Story Archive

Big Walk_2

Vale Tommie

Posted on January 20, 2015 by
Raymond
on the road at
Sydney

 

 

 

It is with great sadness that I tell you some news of Tommie. Many will have heard of his passing already but for those who haven't, cancerous cysts broke inside him on the last day of the year and, as I held the old paw that had walked so many miles beside me, Tommie slipped away on the first day of 2015, happy and active until the day before he died, a life beautifully lived. 

 

Almost 3 weeks later I can bring myself to write about him and to say that he was the best of dogs and mates. I miss him terribly. When I announced his passing on Facebook an avalanche of testimonials came in. I read each and every one and it touched me deeply that his simple little stories on The Wuffington Post, as silly and meaningless as they appeared on the surface, were so profound and poignant for so many people across the world. Almost a thousand people felt moved to write about how his little life touched them. News of his passing reached 50,000 people within days. 

 

 

 

I shall tell you of some events that summed up his beautiful nature. When my mother grieved the loss of her husband, my father, also on New Years Day, Tommie never left her side and when the wailing and grief crescendoed, so too did his attentiveness, nudging her hand so she felt his thick warmth.

 

As we walked in the bush one day a flurry of wings took my attention some twenty metres away where a mother duck frantically escaped the oncoming dog. I arrived to find Tommie guarding her 12 ducklings, sitting by their side as a protector. For those who doubt that animals have souls, they should have met Tommie.

 

Tommie was horribly abused dog as a pup. As a result he was extremely aggressive towards men for many years. His transition to the dog who hurled himself lovingly at the feet of male friends of mine, or just men he met on the street, was incredible. It had much to do with a lovely man called Steve who, while working on the deck at my house, threw a stick for Tommie to fetch throughout the day for an entire month. He wore Tommie's fear of men down, stick by stick, and by the end of the month I had a new deck and a new dog. Sadly Steve took his life last year, unable to deal with his own demons. So often those with the biggest hearts feel life's sadness too deeply.

 

I am proud of how I treated Tommie. It is one of the achievements of my life that he never went unwalked, unfed or unloved but went happily unwashed. I wish I had treated people as kindly and will endeavour to do so for the remainder of my life, in his honour. And God what a life he had - he walked mountains, swum in oceans, chased sticks into rivers, travelled with me for thousands and thousands of mile, ate magnificent food which was one of his greatest joys and met wonderful people who loved him dearly. Truly and a little childishly, I never really thought he would die.  

 

On the 1st of March I depart on the Big Walk. To be honest I was very concerned that Tommie wouldn't make the journey and would suffer distress on the track. I was torn between a rock and a hard place because I just couldn't bring myself to leave him behind. 

 

Just over the past days I have found another pup and will pick him up outside Melbourne on Thursday. We need some time together before we hit the road. Vibrant, hopeful, bouncing-with-joy youth will infuse half the party of two. Ralph, a 10-week old Red Cattle dog, is still nuzzling into his mothers warmth, unaware of the journey that awaits him.

 

He will be his own dog and I will love him. Unlike Tommie, Ralph has come from a loving home on a small farm. Life has already left the imprint of warmth and kindness upon his soul. It was the great triumph of Tommies time on earth that his fear and anxiety were overcome and his simple life touched so many people for the better.

 

C ya old mate

 

love

 

Raymond  

 

Send your thoughts and stories to swag@electronicswagman.com.au or call Raymond on 0414 929768. If you wish to speak to Tommie just leave a message.. 

 

