r.i.p. mickey … [personal]

Not every story worth telling has a happy ending.

Mickey’s story, for example, came to a sad end at 3.30pm this afternoon.

You might not think the story of a dog – especially a lap dog like Mickey – is worth telling. A few years ago, I might have agreed with you. But our sadness over losing him is very real, and our desire to honour him with a small tribute on this blog is difficult to ignore.

If he was an ordinary dog, we might not have much to say about Mickey’s 10 years on this earth. But for all his barking, escaping, conquests of imaginary lady friends and determination to walk in the opposite direction to his lead, he accomplished a lot in a short time. Before we get to the photos, here are a few things we can remember:

  • As a puppy, he consumed wallpaper, chairs and other delicacies.
  • Later in life, he developed a fetish for McDonald’s Cheeseburgers. He would even go to town on the bun. Sadly for him, Michelle always stole the pickle before he could get to it.
  • At the tender age of 14 (dog years), he survived an escape attempt despite being hit by a car on a major expressway. (I swear he was half-cat.)
  • In 2002, he made the cover of Playboy the Newcastle Herald. Just for being cute at a Christmas lights display thing.
  • In 2003, he scared off a home invader before he could pick up much more than a mobile phone stereo remote. Ha!
  • Until recently, he slept in our bed, near our feet. Amazingly, there were no problems with claustrophobia OR oxygenation!
  • He was a road-tripper extraordinaire. He went with us to the Gold Coast, Coonabarabran and Tuggerah without being sick ONCE.

So many happy memories. 🙂

Today, however, will be remembered as a day of heartbreak. Last week, we were told that Mickey had a tumour. The treatment and care involved in keeping him alive was going to be risky, traumatic and costly. So we decided that his time had come.

We’re happy that he’s not in pain anymore. But we miss him. A lot. 🙁

Here are some photos from his life. A few of them predate me being serious about photography, so please overlook the poor quality.


When Michelle and I got married, Mickey and Gloves became siblings. Mickey was very much under the paw.
091013_0001.jpg - one fine day photography

Bella joined the menagerie a few months later. They only ever cuddled by accident, and they certainly had a few fights, but all in all, they got on pretty well.
091013_0002.jpg - one fine day photography

Mickey's eyes were bright and intelligent until the very end.
091013_0003.jpg - one fine day photography

He made a habit of stealing Bella's basket. Occasionally, Bella retaliated by stealing his. We still don't know how she managed to fit!
091013_0004.jpg - one fine day photography

Mickey always was a mummy's boy ... hardly surprising, considering she was the only human who stayed in his life from beginning to end.
091013_0005.jpg - one fine day photography

His head wobble was legendary. This is only a mild example. I'm surprised he didn't break his neck every time we said, "walk?"
091013_0006.jpg - one fine day photography

Here's a series from a visit to Mickey's favourite park. We returned here the day before he was put to sleep. I'm so grateful for these photos.
091013_0007.jpg - one fine day photography

091013_0008.jpg - one fine day photography

Nothing quite like marking a piece of litter!
091013_0009.jpg - one fine day photography

091013_0010.jpg - one fine day photography

091013_0011.jpg - one fine day photography

Michelle was ready to pop with Josiah, so it was bath time! Definitely NOT a happy event for Mickey. Running the taps would usually kick off a game of hide and seek!
091013_0012.jpg - one fine day photography

Bella wasn't such a big fan of bath time either. Mickey sympathised. Awww.
091013_0013.jpg - one fine day photography

Eventually, Josiah arrived! Here's proof that Mickey still got cuddles. And was at least mildly interested in the human child 😉
091013_0014.jpg - one fine day photography

Somewhat mildly interested?
091013_0015.jpg - one fine day photography

Fan heaters were heaven on earth for Mickey. He never quite understood heat sources that didn't blow hot air all over his face. How he managed not to ignite is still a mystery.
091013_0016.jpg - one fine day photography

I wasn't sure whether to include this one or not. In the end, I decided that this post would be incomplete without it, even though it would be easier to enjoy the happy photos without being confronted with the reality of Mickey's death.
091013_0017.jpg - one fine day photography


If you have any memories from meeting or knowing Mickey, feel free to share them by leaving a comment.

