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20 June 2013 / leggypeggy

Another heartbreaking loss


Chiyo at Rosedale Beach

It came out of the blue and ended in floods of tears.

Sunday Chiyo was galloping across the school oval chasing birds and Arj, a Portguese water dog we were minding. Monday he was at the vet’s fighting for his life. And the little devil lost that battle.

That’s two dogs in less than two years. Aggie—Agador Spartacus—went in November 2011.


Aggie squished into Chiyo’s bed

No, we aren’t bad pet parents. On the contrary, we’ve had many dogs make it to 15 and a cat who made it to 20.

They get long walks, trips to the beach and homemade food—I’ve cooked for them for ages—but that doesn’t keep them from conking out in their twilight years.

Chiyo came to us as a rescue dog in November 2003. Barney, the boxer cross, had died the previous month, at age 15. He’d been a lot of company for Poor John’s Aunt Esther who lived with us. In his late arthritic years, he especially loved the fact her floor was heated.

Aggie, who’d come to us as another rescue dog in 2002, was certainly no companion dog for a 93-year-old woman, so Esther started hinting for a replacement Barney.


Chiyo came for a  ‘test drive’ and conquered. While he never entirely got over leaving the odd piddle inside, he made up for it by being cute in trumps. He loved cuddles and Esther’s lap. After she went into demented aged care in 2008, he loved anyone else’s lap. He honeyed up to all the exchange students and will be missed by people all over the world.

His laziness, enthusiasm, mischievous behaviour and attitude (and Esther’s failing memory) meant he answered to a lot of names—Dance Shoe, Devil Dog, the Black Prince, the Slug, Super Ted and Adventure Dog. He played it tough. He lunged at any dog (except his friends) within striking distance, but only when he was on the lead. He wasn’t afraid of thunder, lightning or fireworks. But drop a saucepan on the kitchen floor or clap your hands anywhere near him, and he skedaddled in seconds.

Chiyo and Aggie were great mates too. It was very much an annoying-little-brother and tolerant-big-brother relationship. Chiyo regularly pinched Aggie’s larger bed and made a great game of ‘dragging’ Aggie around by his lead.

Named after a sumo wrestler, Chiyo was suitably bow-legged and did his best to throw his solid 9 kilos around. His short legs didn’t stop him from walking 5–6 kilometres up and down Mount Ainslie or around Lake Burley Griffin with a Belgian bouvier, a golden retriever and a beagle. They walked, he trotted.

Chiyo beach

This sudden loss—the vet thinks a tumour may have ruptured in his lungs or heart—is going to create an enormous hole in our lives. Not so much for Poor John and me right now, because we’re off travelling again. But Graeme, who’s minded the animals and house in our absence, is especially going to miss that furry lump on the edge of the bed and the cold, wet nose used as an alarm clock.

He had a great way of convincing you to bring him up on the bed in the morning. He’d jiggle the mattress until you woke up.He was pretty good on night duty too. A couple of days ago and in the middle of the night, Arj decided he could no longer fit through the dog door. He barked and whimpered outside, but neither Poor John nor I woke up. So Chiyo got out of his bed and barked at us until we responded. At which time, he put himself back to bed.

Chiyo’s been buried in the backyard and Aggie’s ashes have finally been scattered with him. The two buddies are together—romping on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

three dogs

Arj, Chiyo and Big Louie—weighing between 9 and 45 kilos.


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne T Ferguson (@mickeydownunder) / Jun 20 2013 12:53 pm

    SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sorry to hear! As Chiyo had such a beautiful personality! And was loved by many to see! hugs! Joanne

    “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 and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; 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 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. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. YOU have been spotted, and 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, and 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 Rainbow Bridge together…….”


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:05 pm

      Thanks for sharing that Joanne. I’m sure Chiyo and Aggie are at the Rainbow Bridge, but I bet Chiyo is lounging on some sofa and Aggie’s telling the other dogs to behave.:)


  2. Maggie / Jun 20 2013 1:04 pm

    SOB! I miss him already. He was a one off.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:06 pm

      Mags, we’ve both been lucky enough to be surrounded by a troop of wonderful one-offs.