Comments
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Sue Rawkins
Reply
So beautifully and honestly written. Again, the tears are rolling down my cheeks, but I am so happy you have a new partner. I wish you joy. Xxxx
Anne Looby
Reply
what a truly beautiful eulogy Raymond. That bond will never break. He will live in your heart for ever and all those he touched along the way. I am so glad you have Ralph to share the ongoing journey with. I send you love and strength... and some Noskopar to keep your complexion rosy. Love you BB. x
Dawn
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A beautiful text, Tommie had an amazing life, l am sure your new companion will have an equally amazing time travelling with you, best wishes from a friend in Belgium
Jo
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Beautiful obit. Raymond.  Just curious , how old was Tommie? Good luck with your next adventure.
Ingrid Petersson
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So nicely written and you can feel the love for your beloved mate Tommie, which became a mate for us all. I wish you all the best with your little new mate Ralph and that you will have a great walk and life together. Tommie will remain in my heart. Love, Ingrid
Michelle
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lovely words as a tribute to an amazing dog and you should be so proud of the wonderful life you gave him. You have so many lovely memories of your times together to cherish. I look forward to reading of your exploits with Ralph and seeing some pictures of him. Good luck on the big walk xx
Dee
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Touches me deeply, for some reason I connected with Tommie, even though I'm not a dog person. His personality shone through in your photos. So beautiful to hear of your love for him. Blessings and best wishes for your journey with your new companion xo
Louise Roberts
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Hi Raymond I was just touched to see you on face book after i had heard from your post about Tommie I did share then we also lost our beautiful Millie our red Kelpie in Nov I'm thrilled to hear you will have another mate in your life enjoy him as I know you will. Best wishes Louise
sharon
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So sorry for your loss Raymond, I know the heartache of loosing your best mate. Tommie was so lucky to find you and you him and I loved filling your adventures. I lost Jake at 14and a half and still miss him. I now have a little dog Simon who my daughter brought for me when I went deaf. I train him to be my assistance companion dog but think he trains me more. We are best mates and you will find many new adventures with Ralph. Looking forward to seeing you both on my home page once more. Happy travels. Sharon. 
Christine
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Raymond, What a year 2014 was. I had to say goodbye to my 18 year old cat early in the year and then not a month later my mother suddenly died. It was the year of grieving for me. I can empathise with your feelings for Tommie. They do have souls and Tommies was one of the great ones, as was my Meg. I look forward to meeting Ralph. So enjoy your posts, keep them coming. Safe travels. Chris.
Jacinta Hickey
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Lovely to see you posting again Raymond,even though it`s on sad terms.Beautiful story on the life of a muched loved and missed dog we all grew to know as Tommie,his in our hearts forever.Where ever you go in life he will be right beside you all the way.We look forward to the new adventures with your new mate Ralf.If your ever in my area,feel free to call in.Take good care of yourself Raymond,your in my thoughts and Tommie in my heart xxx
jacinta Hickey
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Ralph,your a little beauty putting smiles and healing our sad hearts.Enjoy your big adventures and welcome to life on the road cute one.From one old cattle farm girl to a new one,would love a few pats one day xxx.
Gayle Fleury
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You have no idea how much I looked forward to Tommies posts and the wonderful pictures of him. DOgs lives are so very short but they touch us so deeply. Good luck with Ralph. I have a red cattle dog as well and she is 9- the most loyal, affectionate and beautiful dog I have ever had. Be careful on your journey. I shall look forward to adventures with you and Ralph!
Ann-marie
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Such a touching and beautiful piece written. Thankyou Raymond for allowing me to be part of both yourself & Tommie’s many adventures. Tommie will always have a special place in my heart. xo
jan
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Tears as I write. With sadness for a mates posts we looked forward to. Always a bright spark in our work weary life. I wish you + Ralph much love,joy + safe travels. I hope, as Ralph gets older, he may feel the need to update us on your great travels together.
Wendy Fowler
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We shared your journey together for a while and enjoyed every step. My little terrier also had a rough start to life, I'll give her an extra cuddle tonight and think of those abused dogs, who unlike her and Tommie, don't get the chance of a good life. Enjoy your new companion and may life treat you both kindly.
Liz
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What a beautiful piece and a reminder to myself to treasure the time I have with my own furry friend. Here's to many happy miles with your new companion Raymond, and I'm sure Tommie will be with you all the way.
Liz