18 January 2010 - 10.12am

Bre - Oh dear….well im welling up thats for sure.

I am from Hunter Animal Rescue and i heard you are adopting one of our gorgeous doggies from kelly. I am soo happy that radar is going to a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL home with you….couldnt be happier. I would give you a doggie any day of the week!

You take wonderful photos and i have a wedding coming up….might be in touch! lol

Best wishes with radar, he’s going to a beautiful home!
Cheers, Bre

19 October 2009 - 8.32pm

Katie Porritt - What a beautiful tribute. As the owner of two beautiful Border Collies, aged 11 and 12, I know every day we have with them now is precious.

14 October 2009 - 4.48pm

Simon - We lost our St Bernard this week …. so know where you are coming from

14 October 2009 - 2.32pm

Rob Bell - I feel for you guys, The memory of putting one of my own down is still very fresh, with only a few months past. Our Maltese had epilepsy, and while the treatment options worked a treat for about 5 years, they began to take their toll on her immune. We made sure her last night was spend eating fresh chicken, as much as she wanted… she always loved her food…

14 October 2009 - 10.46am

johanna wiech - So sorry at the loss of your dear ‘Mickey” Luke and Michelle
I know he was so very special to you..He sure was such a cutie. loved all the photos. beautiful memory. thank you Luke, as always
top work. love you guys.ox

14 October 2009 - 10.19am

deevar - I’ll miss him coming to the wire door when I arrive. I’m sure he remembered me tho we didn’t see each other often. Your story would make a good book. I cried thru it too.

14 October 2009 - 9.06am

Feng Teo - Hi Luke/Michelle. Sorry again to hear of your loss. As you mentioned… pets become such a part of our lives during their time, and to lose one is definitely like losing a large chunk of our lives. Very touched to read the story, and happy that you shared it.

14 October 2009 - 8.55am

natalie - Beautiful tribute. I sat here bawling my eyes out (you know what a sap I am when it comes to four legged babies) and at times found myself giggling. love the bed swap shot ;)I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through, but i am thinking of you all. I am so so sorry for your loss.

14 October 2009 - 7.31am

Laura Graham - Luke (& Michelle!!) these are really beautiful as is what you wrote.. I just remember SG and SWAT at ur house and Mickey hovering at my feet cause he knew I’d feed him sneaky chips!! Bella is rather large so her mischief is obvious, but Mickey was a canny little monkey and a real sweetie. Praying for you guys XX

14 October 2009 - 3.14am

Kim Truong - So touched reading Mickey’s stories, and it’s great that you have so many good pictures of him. He reminds me of my brother-in-law’s dog Hwa-Hwa, especially his face. It’s amazing how smart and lovely dogs are.

14 October 2009 - 3.03am

Bobby Earle - I’ve got to say, I’m proud of you guys for not putting him through the treatment. So many people put their pets through miserable final months/years just so they can still have them around (understandably).

I’m so happy we made it out there to get to spend time with Mickey. Such a little sweetheart. We absolutely loved waking up to seeing him as close to the heater as possible 🙂 We’ll miss that little guy…


14 October 2009 - 3.02am

John Johnston - Sad sad news buddy. sorry for your loss. I have two dogs and im very much attached to them. As tony said, time is a healer.

13 October 2009 - 11.20pm

curtoneil - Dude… looking at the pics I teared up and I didn’t even know him. I’m a huge animal lover and a sucker for dogs (have 3 of my own). I have no clue what I’d do if I had to put any of them down, even the new little jerky one who snaps at me daily. You bond with them so quickly and they fill a great void. When Domino was a puppy I probably smiled daily no matter how I was feeling at the crazy things he’d do. Sorry for your loss.

13 October 2009 - 11.15pm

Tony Fanning- North Wales photographer - Beatiful story Luke. Sorry for your loss matey.
I`ve only had a dog for two years and although my wife is really the “master” I still kinda have feelings for him sometimes. I`m sure as time goes on he and I will bond more as you did with mikey.
Times a healer mate.

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