Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The winsome face in the photograph above does not belong to Edward, although the resemblance is uncanny. 
No, the furry boy sitting beneath the tree in his garden in France is Digby.
Digby, along with his brother, Wilf, is a Polish Lowland Sheepdog whose daily adventures are charmingly chronicled by his master, Angus, in a blog entitled Wilf and Digby Discover France.  Both brothers share enough of Edward’s valuable DNA that they have felt like family from the moment of my very first visit.  Their delightful blog is my first stop each and every morning.  Shockingly, Digby passed away today, the result of a voracious tick bite disease, and I now find myself grieving for a dog I never even met.  

There is a soul connection one makes with one’s dog.  It is as if they hand you a lifeline to another world, a world of goodness and understanding, full of comfort, acceptance and joy. My favourite quotation has always been this one by C.S. Lewis: 
 “Man with dog closes a gap in the universe”.  
I have heart knowledge of what he means.  And I know Angus does as well.
But dogs, it seems, are born to break our hearts.  If only their boundless love, always unconditional, always pure, could be matched in kind with the years they are alotted here on this earth. Such precious few years, flying by like the wind.
I have followed Digby’s short, and horribly sudden, illness these past two weeks, seeing his furry face in my head every hour, getting up in the middle of the night to check and see if perhaps there was a welcome update, hoping and praying for the sweet chap to pull through.  I was heartbroken to learn he had not. So I hug Edward a bit tighter today, I encourage him to hop up beside me, to place his big furry head in my lap.  The depth of feeling that I have for him is worth the pain eventually to come.

There are those who think the notion of heaven is nothing more than a fantasy to soothe a fearful soul.  I am not one of those people.  I believe in an afterlife of goodness and peace.  But my heart does not long for a heavenly mansion.  I have no desire to travel down avenues cobbled in bricks of pure gold.  All I wish for is a small little cottage, perhaps one near to the sea, where I might eternally dwell with all the dogs who have shared my time here on earth, from the devoted little terrier of my childhood, to big, kind, wonderful Edward, each one at play on flower filled hillsides, each one resting beside me beneath the gentle rays of a holy sun.
And I believe Digby is there at this moment, waiting on his family, waiting on Wilf.

It is a unique pain to lose a dog, a visceral pain like none other I have experienced.  It is because I am well acquainted with what Digby’s passing has brought to Angus and his wife, that I find myself grieving alongside them through so many miles, wishing there was something I could do, some small comfort I could give.
I know my readers to be a kind and generous group.  Please take the time to go over HERE and see what a marvelous fellow Digby was, meet his big brother, and send your love to the family.

This is one of the sweetest poems that I know.  
I send it out to my friend Angus, with my love and deepest sympathy.     

Man and Dog

Who's this—alone with stone and sky?
It's only my old dog and I—
It's only him; it's only me;
Alone with stone and grass and tree.

What share we most—we two together?
Smells, and awareness of the weather.
What is it makes us more than dust?
My trust in him; in me his trust.

Here's anyhow one decent thing
That life to man and dog can bring;
One decent thing, remultiplied
Till earth's last dog and man have died.

by Siegfried Sassoon


  1. Of course I never knew Digby, but I understand so well the pain of losing one of these beautiful loving creatures. I like you, would just wish heaven to be a simple but beautiful place with all of my dogs past and present, there would be one boxer, two jack russells, 3 old english sheepdogs, and then the 2 jacks and one old english that I have now! There is nothing quite like the sorrow we feel when they leave us, it is awful, but yet this is the price we pay for all the love and happy times they give us. Suzie xxx

  2. What a tender post...wish you'd been around when I lost my own beloved dog.

  3. it is so very true, and a bit frightening too. we hurt but all the joy they bestow is ten fold to that hurt. pgt

  4. Touching and true, and will speak to many who love dogs, whose lives have been enriched by them.

  5. Thank you for putting into words what wouldn't come for me. I know it will give Angus and his family comfort.

    Having just lost a dog myself, I know the incredible pain they are feeling now. Heartpain is like no other.

  6. Oh Pamela, what a tender post and one that leaves me at this moment almost speechless. I don't have an Edward. I have two cats that I feel the same way about. My little mama cat is my soul mate. We share something deep and profound, something I share with no human being. Right now, she is starting to go blind, and bumping into things and getting confused..She can no longer jump up into her favorite window seat...My heart lurches in pain as I watch her, but her brave little being carries on and I hug her and lie down with her even more than before...I need her...I know she will pass away...which makes me need her even more....Your post has given me courage...Thank you...Cynthia

  7. I have a furry boy, Samson, a very large and gentle Siberian Husky, our third. I grieved for so long when my Sammy died, and also for Solomon. Samson is such a dear boy, I can't think of life without him. Poor Angus and his wife. I know heaven will have dogs. The Lord made them for our lives here, and He loves us so much and knows how we feel about our pets, He mose certainly will think to include them where we'll be in Heaven.