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What a beautiful piece and a reminder to myself to treasure the time I have with my own furry friend. Here's to many happy miles with your new companion Raymond, and I'm sure Tommie will be with you all the way.
John
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Like most of the other posts above, I also am writing this with tears in my eyes, and my heart. I really loved reading your stories Raymond, and like you and everybody else, miss Tommie greatly.  Now a new chapter in all of our lives, with you and your new best friend Ralph.  Happy walking and roaming guys, look forward to all the other stories in the future.  Love from me, and my best mate Jackson xo
Judith
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A beautiful eulogy for Tommie… thank you for sharing the stories and photos of your adventures together. So pleased that you will have a new companion and look forward to following your new exploits and to meeting Ralph.
Katie Barr
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Raymond, you are a prince among men. The world would be a better place if we endeavoured to be more like our dogs.Ralph is a lucky pup to have you. Looking forward to reading of your wonderful adventures together. Sweet dreams Tommie. Love Katie and FinnX
Sue
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Hi Ray,lovely to see you back I was so very sad to hear about Tommie have watched with much pleasure of all your travels with him he will be Nn you I am sure,have lots of fun and travels with your new dog Ralph I will be keeping an eye out for you mch love from our way ....
Anne Cox
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hi Raymond, I have loved your posts all along the way and sometimes Tommie's comments just made my day. I will be right behind you all the way on your adventures with Ralph. Just remember that Tommie will be watching from somewhere and tut tutting about the new little blokes behavior at times. Have a great NEW adventure Raymond and Ralph. We are looking forward to it.
Deb Nikitin
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I am so very sorry for your Loss Raymond. Tommie was a champion dog, nights at Ross River listening to him snore close by the camp fire while I watched the outback milky way. Thanks for the opportunity to spend time with Tommie. Deb x
Rowena Harding-Smith
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Little Ralph will have some big paw prints to fill but as he's a red cattle dog I am sure he will be up to it.
Lorraine Pring
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Thank you for the follow up Raymond. Shedding tears again for you and Tommie. Looking forward to your new adventure with Ralph. xxx
Denise Kirby
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So sad for your loss. Tears again as I read this. So pleased that you have a new friend coming. We have a red kelpie dog, a girl called Red we got after Black Saturday in Victoria and she is the BEST DOG. There is something about Red Dogs, very special. Hope you start a little story for your new friend.
Natalie Capstick
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All dogs have souls, all living creatures do....Tommie is a soul that touched so many of us and his loss is felt deeply.....I always mourn the loss of an animal, more than I do a human...perhaps this is bad of me, but I can't help it....the love you share with a pet, makes an indentation on your heart, no different to your own children. What the 'Caterpillar Calls The End Of The World, The Master Calls A Butterfly, may you soar to amazing levels of love dear Tommie and may your Master Raymond keep touching people's lives via such an incredible entity, called a 'Dog' :) xoxo
susan deer
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Your words so clearly show your love for Tommie and his love for you and of life was evident in his glorious eyes... I really do feel your pain and salute you for your courage in not fearing to give another fur baby a loving exciting life... Much admiration for you....Susan
sue
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life's journey, and all it's twists and turns, keeps unfolding Raymond. Tommy's there, don't worry about that. and Ralph will be, for as long as it's meant to be. and so will many of us. see the stars and the beautiful sky. see the stars and the beautiful sky x
Marlene Joy Perry
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Love never ends...Tommie will walk with you and your new mate in spirit on your great journey. 
Amanda Looby
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A beautiful tribute Raymond. Makes me feel sad for your loss, but happy that you experienced such an incredibly deep bond with your furry friend. What a gift. I imagine there are many more wonderful stories to tell of Tommie - another book maybe? Lots of love. x
Karen and Craig
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As you know Raymond I thought the world of that young Tommie of yours and had a joyful time that day in centennial park. I'm sat in tears over those gorgeous words about him, he really was the most special fella. I can't wait to meet your new boy, I know without doubt a certain dingo cattle dog will be sitting on his shoulder to guide and love him and their dad. I hope you'll let us lend this boy for a day, it would be a privilege as it was with Tommie. All power to you on this epic walk, sharing and making wonderous memories. Respect and love to you both and a kiss blown to himself in heaven xxx
Carlene Bott
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Raymond, what a wonderful tribute to Tommie, your special friend and mate.  So good that because of you, and Steve, Tommie learned to trust men.  Very best wishes to you and Ralph as you bond and lead your lives together.
