RIP Ted and Poppy

Charles 13 Comments

It’s been a tough few days here at HQ, to be honest. Ted, our faithful, faulty bull terrier was put down on Wednesday morning. He had lymphoma.

Ted was rescued from Essex where he had been brutally treated. Thereafter, it was difficult to know which of his eccentric/dysfunctional traits to assign to nature and which to nurture. Always a dog of very low self-esteem, he also had the uproarious sense of humour common to bullys (other delightful traits include complete untrainability) and, while gentle as can be most of the time, he had a hilarious penchant for nipping people’s backsides. He got to know a good many undertakers and was one of the country’s leading experts on natural burial grounds (from a particular point of view).

Some years ago he went to see the team at Arka, where he met Jean Francis’s golden labrador, Poppy. The two of them chased each other round and round the office and nearly wrecked it while Jean and I collapsed in laughter.

Poppy died just a few weeks ago, so Jean and I have been exchanging condolences. We both agree that it’s much easier to be sensible when humans die. 

Jean sent me the following poem. If you’re a sensible sort, you may think it thoroughly sentimental. Well, Jean and I don’t. 

The Rainbow Bridge Poem

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old, are restored to health and vigour. Those who were hurt, or maimed are made whole and strong again. Just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing. They each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together…but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers.

Suddenly…he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster, and faster.

You have been spotted.

When you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.

The happy kisses rain upon your face. Your hands again caress the beloved head. You look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then… you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.


  1. Charles

    Rest in peace Ted. So sorry to hear the news Chas. Thinking of you, mourning with you. And yes, it’s so much easier to be sensible when the deceased is human.

    Sending love xxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Charles

    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.

    Buy a pup and your money will buy
    Love unflinching that cannot lie —
    Perfect passion and worship fed
    By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
    Nevertheless it is hardly fair
    To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

    When the fourteen years which Nature permits
    Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
    And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
    To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
    Then you will find — it’s your own affair —
    But . . . you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

    When the body that lived at your single will,
    With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
    When the spirit hat answered your every mood
    Is gone — wherever it goes — for good,
    You will discover how much you care,
    And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

    We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
    When it comes to burying Christian clay.
    Our loves are not given, but only lent,
    At compound interest of cent per cent.
    Though it is not always the case, I believe,
    That the longer we’ve kept’em, the more do we grieve;

    For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
    A short-time loan is as bad as a long —
    So why in — Heaven (before we are there)
    Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

  3. Charles

    I recall a reading (not quite a play) that I’ve heard on the radio a couple of times over the years about an elderly man, living alone in a small cottage. His only companion was his dog – a faithful hound of advancing years itself.

    The day came when a visit from the vet found the elderly man on his own once more.

    Weeks passed, then one day the old chap woke up from his doze in his favourite chair. His felt strangely refreshed. He stood up and stretched his arms and legs. The pain he usually felt when he moved wasn’t nagging at him.

    It was a nice sunny day, and he walked to the front door of the cottage to smell the spring air. He opened the door and looked out, and lined up along the length of the path to the garden gate were all the dogs he had ever owned or befriended over his lifetime, waiting to greet him.

  4. Charles

    Oh oh oh the cruel missing of the sound of paws on floors. The missing of the nose poked round a door. The missing of the weight on the bed.

    So sorry re Ted and Poppy.

    Love x

  5. Charles

    A Dog’s Life
    By Daniel Groves

    A stay of execution: one last day,
    your day, old Everydog, then, as they say,
    or as we say (a new trick to avoid
    finalities implicit in destroyed),
    you have to be put down, or put to sleep—
    the very dog who, once, would fight to keep
    from putting down, despite our shouts, a shoe
    until he gnawed it to the sole, and who
    would sit up, through our sleepless nights, to bark
    away some menace looming in the dark.

    Can you pick up the sense of all this talk?
    Or do you still just listen for a walk,
    or else, the ultimate reward, a car?—
    My God, tomorrow’s ride . . . Well, here we are,
    right now. You stare at me and wag your tail.
    I stare back, dog-like, big and dumb. Words fail.
    No more commands, ignore my monologue,
    go wander off. Good dog. You’re a good dog.
    And you could never master, anyway,
    the execution, as it were, of Stay

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