. Again your mother and stepfather have my deepest sympathies.

Some of my favorite photos are of my dogs. They may not always be my best work, but I guess papa-pride takes precedence. Keep us posted on any new additions with photos.

Good post. Made me think of my dog's last day. Her body was falling apart but her spirit was as strong and loving as ever. It was not a good day. I'm sorry for their loss.

Making the decision to have your pet take his last look at you before he sleeps forever is gut-wrenching and one of the most difficult, but necessary decisions, to make. In the end, it's what's best for your pet.

Today will be difficult. And so will the countless days to follow. But soon the sadness will be replaced with fond memories and stories.

I send my condolences to you all.

Mike - What a nice tribute to Doppie and a lovely photo. My heart goes out to those two. We had two close calls with Kali last fall (he is now 15 and has way outlived most goldens!) and yet he is still with us, still enjoying his walks and life. We know that this decision is not far off and appreciate every minute we have with him. Been thinking a lot about Dad and Jane today. - Gwen

I don't think they will be getting another dog. They are both nearing 80 now and the requirements of a dog does complicate travel. My stepfather just retired a year or two ago, so he doesn't travel as much as he used to, but he still does consulting and travels to Asia quite a bit. And my mother loves to travel, both for its own sake and to visit children, stepchildren, and grandchildren.


I am at the beginning of the journey with my first dog. Its only five months but already the attachment is tangible. Its hard to believe that I've waited this long. Your cousin is entirely right

Here she is at 4 months.

Mike - What a lovely write up of both Wolfie and Doppie, and a beautiful photo. We will all miss Doppie.

Great photo; I have many pictures of family dogs over the years with that same "staring pensively out the window" expression. Does the documentary explain what's going on in dog's heads when they look like that?

We just lost both our beloved miniature schnauzers in just over 5 weeks, so I can relate to the loss and pain. Always in our hearts. As you say, "Good dog"!

I'm sorry for the loss of Doppelgang... I remember. I'm a dog person and lost a dog a few years ago. This is the tough part of the social contract we take on when we take on a pet. But, IMO totally worth it!

I have had several mistresses in my life. Two of them were women, and 4 dogs. One of them I married.

I had to take one of my old labradors to the vet for her last injection. As the life ebbed from her eyes and I hugged her neck, she gave me a lick on the cheek. You don't forget that sort of thing.

The dogs remained faithful. One of the women did not. The other is on probation.

It has to be said, though there be a million like it, that is a lovely photo.

...lost my Mom in May of last year, her 13.5 year old Jack Russell, Digger, three months later. She wanted to go before her dog, because she couldn't stand the loss, and she did, and I couldn't stand losing either of them. A terrible tumor took poor ol' Dig, but if you ever want a dog that is practically human, super intelligent, and exasperatingly lovable, then it's a Jack Russell for you.

They remind you that not every thing you love is either controllable, or even deigns to pay attention. If Dig had opposable thumbs, she would have taken the car on occasion. My Mom threatened to haunt us from the great beyond if we did not take care of her dog, and losing them both so close together was barely survivable.

BTW, there's an old Twilight Zone that deals with a guy who's died not being able to get into heaven with his dog, and he won't go without his dog, so he keeps on going down the road, only to find out that the devil was trying to get him into hell, and he meets the guy controlling heaven, and of course you can take your dog to heaven...

..start crying now...

That Twilight Zone is: The Hunt.


They are dogs: just animals. They are not human beings.

Horrible,terrible,gut wrenching, and maybe the kindest you can do for our furry friends at that minute. I have had to put down three dogs in my life. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. But the idea of letting my much loved dog suffer is beyond thought.

My heart goes out to your family, I know it hurts.

I miss Tipsy.


Hello Mike, I am so sorry to hear about Doppie. I know he will be missed. If I believed in reincarnation, I would want to return as a beloved short-hair pet dachshund.