Mary-Ellen
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Well I'm certainly hoping there is some place that Tommie & Steve can play stick together again. I may have only met Tommie for a few days on Aranda country but he was definitely the stuff of canine legend. Ralph has big paws to fill
Raymond
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Thats a nice thought Mary-Ellen
Shoshie
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I am crying from this post, and really I do know the loss of a dog and cats. Be strong and I am so pleased that you have decided to get another dog, and your journey will be easier with Arthur.
Ria Roegiers
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Such a moving story Raymond and isn't it beautiful that dogs can bring out the best in us, even after their death! Great teachers they can be, if we open our hearts and minds to them. May you and Ralph be good companions to each other.
Margaret Eisenberg
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Dear Raymond, my heart ached as I read of Tommies passing. Such a beautiful boy, what wonderful memories you have to keep. Rest dear Tommie rest. Xxxxx
Barbara
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Raymond what a lovely tribute to Tommie,when I was lucky to meet you both . It wasn't hard to see the the love been man & his dog . My heart goes out to you Raymond . Ralph has big shoes to fill , but I'm sure he will in no time . Love to you both & a big hug sent up to heaven to Tommie xxxxxxx
Sally Snow
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Dear Raymond. What a loving tribute. It captures beautifully the essence of Tommie. He was one in a million. And thank you for the gentle introduction to Ralph, in such difficult circumstances. We look forward to hearing more. Love x
Sally J
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A great farewell to a great mate, who has brightened the days for many of us. Glad to hear that you have a new companion for your next adventure. Look after yourself.
Deb Furness
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Thank you so much for giving Tommie such a wonderful life.  I wish all dogs had that opportunity.  I am so glad you have found another friend & cannot wait to see him on your FB posts in the near future.  Dogs are the bestest friends ever with their unconditional love & I could not image my life without my 2 adorable Furr babies.  Thank you Raymond, looking forward to following your next adventure.  xx
Libby
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Thinking of you Raymond - Best Libby
Chris Deaner
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absolutely crying my eyes out. Thank you Raymond and Tommie. Loved your posts Tommie and we will miss you.  All the best Raymond and look forward to yours and Ralph's posts. We all loved Tommie deeply.  Xxxx
Chris R
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So pleased to see you back on Line Raymond & pleased you & Ralph will continue the journey. Tommie brought us such joy & I'm sure this new little fella will also. The love of/ for a dog is just in a class all of it's own. Big Hugs
Kim
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Thankyou for the wonderful tribute to Tommie it was well deserved. You will miss him but I hope that you will have many happy adventures with Ralph and look forward to reading your travels.
Anne M.
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My dad always used to say there was only one thing wrong with dogs - that they were lent to us for too short a time. I know so may of us felt this way about Tommie - you most of all. Your new 4-legged mate is blessed to have you as his human companion just as we were all blessed every day with the joy of Tommie's wry obervations on life. "May the road rise up to meet you and the wind be at your back" on your new journey. Walk strong and safe - Tommie's spirit will be with you every step.
Mon Schafter
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So sorry to hear this. Tommie was a beautiful dog. And a very telegenic one at that. Hope you're doing ok Raymond.  Mon (from ABC)
Ruth
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Tommie and you were lucky to have found each other and enhance each others lives.Thank you for rescuing him and caring for him. Thank you also for taking on another little life for which to care. Animals make a huge difference in our lives, and by sharing Tommie's and your story, you teach others how wonderful it is for people to share their life with a four footed friend. Thank you. RIP beautiful Tommie xo Animal Rescue and Care
Cecilia
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I am not on Facebook. So sorry to read this. Heartbreaking really. The two of you just belonged together and his passing must hurt badly. Wishing you all the best on your journey and joy with the new pup. Big paws to fill.
Kate Klein
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Oh Raymond this is such sad news!  I am one of those who always read Tommie's blog first.  You captured the simple, innocent forgiving and hopeful perspective that dogs offer on our world so beautifully.  I am a late convert to dogs but we have had Banjo now for a year and I finally see the light and joy they bring.  Vale Tommie, your relationship with him was inspirational.
christine schliebs
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RIP beautiful Tommie you are much loved still in spirit and that spirit will continue to journey with Raymond and Ralph xxx Chris
Karen Ashford