  3. Lyn connell / Jun 20 2013 1:11 pm

    We will miss your beautiful dog love lyn and Peter


  4. Judy Gaeddert / Jun 20 2013 1:17 pm

    Hi Peggy, what an interesting read and I loved reading about your special pets. It really is difficult when we lose a part of our family and we do take a lot forgranted with the unconditional love dogs give us. Gretchen has two Labs and two cats, Mike has a Golden Ret.and John in Idaho has a Border Collie. What an impact they make on the family! I really do enjoy Jane’s, Dewey. He is really a wonderful dog. Jane is working so hard getting the house ready to sell and going back and forth from work in the hospital to working at home. The house is looking beautiful as is the yard.

    Enjoy your travels. Judy


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:33 pm

      Hi Judy, the pets are such a big part of our lives. So enriching. I’m glad Dewey is a good dog. Big job for Jane to get the house ready, but she’s a hard worker and a good orqaniser. We’re in Brazil now, just starting our next adventure.


  5. Gary Walker / Jun 20 2013 1:22 pm

    Very sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences go out to you and Poor John and Graeme.

    James’ dogs Moose and !Hercules! aren’t well, either. Their time is coming very soon and I don’t know how we will deal with the grief. Moose is16yo blind and deaf. !Hercules! has terrible diabetes and he soon will succumb to kidney failure.

    Sorry you guys have to deal with this on your trip.

    Please forward my condolences to Graeme. Foster parents hurt and grieve, too.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:09 pm

      Aw thanks, Potsie, and so sorry James and you are having to go through these hard times too. I guess we know these days will come, once we commit to having them, but it never makes it any easier. I’m glad we met Moose and Hercules. Great dogs with big hearts and lots of attitude. Even through the hurt, we always know we’ve been blessed.


  6. jan sessions / Jun 20 2013 1:27 pm

    We can’t believe we’ll never see the beautiful Chiyo again. Such a small dog, such a big personality. Our thoughts are with You and John, Petra and Graeme and Old John and know you’ll all miss him.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:11 pm

      Thanks Jan. Wish everyone had had the chance to get to know Chiyo’s personality. What a corker.


  7. Jean Boyd / Jun 20 2013 1:43 pm

    So sorry to hear this news. Hugs to you guys.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:23 pm

      Thanks Jean. Always hard to say goodbye. 😦


  8. lmo58 / Jun 20 2013 1:58 pm

    What a fitting tribute to a great little mate. I’ll miss Chiyo resting on me too. Generally non-dog competent but very Chiyo-competent Louis


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:12 pm

      Louise, it’s always meant a lot to know that you—as a non-dog person—got a kick out of Chiyo, and that he helped you to know that some dogs are great. 🙂


  9. Nona / Jun 20 2013 3:19 pm

    Never, never easy. I wanted to meet your pooches one day. But instead they are having a great time together with my 4 dogs who went before them. I’m leaving for Tokyo in 6 hours and I already miss my animals and I haven’t left yet.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:15 pm

      So right, it is never easy. I’m sure all our dogs have found one another. Have a wonderful and safe trip.


  10. very sad to hear of your loss – Chiyo was a fantastic doggie pal


  11. Your loving daughter / Jun 20 2013 3:41 pm

    He was a good boy. His little palm-tree tail and seal legs.

    He was also afraid of his dinner and gravel.
    He would go on hunger strike whenever exchange students left.
    He would bite Aggie on the bum to tell him to go and beat up other dogs (which Aggie never did).
    That time he lunged so hard at a dog he broke the clip on his collar and crashed into it. Then when he realised his predicament he doubled back so fast he crashed into his own butt.

    But he definitely missed Aggie once he was gone. His pack boss was gone. Just as well Graeme was there to take on that role (but he never beat up the nemesis dogs either).

