Ziggy – a beautiful life…

The ‘Prettiest Star’ shines bright in the sky tonight. My beautiful, furry, companion Ziggy, passed yesterday. She was spared the ravages of suffering from a malignant tumour. She was nine years old.

Ziggy had a troubled start to her life. She came to us when she was two and a half. She overcame her issues and she was an absolute joy. A true bundle of fun and mischief in equal measure.

Ziggy didn’t like water when she came to us. It didn’t take long for her to become a fan. It did mean that I spent a lot of time in the water with her, her preferred state of affairs! I often feared I might develop trench foot or, maybe, webbed feet.


We think her previous owner had been a David Bowie fan. Ziggy had different coloured eyes so her name was fitting.  She also had a  generous sprinkling of ‘Stardust.’ Some of Bowie’s lyrics touch upon a way of thinking about the loss of our furry companion. I will go back to that a little later.

In the past few weeks, she had begun to struggle.  We don’t think she was suffering but, something was wrong. We finally got the bad news, a large tumour. We took that awful decision, the final kindness we can offer our dogs and took away her pain.

A beautiful soul who has touched many people, she will be sadly missed and never forgotten. She had been with us for a glorious, fun-filled six years. A life well-lived. Our lives were enriched through our privilege of sharing some time with her.

Sue, my better half, is, of course, grief-stricken. However, she is a mindfulness expert and has studied the philosophies of Buddhism. Stay with me here, I’m not going to get spiritual but one, particular, concept is, to me, quite helpful.  Whatever our beliefs (I, personally am not religious) the concept of ‘Bardo’ is quite a comforting one.

Buddhism believes in reincarnation. Buddhists believe that when a being passes there is a period ‘Bardo’ where the ‘spirit’ remains before it moves on. The ‘Bardo’ lasts for 49 days. During this time, Buddhists believe the ‘spirit’ can move rapidly and over great distance. They believe the ‘spirit’ will revisit its past home. To help our dogs move on Buddhists believe keeping their things around such as toys, food and bedding can help them with their journey. The idea is that they need to know their ‘stuff’ is still there and their people are OK. It might sound strange but, I found this thought comforting.

In fact, staying with the David Bowie link, I was sure I remembered a lyric from many years ago about ‘Bardo.’ It, in fact, comes from Quicksand a track from Hunky Dory (1971). This was written by Bowie when he had a strong interest in Buddhism. Here is a small part of the song:

If I don’t explain what you ought to know

You can tell me all about it on the next Bardo

I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought

And I ain’t got the power anymore

Don’t believe in yourself, don’t deceive with belief

Knowledge comes with death’s release

Aah-aah, aah-aah, aah-aah, aah-aah

The passing of a furry companion is devastating and incredibly painful. Ziggy is the fifth rescue dog we have lost. We feel privileged to have been able to share our lives with her. We will miss her playfulness, her zest for life, her stealing of underwear, her ‘Kato’ like attacks on me, our rough and tumbles, our cuddles, our walks in the woods, visits to the seaside, our paddling in rivers. In fact, we will miss everything about her.

Although our pain is deep, we will remember a beautiful dog, a gentle soul who shared a great life with us. Rest easy my furry lovely…