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oh no. While no one can understand or share exactly what you're feeling, many of us extend our sympathies, some borne of a kindred experience - it's two years last week since our sweet girl Meggs left us and she's never far from our thoughts, bringing us tears and smiles (originally in equal measure, but gradually the smiles are prevailing). I hope your happy memories of your gorgeous fellow lighten your heart at this sad, sad time Raymond xxx
ann partridge
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Your words made me cry. I have my first dog and can't believe the depth of feeling I have for him. You have put that feeling into words. Tommy,after a bad start had the best life ever!
Lisa baker
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You and Tommie give me hope for so many reasons. I think that to love a dog and have that dog love you in return is a most precious relationship. It is one of the most precious things that life has every shown to me. Thank you Tommie for trusting your dad.vale Tommie.
Sandra Murphy
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Hi Raymond lovely tribute to Tommie, loved sharing your travels with Tommie, he will watch over you & Ralph. hope you have many Happy safe travels with Ralph I & my furry friends Indi & Mischa will be watching for your adventures
Margaret
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Beautiful words of love of a great mate Tommie. Thank you Raymond for the entertaining accounts of your travels thus far and I now look forward very much to the travel notes with Ralph. Many happy adventures! Bestest wishes!
Carol
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What a wonderful story and wonderful dog.Cherish your memories and what a great life Tommie had. You will always have a place in your heart for Tommie. And, although he can never be replaced, you owe it to your new pal a wonderful life. Safe travels.
Marie
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Thanks Ray for sharing your story with your best mate, brought tears to my eyes.The love of an old dog is never forgotten, and it leaves you a better person for that love. We lost our 14year old border collie/kelpie 6 years ago, but she will always remain with us in spirit. Enjoy your new puppy, and good luck on your travels.
Jeff Miller
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loved that dog x
James Linklater
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Thank you Raymond for sharing the tale of a life well lived. I am sure it resonates in the lives of all who read it. It certainly touches my heart and inspires me. Love and light to you.
Jean Kenny
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I am once again awash with tears at the loss of Tommie, a beautiful canine soul. I never met him but always considered him a friend. I look forward to meeting the new puppy and getting to know same, although I feel Tommie will always be carried everywhere in our hearts.He will be a hard act to follow.
Lorene Lavora
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Oh Ray - I am SO glad you are getting another pup! We had to say goodbye to our 15 year old English Setter on Christmas week so I was in the same mental place as you when I read your news. But I have always said the best way to honor them is to get another dog because it really says that they've done their jobs as "good will ambassadors." I look forward to the next chapter of your lives together! Lovely tribute, too.
Kasia Taylor
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"Vale Thommie"... xoxox  My love and thoughts and mega hugs are with dad 'Raymond' right now. I just read this. What a beautiful life & tribute. Thommie boy is going to be ok..  Everyone has their stories however most are unable to write them as eloquently as you & Thommie with as much passionate & zest for life and what a life it's been. My Bernie passed last year. My family has a habit of naming our beloved after musicians... Oscar, Billie, Ringo? I thought I'd bring one into the new Millennia. Things happened suddenly and Bernard Fanning Junior (because this was his microchip official name) which our vet said on their 1st meeting "I never can remember? Is he the lead singer of Powderfinger or Silver Chair?" was gone... The Evening of Bernie's passing I said to my clan, IF I ever have another it will be Ralph because I wanted to wake up in the morning, look into those eyes and say/think "morning Sam... morning Ralph"... (I had to show them the cartoon). Ralph was delivered to me a week later as a gift (which many said was too soon, myself included) and a gift he has been. He is sooo naughty & helped my heart.  He goes by the name Ralph, Falafel, Ralfalfa, & Remedial Ralph and he comes to work with me now and helps people deal with their stuff & injuries... He is a heart mender...  He even made it onto Costa's page? Because his mother was trying to find out "what weed is this & was it edible & Falafel photobombed! My Ralph & I are wishing you and your Ralph our biggest love, hugs, safe travel and alot of laugher despite tears (which will always be there) & the most amazing journeys to come for you both & to Thommie boy.. we say "wuff wuff" xoxo  Sincerely... K & Remedial Ralph..   Ps. "Ralph's" have diabolical personalities... They are gifted and talented beings. Animated and intelligent. Good luck ;) Big Mwa, love, hugs, happy & safe travels... xo
cheryl owen
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I've enjoyed Tommie's adventures and pictures immensely. I am so sorry for you. Loosing a dear friend and soul mate is very difficult. Sometimes they are irreplaceable and remain foremost in our hearts. I suspect Tommie will be in such a place for you. Thank you for shareing a little bit of him with us.
Lizzie