    We’ll never have another dog like all the dogs you’ve described above, but we’re certainly all the richer for having had them all.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:00 pm

      Thanks Petra, for remembering so many wonderful things about our Devil Dog. 🙂


  12. lisa Daley / Jun 20 2013 8:33 pm

    Sorry to read your sad news. Poor graeme too xx


    • leggypeggy / Jun 20 2013 8:34 pm

      Thanks Lisa. It was a blow for everyone. Hope all is well with you.


  13. Janet Rosenzweig / Jun 20 2013 11:03 pm

    Such a cutie, must have brought great joy to your lives, so sorry for your loss.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 21 2013 5:02 am

      Thanks Janet. He really was adorable, and naughty enough to be interesting.


  14. RICK / Jun 20 2013 11:57 pm




    • leggypeggy / Jun 21 2013 5:03 am

      Very heard to lose two dogs close together. So sorry to hear you just been through it too.


  15. Sy S. / Jun 21 2013 12:17 am

    Dear Leggy Peggy and Poor John,

    Sad, very sad to read about losing Chiyo recently and last year Aggie! Two big losses and both times while you have been traveling… hard to get such bad news being away from home. I am sure you well be getting another dog, when you return from your trip to South America. My Irish Terrier turned 3 years old the other day….. and he wishes you both good dog luck in finding another beautiful dog for you and your family to all enjoy and love!




    • leggypeggy / Jun 21 2013 5:05 am

      You’re right, Sy, I bet we get another dog, but not sure when. We felt lucky to be home when Chiyo died. We left the next day — a couple of hours after burying him in the backyard. What a way to start a trip. 😦


  16. Steve Favinger / Jun 21 2013 11:21 am

    Our sympathies to all of you. I have had a few good friends that have called me their human and it was hard to say goodbye to each of them. I hope to someday make it to the Rainbow Bridge and be with my friends again.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 21 2013 8:06 pm

      Thanks Steve. Amazing how privileged we are to be a dog’s human.


  17. lmo58 / Jun 21 2013 12:37 pm

    Peggy, another thought. I think you should consider getting a cat again. Certainly I’m a little biased but cats are excellent value. And you can still go for long walks and not only but also some cats can be walked on a lead. I believe that Burmese are especially good at that. Just something to think about.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 21 2013 8:07 pm

      I had a Burmese–Siamese cat named Spook, who used to go on walks with me without a lead. She’s the cat who lived until she was 20. Not sure I could convince Poor John to have another cat, but you never know. 🙂


  18. Karen cartwright / Jun 22 2013 7:23 am

    Dear Peggy and John, sometimes words just don’t seem to be enough to express ourselves when one of our furry faces crosses the rainbow bridge. Chiyo life with you was full of happiness and love, and that makes a dogs life complete. Our thoughts are with you and we look forward to sharing in the adventures you and your next dog will have.

    Karen and Rodney Cartwright


    • leggypeggy / Jun 22 2013 3:38 pm

      Thanks Karen and Rodney for your wonderful words and thoughts. They mean a lot and make me tearful all over again. We’re in Brazil with an exchange student who was in Canberra in 2004. He has wonderful memories of both Aggie and Chiyo. They touched a lot of lives.


  19. artandkitchen / Jun 24 2013 1:39 pm

    We heard about Chiyo even before we met in February. He was really a special dog and I know he had a wonderful life with your family.
    I know you will miss and coming home it will be very hard but Chiyo.
    I don’t think that a person or an animal can be replaced, but in some way the life will go forward and the sun will shine again.
    Strong Hugs!


    • leggypeggy / Jun 24 2013 9:03 pm

      Thank you for the wonderful words and big hugs. Most appreciated.


  20. gpcox / Jun 26 2013 9:29 pm

    Can’t comment – makes me tear up.


  21. barkinginthedark / Aug 12 2019 7:04 am

    i keep seeing my cats. i cry when most animals die…not so most humans. nutty eh? continue…

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Aug 12 2019 10:11 am

      Not so nutty! Can’t believe it happened six years ago. Still miss the little devil.


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