  8. Pamela,

    A heart connection -- that is exactly what we have with our dogs -- and with the dogs of others whom we come to love as our own.

    In wire fox terrier land, the loss of Digby is compounded by the loss last night of a wonderful pal, Jackson, known as our foxy leader. Unlike Digby, whose illness has been so sudden, Jackson has been fighting life-threatening ailments for several years.

    I know it's heart-breaking enough to lose one brave dog; but if you have the strength, visit our blog and then check out Jackson's on the side.

    Wirey love to someone who shares that precious heart connection!

    Joan with the Barkalots, Jake and Just Harry

  9. My husband and I were just talking about this subject yesterday. I am always saddened to learn of the passing of a four legged family member. This was a wonderful post, albeit said, with the perfect poem at the end for those of us who understand well its meaning, and for those who do not who perhaps now will.

  10. what a beautiful post pamela...i too have been lurking hoping that digby pulled through and am so sad he didn't....but like you believe that i will be reunited with all the dogs and cats i have ever owned..walking along a sunlit beach into eternity..xx

  11. Well said;
    so true! There is no purer, truer love!

  12. Such a loving tribute to Digby from so far away yet close. You brought a sigh and a tear to my eye and I spent a few moments reading about Digby, Wilf and Angus.

  13. A beautiful tribute Pamela to Digby.
    Wherever we may travel after passing from this Earth I could only hope that the journey will be accompanied by our beloved pets. I shall have my own Noah's Ark.
    Susan x

  14. My heart is saddened too. I love my little ones and although I have grieved that pain before and will again..it is worth any amount of MY pain to have shared time with these furry-hearts.

    I am sorry for this loss..

  15. darn, i was hoping beyond hope that is not where your story was headed.

    digby, named after an illustrious british family. and what an enormously lovely dog, his spirit leaps from the page.

    not having children, i attach myself to my two dogs with such love, it's power is sometimes frightening because they do indeed have such short lives.

    your saying; "they are born to break your heart' resonated with me. true words, but oh the sheer joy while they are here! i share your vision of heaven pamela, that would mend any heart.

    my pooches will get an extra hug tonight.

  16. my heart aches for Digby's family during this difficult time. My heat still aches for our sweet Kelly who passed away in January. Many hugs... xo

  17. Oh Pamela, this is a kind thing that you have done, to honor another's dog. I am going to hop right over there & leave a note for Angus but I just wanted to say that I am with you in all these sentiments and am hugging my own beloved dawg more tightly tonight as I accept with painful resolve that most unfair - UNFAIR - truth of loving a dog to my very core and knowing that one day I will have to watch her leave me...

    Thank you for your care here.

  18. Goodness me. We're so touched by the warmth and grace of what you've said. As someone who shares a house with a PON you'll know excatly what it's like. This morning we're already beginning to miss the stereophonic mischief. Looking back through the blog we were surprised to find that Digby fought for twenty days - it seemed like barely a week to us. Recently the blog must have been a real downer to read as it charted the highs and lows and unexpected twists to the story. Through it all the tender support, thought, advice and concern of fellow dog owners was a real filip. If you want to find the best in people look no further than the posts of you and your friends. Thank you so much.

  19. Hello P&E,

    I have just visited Digby's site and must say that Angus writes beautifully of his last moments. Yours is a touching tribute.

  20. Pamela
    Firstly, your post is so touching and as always you find just the right words to express your emotions.
    I went over to read about poor little Digby and feel the loss for his family. Such an adorable dog and to read Angus's last post makes your heart just melt.

    This has also been a wake up call to me. We had a visit to the vet yesterday and I left with a list of things that could come in harms way including tics. I admit I take the health of our dog, Tika, for granted. When the vet mentioned that she was starting to get on in years my heart skipped a beat. I could not imagine a life without her. Your post brought all of that home. I will take extra care...


  21. Oh Pamela, this post has moved me to tears, especially as some close friends have sadly just said goodbye to their dog Lou Lou, at present they are inconsolable and Crusoe has lost one of his best friends and co conspirators.
    I read a quote somewhere recently that the only fault that dogs have is that they don't live long enough.
    Losing a beloved dog is one of the most painful things.