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A beautiful tribute, thank you so much for sharing Tommie's story. I shall miss his updates very much; they often brought joy and light relief in an otherwise drab day. Good luck with the next step of your journey. Love and best wishes, Lizzie
Lee Hilton
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Hi Raymond, big hugs. So sad to hear this news. Dogs sure are man's best friend. Enjoy your big walk. Happy memories of Breakfast Creek and the Larapinta Trail.  
Jacqueline a Sidwell
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Hi Raymond, I am crying as I read your words about Tommie and his life, just as I have for many months each time I've lost one of my own dogs. You are right to be proud of the life you gave him and I'm sure that he is very happy you've found another dog to love and accompany you.I've always found the only way to cope with the grief is to find another dog to love as soon as possible. I look forward to reading about Ralph's adventures with you. Much love, Jacqueline
Lynette Brown
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Losing a beloved companion is so hard and Tommie was truly one in a million. I am so sorry for your pain. I like to think that Tommie is at the Rainbow Bridge and has led you to Ralph. God bless you and keep you safe. Hugs to Ralph.
Ronna
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Wow! What a great summary of a little dog's life that wasn't so little, after all. Thanks for sharing a few more stories of Tommie with us. You should indeed be proud of how you treated him - you two were a model of the human-animal bond. Tommie will live on in our memories, and we'll welcome Ralph with joy.
anne carol pourreau (Sunny)
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still crying from Tommie's evaporation... yet, I know the saddest is for you, Raymond. I wish you much joy and new wonderful and exciting expériences with Ralph! To a great new year! Cheers! Sunny :-)
Sylvia
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I feel so sorry for your loss because I know how hard it is when your beloved dog dies. The good memories will always be with you. To read about Tommie and his posts was great fun. I was eager to read your news. - Hugs to you and Ralph and good luck for your start to your big walk
Patricia Lang
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From one dog lover to another, I am so glad to hear that you have chosen a new pup to fill that huge hole in your heart left by Tommie, my very best wishes go with you Raymond in your future travels with Ralph.
Denise Hansen
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What wonderful words you write of Tommy, Raymond. Go well with your big adventure with Ralph. I'll look for the red blur photo-bombing your landscape pics...
Jenny Flower
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A truly moving story of Tommies life, so beautifully written.
Barbara knowles
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So sad to hear your loss.such a beautifull compagnon Tommie was in your life and all of us who were privileged to join you two for a bit. I will gladly forgive him now the stealing of my lunch butty out of my bag last breakfast at Burra .cheeky bugger, so enjoyed his energy. Go well,Raymond in the challenges of a puppy. Our Felix is driving me to the edge!
Melvyn
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So wonderfully written, a true and loyal Mate was Tommie and I am sure Ralf will be as well. All the very best on the big walk Raymond. Melvyn and my best mate Storm.
Sarah Marsh
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I will miss you Tommie.. my eyes ae raining. Sorry Raymond...however, I know Tommie had a great life  with you.  RIP Tommie. 
tricia steel uk
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So sad for you. I am so proud to have Tommie's paw print on your book.  Enjoy Ralph.
Stewart Peters
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... yes, Tom was as good as they get. I love someone's comment about him & Steve together playing stick again. Thinking of you mate! Love to see you again sometime ... and Ralph!
Rob Saunders
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The depth of our grief is a measure of our love. What a great mate Tommie was Raymond, and I feel your loss. Well done for writing such a beautiful tribute. He lives on in the hearts of all who knew him.
Jean
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I've just heard about Tommie, so sorry for your loss, I loved reading about his adventures. He was a beautiful dog/companion. looking forward to reading about Ralph's adventures. for some unknown reason I don't always get notifications of your posts.
Vicky K
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Dear Raymond, I am so sad to hear of this, and so sorry for your loss. I have a fond memory of you giving Tommie "rakey" therapy and the bliss on Tommie's face. Enjoy the memories, and enjoy your lovely new little one. x
Sarah Watts
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How lucky were you and Tommie to find each other? Wonderful that you could share him with so many and spread such happiness! Thank you both!
Danae
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I just love this Raymondo - your way with words has brought me to tears - again. Your way with Tommie was beyond the best!! and your way with Ralph - will be beautiful and long....thank you for sharing xxxx
Barbara Sparrow
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Thank you for sharing Vale Tommie with us.   I have only met him through your photos and stories, but the loving dogs in my life will be the happier because we care so much for them.  Happy travels with your new one....I remember well my Larapinta painting walk with your group.
