27 December 2018


This is a post I was hoping I wouldn't have to write for many years yet, but fate had other ideas. On Christmas Eve I said goodbye to my beautiful Pip. She was born on 10th August 2010, daughter of Trevor (a "turkey dog" that was on television once), and Rua, Ben's mummy. I first met Pip when she was a few days old, just another puppy in a pile of them. When she was four weeks old I saw her again, and then two weeks later I brought her home.

While I was doing photography work experience at a local newspaper, the photographers very kindly offered to print out one of my photos for me and I chose this one of my then new puppy. It hangs framed above the fireplace to this day.

Pip loved hugs and Land Rover adventures.

This photo was taken on Pip's first Christmas Day and it remains one of my favourite photos of her.

She loved to play. With those long legs she was built for speed.

She was a beautiful little soul.

This was her first trip to the beach. It was quite windy. This photo won a summer photography competition on a fellow dog blog back in 2011.

I love this picture too. She's growing fast but my goodness, she's fluffy!

Sometimes it was hard to take pictures of her because she was standing right next to me. She was very loyal to me.

Great ears!

A classic picture - Suckie and Pip (who's about ten months old here).

Pip had great affection for her big half brother Ben. They were both the same shade of brown.

That first summer Pip became sun bleached and her fur was never such a rich dark brown again.

The family as it looked in 2011 - Sheila, Ben and Pip.

This photo was in the portfolio that got me onto my photography course.

Another family portrait - I did like taking those! Sheila, Ben and Pip again. (Did they have their positions worked out in advance?)

Another photo of Pip that was in my portfolio. That pink thing in the background is a toy she was sent for having her picture win the aforementioned competition (Sue still plays with it!).

I got a new camera for my course, so naturally the first thing I did with it was photograph my dogs! Here Teddy and Ben are haggling over a toy and Pip is doing... something. She often just rolled around next to dogs that were already playing. Maybe she got caught up in the moment?

A very serious sibling situation.

Pip was an incredibly gentle dog. She treated baby Teddy with care - and didn't tell him off when he got muddy!

A supermodel.

Teddy grew up!

You can see just how fluffy she was.

Another family portrait, now with added Teddy.

I could borrow lenses for my camera from tech and Pip tolerated my experiments.

She always wanted to be with you. We spent many hours together in hot tractor cabs on sunny summer days.

If she was feeling too hot, her solution was to lie down in a puddle, the muddier the better.

Another Christmas Day and yet another family portrait. Teddy, Pip, Ben and Sheila.

Ben loved his little sister.

Pip was very patient with photo shoots, just happy to be at my side.

This is a favourite, shot on a film camera. She would lie down like this and wag her tail slightly until you went over to hug her.

However there was one thing that would get her to take her eyes off me - the quad. She ran laps around the quad, and when it stopped she would stand in front of it, staring just like this.

She was good at pen work, even if her methods were unusual. She would throw herself at the sheep, quite literally.

Her gentleness extended to children. When members of the extended family visited, Pip was the perfect model.

Bale deliveries, Christmas Day 2014.

She was so good with lambs. She could be trusted to do no harm in every situation.

Probably my favourite picture of Pip. This was in an old lady's empty garage on a very old farm. The lady was my granny's cousin who lived alone and died in an accident on the road. Pip and I kept an eye on the farm during the funeral and we helped when people arrived to clear the house.

Pip joined me at the Castlewellan Show a few times. She had a very nervous nature, no matter how much socialising I did with her as a puppy. She didn't feel safe on the ground, but a chair was just what she needed.

Pip on the doorstep again, but now with a different puppy. Jess had arrived!

Pip in the rain.

The customary family portrait to include the new addition in the line-up. Sheila, Teddy, Ben, Pip and Jess.

She was nervous even of the camera, so when I asked her to stay she would squint or hunch over or both.

Pip even shared a book with the late, great Mister Pip.

On a day out with Murphy.

Working hard.

I could set her anywhere and she'd stay there.

This was a common sight year-round - Pip, panting after running after the quad at full speed.

From a young age I set her on stuff, so she had no trouble jumping up onto bales to pose.

Pip and Ben both loved tractor rides, but having them both in the cab at the same time was a bit too much!

Pip and a couple of pumpkins.

Photos where she wasn't hunched or squinting were so rare and beautiful.


One of Pip's favourite things was a good cuddle. She always had to be upside down for them to be right. I would often walk in on Dad and Pip cuddling like this and she'd give me a very guilty look!

Run, run, run...

When quads were not in motion they could be sat upon.

She was so photogenic.

My 21st birthday photo. There was no one else I would rather share it with.

She was a mentor to many pet lambs, like Margo here.

After a cold morning outside, shooting pictures in the frost, a cup of milky tea was in order.

She was always cleaning chins. You have to look presentable for Aunty Pip!

Jess, Pip and Teddy.

She was the go-to dog for lamb-friendly adventures.

Pip and Bart. Bart the blind pet lamb loved playing with Pip!

A bit soggy.

Mourne adventures.

In October 2017, Pip started showing signs of pain. She was always running around and jumping off things and she could have bumped into something, but when the pain didn't go away after a few days I took her to the vet. I took this photo just before she went. You can see in her eyes that something is wrong.

The vet gave her a large dose of painkillers and had her x-rayed. It was bad, very bad, arthritis in her spine. They couldn't operate on the sharp, arthritic bone. The drive to the vet's to pick her up again was torture - putting her to sleep was a real possibility. I couldn't face that, so I said we'd try the painkillers and see how it went. To my relief in went well - Pip was like herself again! Every day with her breakfast she'd get a dose of painkillers and they'd get her through the day.

Over Christmas Cousin Holly came to stay. Pip was happier about it than she looked in this photo.

Her gentleness with babies of every species was undiminished, but the arthritic bone was beginning to slowly crush her spinal cord. She started losing sensation in her back legs.

Here she is in a chair in my late Granny's kitchen. My Granny was very fond of her.

The last photo I have of Pip is her meeting Sue a few weeks ago. By this stage the painkillers weren't working so well, even on a higher dose and she was losing weight. She was wobbly on her back legs, often tripping over, and she was incontinent.

It was only going to get worse and she had been through enough, so I let her go. I got fourteen whole extra months with my beautiful Pip and I wouldn't have missed them for anything. I will miss you, Pip.

10th August 2010 — 24th December 2018


  1. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. My heart just breaks for you. I will always remember Little Pip. Following your blog with all your beautiful photos really helped me after I lost my (Big) Pip. Thank you for sharing her with all of us! Maybe Little Pip and Big Pip have met up at the Rainbow Bridge - and are now together like a couple of young pups. No more pain or sadness only beautiful green fields to run in and lots of yummy treats to snack on. Sending big hugs! Run free, Little Pip.

  2. RIP dear Pip. Run free. My heart breaks for your loss.

  3. Wonderful pics and memories of a very special girl.
    Pip was beautiful inside and out !
    Sorry for your loss, they do leave a big hole when they go.
    I hope little Sue will help to heal your grief.

  4. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Pip. What a wonderful photo tribute/story of her life.

  5. We are so very sorry for your loss of the beautiful and gentle Pip. Your tribute to her was lovely what an amazing life she had full of love and adventure. Purrs of comfort and paws of sympathy from all of us here at ATCAD