Currently waiting to see whether Albie, the world's biggest and maybe dumbest Lhasa Apso, is going to quietly go in his sleep at home, or do a trip to the vet. Fifteen years, and feeling every one of them, it seems...

Neither my wife nor I grew up with a dog but she always wanted one. Since our first corgi, we have 5 in our lives with 3 no longer with us. All dogs are good. They are good dogs.

Sympathies... Here's a beautiful short film that your post brought to mind—it won the 2011 Vimeo Beast Video Award (and was shot on a DSLR).


May Doppie have passed on without fear and with his people around him, hugging him and saying, “Good dog.”

Dogs in my house get something near equal billing with humans. Fuji our Shi-tzu will be 12 in May. Picked her out as pup. Will be very tough to say goodbye when her time comes.

What a beautiful dog.

I think it's the way their character is straightforward, open & honest in life; it's heart-wrenchingly awful parting with them - faithful fuzzy friends.

I'll be in the kitchen hugging ours for a while. Deepest sympathies to Jane & John.

Here I am, sitting in my office trying to get work done this morning, and I can't stop crying. What a lovely picture and a lovely tribute. My heart goes out to his family.

I've had at least one dog in my life for 43 years now. One is at home dying of heart failure; the only thing he still can do really well is love us and receive our love in return. He can't see much, can't hear much, and can't move much, but he still can give and receive love. He does both better than any animal I've ever come across. While my wife was ill in bed for six months, he laid with her in bed every day, providing her with a warm heart and those big puppy-dog eyes, never leaving her side. She's better now, and his work is done; he will be gone soon but not forgotten.

Dogs make everything, and everyone, better.

It's funny, whenever I resign to take, yet another, snapshot of the the dog, I feel like I am "copping out" on real photography; however, every time I look at a photo of a dog that has graced our family in the past, I am eternally grateful I took the shot. Take a shot of the family pup every time you break out the camera. Unlike adolescent children, they don't mind a bit.

My condolences. I know how hard it's to lose a truly friend, I do have 8 dogs of 16 I had since 1991. I live in a Forest Reserve outside Bogota, Colombia and my doggies have plenty of space. They're my family and in top of they I got a horse, 5 year old that think he's a dog. He loves to play with them and at the same time they all do great exercise running along.

That's an eloquent eulogy, Mike. I've cried over the passing of many dogs in my long life. Now my current canine companion has a fair chance of outliving me.

Your post has touched me dearly.

I am the proud fatherly companion of two mini-red-smooth dackel dogs. At over 11 years of age, I know they too will have their "final sleep" someday sooner than later and I dread that day even now. They are truly remarkable dogs and it's been a privilege to share my life with them over the past decade.

From chilly Canada, our warmest thoughts go out to Dopp, Jane and John.

Thanks to Mike and Doppelganger, I'm currently reflecting on the future loss of my two beloved cats, and on future losses of people, and on past losses of dogs and people (today is my late mother's birthday and tomorrow, on the common calendar, is her Yahrzeit), and on my own eventual loss, and therefore on impermanence, and therefore on the beauty and pain of life.


Oh no. I know exactly how that feels. I still have Gunther, my kittie best friend, on my desktop...since 2010. I remember clearly that feeling, New Year's Eve 2009, when the vet would be coming to our home to take him, for the last time. He would greet the stranger at the door and leave wrapped in his blanket...I made photos of him all day long, in between playing his favorite games, while he had the energy. Mostly, he slept on our bed all day, wondering why the bleary-eyed human was pointing the thing at him all day. I have *thousands* of photos of him, but the ones taken on his last day say the most.

OMFG...I cannot get over Jonathan Martin-Demoor's Vimeo...so honest and well done...i wish I had done the same...that truly is the value of photojournalism and the value of today's technology...not the ridiculous pixel-peeping nonsense...use the technology of today to document what is truly important.

With our deepest sympathy. We lost our beloved dog, Nikoo, just 2 months ago. Nikoo was with us for almost 14 years and we miss her a lot. I am sure your mom will always cherish all the time that she had with Doppie.

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