  22. What a sweet and comforting thing for Digby's owner to read in his time of pain.

  23. I am so sorry about Digby...I can well imagine how very sad his parents are. xv

  24. Dear Pamela,
    I have been over to Angus's blog and left a message. I am sad and I didn't even know him so, it must be so hard for Angus.... and, the story of the man who fetched the tiles was just wonderful. What a beautiful tribute you have written, Pamela. and, I'm sure that it gives Angus much comfort feeling your support.Be comforted by the memories that Angus will have and try not to be too sad. I will be thinking of you. XXXX

  25. So bittersweet.

    The poem is as lovely as Digby.

    xo xo

  26. I do whole heartedly believe that all dogs go to heaven..yeah, and maybe even a few cats...so sorry for your loss, the pain never goes away, but does lessen some with time. God bless you!

  27. What a sensitive and thoughtful post. Thinking of Digby. xx

  28. What beautiful words. Loving animals is so easy. My little dog Anima (Maltese) was my very first dog that was all mine. I called her my little fur baby. The love they give is warm and intuitive.

    Warm wishes to you and your family.

  29. Oh Pamela, you're so right about how we can grieve a dog. Our lovely Lola who is visible in my blog header dies suddenly last October and we all wept bitterly. SHe loved to look after us, and followed us around patiently wherever we went. 6 months on and we can't bring ourselves to replace her. Yet at the same time there is a big gap in the house.

  30. Dear Pamela
    What a sweet sweet post. I'm sorry to hear about poor Digby.. such a sweet little doggie face... and I totally agree with you on the afterlife.. a cottage by the sea would be enough for me.. in this life too... Thanks for sharing this lovely boy with us.. xx Jullie

  31. what a lovely post, poor Digby. Pets do find a special place in all our hearts

  32. This tender post brings back memories. as you say it is truly painful to lose one of our dear furry friends.I'm off to hug my two right now.

  33. I feel as though I mourn for the eventual death of my dear pets each time I read or hear of another pet's death...The fact that we keep getting pets is proof of how important these bonds are...This is a beautiful tribute that brought tears to my eyes and hugs to both my dog and cat...

  34. Oh yes, Pamela, I don't know what I would do without my dogs. Everything about them is pure from the love to their peculiar senses of humor to -- well you know.

    I so love visiting your absolutely perfect blog -- in every way from the sentiments, to the quality of writing, the pictures, you.


  35. So very sad, such a beautiful wee face. :(

  36. All the things you are saying is the reason why we never got a dog (both coming from families where they had pets)... we traveled too much! When you have a dog, it is really like having a child around...
    Hope you'll have your Edward for a very long time!

  37. Cute photo, and I did think it was Edward at first. You are reminding me that I should get off my computer and walk my dear dog. They are wonderful and patient companions. You capture the bond we share with our animals so well. Condolences to Digby’s family.

  38. I can hardly read that post-just lost my dearest friend a few months ago. My beloved Truman aka best dog in the world...it's a heartbreak. Love our dog!!!!

  39. What a sweet friend you are to people and animals!
    I was heartbroken when I lost my cat many years ago,and did not want another in order to stay loyal to her for the longest time.

    However, as time passes,pets become pleasant memories a lot less painful, and pleasant times we are glad we had.

  40. Oh I will go right over and read about this marvelous Digby. I am with a sick Lucca right now and can barely think of anything else. My message is short-bless Digby and bless you for having such a loving voice for all animals.

  41. What a lovely post in honour of Digby - I have visited and read all about him and Wilf. What a wonderful friend he was to those who knew him and those who didn't but shared in his life. It is so so hard to say goodbye to our beloved pets.

  42. This is such a sad post, like you and Angus I know the pain of losing a beloved dog. Digby's tragic end reminds me that I must give B Baggins his tick treatment today, I hadn't realised that tick bites could have such dreadful results.
    The poem by Siegfried Sassoon is lovely. I too hope that one day I shall be reunited with all the dogs who have been my friends and companions in this life.

  43. That is so sad about Digby. I don't have a dog but my sister loves her dogs (sometimes more than my brother-in-law) and dealing with a loss is unimaginable pain for her.

    On a happy note, her dogs make her days very happy days (and nights). One of her dogs, Shirley, is her bed buddy and they don't sleep well when they are apart!

  44. Lovely post Pamela. It truly is one of life's great joys to love and be loved by a dog. The world is certainly an emptier and lonelier place when we lose one of these divine creatures. RIP darling Digby. Leigh

  45. I like you, would just wish heaven to be a simple but beautiful place with all of my dogs past and presen
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