One Exceptional Dog

First off, let me apologize for not writing to you last week. There’s no excuse. I just forgot. By the time I remembered, it was Wednesday, so I just thought I’d skip it and write to you this week.

So, here I am.

I had something all planned to talk to you about this week, but this morning I threw it out the window to talk about something different.

What changed?

Well, this morning I got up at 4:15 and went to the gym. It’s what I do every day. After my workout, I returned home and looked at Facebook. It didn’t take long for me to see a posting from my friend Paul in England. It showed a picture of his Border Collie and said, “This is the final picture of Midge. The vet is coming to the house within the hour to help him across the Rainbow Bridge.” Midge had been in failing health and had made his last visit to the local pub over the weekend to say goodbye.

Those of you who know me, know that I don’t cry—or express much emotion at all. But pets? Animals? Yeah, I cry like a baby. And the passing of Midge hit me hard.

Midge was a rescued Border Collie. Paul had adopted him from Wiccaweys Rescued Border Collies and Sheepdogs in England. Here’s the link if you live in the UK: Now, I’m a big fan of Wiccaweys because, when I lived in England, that’s who I adopted my rescue Border Collie from. More on that later. Back to Midge.

Midge and Paul had an extraordinary relationship. The two of them had hiked from Lands End (the very southernmost point in England) to John O’Groates (the northernmost mainland tip of Scotland) at least once…maybe more. They regularly hiked across the breadth of England. Even when Midge’s eyesight failed him, he still made that crossing with Paul. Midge had some health issues as he got older but in his mind, he was still that puppy fresh from Wiccaweys.

I’m pretty sure that Paul has had other dogs, but Midge was special. Midge and Paul knew each other better than they knew themselves. Midge’s passing has left a big empty hole for all of us who are part of the “Wicc’s family.” RIP Midge.

This brings me to my connection to the Wiccawey’s family. When I was living in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, my then wife Tracey and I decided to adopt a dog. I found Wiccaweys and was introduced to male Border Collie puppy who would come to occupy a huge part of my heart. We named him London.

London as a puppy

London as a puppy

Since London was a Border Collie, we tried him at Border Collie things: flyball, herding, agility. He gave all of it a try, but he just wasn’t into it. What was London’s favorite thing? Swimming. To be precise, diving and swimming.

We took him to competitions in Maidstone, Kent, and London. He always won, but pretty soon we just stopped entering him because we could see his passion for water. We’d take him to the rowing lake in Peterborough, another park where there was a lake, the locks along the River Nene. Then we’d take him to Norfolk and visit various beaches along the North Sea. One of his favorite beaches (still is his favorite) was Hunstanton. He figured out how to body-surf in Cornwall. He swims out, catches a wave and rides it back to shore. London is 11 years old now and still loves it.

When I divorced in England and moved to Nashville, one of the hardest things in the world was leaving London behind. In my heart, I wanted London here with me, but that would have been for me. In England he can go to pubs, go swimming virtually every day, walk off lead easier—just generally enjoy what he was used to. He wouldn’t have as much freedom here in Music City.

His “new” mother Patricia emails pictures of London regularly and considers him “our” boy. Today she told me that London spent two hours in the sea yesterday. He tires a little easier now than he did when he lived with me, but we all tire a little easier when we’re older.

London being his majestic self

London being his majestic self

London is alive, happy, and active. And I love my updates from his mother in England.

I still keep up with all of the dogs from Wiccaweys. Great work is done by this rescue. And you and I know that all rescues to a hard job and they all deserve our support.

Anyway…my point in all of this is that I’ve had several dogs in my life. But much like Paul and Midge, London occupies a very special place in my life.

My wife Jo-Leah and I have a beautiful Australian Shepherd that we rescued. Her name is Dixie and she’s a great dog. We love her like crazy—as we do our pet cats. I love them all…but…they’re not London.

Dixie. If there were dating sights for pets, this would be her profile picture

Dixie. If there were dating sights for pets, this would be her profile picture

I’ve had several dogs, a ferret, raccoon, rats, and several cats as pets, but I think, as pet owners…if we’re lucky, I mean really lucky, we get one exceptional pet

Midge was Paul’s. London is mine.

That one that’s special.

So what really started as a sad day with the notification that Midge had passed, ended with me being able to celebrate him, London, and all of us who are lucky enough to have paw-prints on our hearts.

I’m going to leave you with a video. The song is called Raising Humans, and it was written by my friend and Nashville hit songwriter Michael White after the passing of one of his dogs three years ago. Enjoy. And make a donation to your favorite pet rescue. Watch Raising Humans here:


Cameron Wallace