Curious Tails: Local Dogs Mourned My Best Mate Too

It’s been a year since two of my best mates passed away.

My black Labrador Pacey had cancer and, while the vets tried their best to remove it, it grew back in a year and – at age 10 – I knew his time was nigh. What I didn’t know is that my 15 year old cat Joey would become suddenly sick and require end of life care. She passed away first and then Pacey died peacefully in the garden a few weeks later. It was a rough time.

The day Pacey died I was looking after a friend’s Kelpie, Ziggy. My friend and I often reflect that Pacey waited until I had the company of another dog before calling it a day. Ziggy stayed overnight that night. My friend offered to make alternative arrangements to give me space to grieve. I told her not on her life! I wanted Ziggy there. Pacey knew me too well. Ziggy didn’t eat that night.

Pictures - Pet Portrait - Cattle DogPacey also used to get visits from Patch, a neighbourhood cattle dog, on a regular basis. Patch used to rattle on our front gate at all hours of the day and night asking to be let in to play with Pacey. We hadn’t seen Patch for about three months (I assume his owners got their fence fixed), but an hour after Pacey died, Patch showed up to pay his condolences.

My next door neighbour also had (still has!) a black lab the same age as Pacey, but a female. We used to joke that one day we’d be unable to tell them apart. One night there was a massive storm and their black lab was terrified so made her way over to my place. It was hilarious having them both in the house. They both had faded orange collars. I honestly couldn’t keep track of who was who.

Anyway, a few days after Pacey died, I told my neighbour what had happened. He exclaimed ‘Oh it all makes sense now! Buffy has been sulking for days and we couldn’t figure out why!’.

Pictures - Pet Portrait - Two Black Labradors

Dogs are curious creatures. Do you have any similarly mysterious stories? Would love to hear from you!

It’s been a year since my dog boy died and, in the last week, I’ve had visits from four dogs (and counting). Two visits from the dogs that live behind us and one from Patch – who we haven’t seen since the day Pacey died. Perhaps he came over to pay his respects again! And one from Ziggy.

I’m not ready to get a new dog yet. But we are going to foster or co-parent 15-year-old Ziggy to help her during her retirement years while her dog mum is off doing amazing things in regional communities.

This week, I’ve been saying to my fiancé all this is Pacey’s way of saying ‘I’m sending you all these dogs to remind you that it’s been a year since I died. I’m sending you Ziggy permanently because clearly you need a furry friend.’

One of the most favourite parts of my job is looking through all the beautiful pet portraits customers send through. Some of you include your pets as part of a wall series of family portraits. Some of you create collages of pets doing all sorts of fun things (swimming, dress ups) and in all sorts of different poses – oh those puppy dog eyes! And some of you create ‘in memoriam’ collages featuring photos from your dogs when they were bright eyed, floppy eared puppy through to their slower, wiser, senior years.

What a wonderful tribute a Pet Portrait would be for my Pacey. Maybe then he’ll easily be able to look down from puppy heaven and realised I haven’t forgotten him. And never will.

Pictures - Pet Portrait - Black Labrador Collage

For a pawsitively perfect pet portrait, dig up some of your best pictures, hop online and create your own.

Oh – and in case you’re wondering, yes, I shamelessly confess, I named my cat Joey and my dog Pacey after the characters from Dawson’s Creek. Pacey and Joey together forever always and at last.


There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Suzie at Mar 21, 2015

    Beautiful post, brought tears to my eyes….animals are truly remarkable beings.

    Ziggy was the name of my little russoodle, who passed away a couple of years ago. What an emotional, devoted little sweetheart he was, too! Loved our ‘BBQ circle’, when friends came here or we’d go to one of their places….he’d stand on his hinds in front of each individual, waving his front paws and talking excitedly to them, waiting for their responses…a very sociable boy. Loved the water too….one day, we were down at the river and suddenly i didn’t know where he was, then i saw him….perched upon a young boy’s boogie-board and being towed along, grinning all over his face and having a whale of a time! He also took it upon himself to help round up any chooks who weren’t heading in the right direction at their bedtime – i only had to say, “Where are those naughty girls??” and he’d give a couple of barks before bounding away to find them. When he did, he’d gently head them in the direction of the chookhouse, then put a restraining paw lightly on their backs to stop them in their tracks, so i could pick them up and carry them to bed. He was only a small dog, but he had a whopping loving heart..

    • Eli Jenkins at Mar 22, 2015

      Wow, Ziggy sounds like he was a wonderful dog! I like the idea of a russoodle. 🙂

      I sure had tears writing it, Suzie, so thank you for sharing in that.


  2. Dan at Mar 3, 2015

    Great post. I still have fond memories of Pacey trying to sit in my lap despite being a big dog. He needed a cuddle after all! 🙂