Patricia LE GARDIEN
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Dear Raymond, Tommie shared your adventures. And all the Love you gave him. My beloved doggy passed away 2 years ago after 18 years in my life. I know that something is broken in my heart and will never work again. I know I shall find him again one day behind the rainbow curtain. I just start again to be able to watch the films I had. When I see him freedom and so happy, walking in the fields of Brittany. The nose in the West wind. I know that there are no words to comfort for a so big loss. I just understand. I'm with you. And thanks for your wonderful work that I like from France. Courage... xx
Rob Ryan
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I hope your new adventures with Ralph bring you the same joy as you had with Tommie and hope from time to time you still post some pic's of Tommie as he will always be close to your heart,that's the only downside to having a dog in the family they don;t seem to be here long enough and it's devastating to say good bye but on the good side the love ,attention and companionship they give lasts a lifetime .....VALE TOMMIE
Robin Graham
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Beautifully written Raymond. Thank you for sharing your thoughts of the passing of such a special dog as Tommie. I look forward to reading of your new adventures with Ralph
Jenny everson
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Thank you for Vale Tommie I miss his adventures.Tommie will forever be in your heart and I trust that Ralph and you have many happy adventures together 
Melody
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Thank you for writing Vale Tommie. Such a special dog. I am sure he will be helping you teach Ralph to be a fantastic partner for your wonderful journeys
Penny
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So sorry to hear about Tommy Raymond ... he was the most gorgeous of dogs ... and we'll all miss him ...
Rae
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts of Tommie with us.Vale indeed. As you say, he was very special, and with a very special mate who shared his life.(and I do believe animals have souls)
Brenda Winter
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Dear Raymond Thanks for the wonderful words about Tommie. I don't know why I didn't get your post about Tommie's passing. It's never easy losing a mate, whether that mate has two or four legs. What a wonderful life he had with you. I volunteer at an animal shelter just out of Melbourne and it's just so wonderful to witness dogs going to their wonderful forever homes and to be loved, maybe for the first time in their lives. Just like Tommie did with you. I sincerely hope that you have a wonderful trip with your new boy Ralph. Happy trails together. Looking forward to seeing your adventures with Ralph on Facebook.
Lesley Hampton
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Another lovely story about Tommie Raymond and again I had a good cry and feel saddened by his passing but happy that he no longer suffers and is at rest in dog heaven. My friend Ted has a black and white Collie dog Boomi named after the NSW town Boomi. Boomis was also rescued from someone who was abusing him. Boomi is now 15 years old and I know Ted will be devastated when the day comes for Boomi to leave us. We look forward to meeting Ralph and the many stories you both have to report to us. Look after yourselves.
Pamela Moore
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Thought I was over it until I saw Tommie on FB and the tears started again. Such a great dog and so blessed and loved to have you. God bless you. Hullo to Ralph. You are in for a great life matey. Xoxo
Pamela Moore
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Thought I was over it until I saw Tommie on FB and the tears started again. Such a great dog and so blessed and loved to have you. God bless you. Hullo to Ralph. You are in for a great life matey. Xoxo
Heath White
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Thank you for sharing him with us. His virtual companionship and his focus on the simple, honest things that make life beautiful have been a gift.
Jutta Gläser-Ziemendorf
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wondeful stories and I´m sure Tommie will love it. Good luck with your new companion! I´m excited to hear that you found him. But I´ll always miss Tommie though I never cuddled him personally! Hugs to you Raymond!
Rosa
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Of course dogs have souls and Tommie's is with you every time you think of him. He will be watching over you and Ralph. Enjoy your journey.
Louise
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Another thread for the tapestry of your life. You were both graced by meeting each other and sharing your lives , now your new life companion tapestry has been caste. Peace be upon you both
Louise
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Another thread for the tapestry of your life. You were both graced by meeting each other and sharing your lives , now your new life companion tapestry has been caste. Peace be upon you both
Anita M. miracle
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somerimes there are no words. Thank you Raymond for such a lovely tribute to Tommie, a special dogs with one floppy ear that was loved my many. What a lucky dog he was to have found love and security. He lived a beautiful life with you, and those of us that werelucky enough to know of him through your story are better for it. Safe travels!  Anita,  Waterloo, NY USA
Judy
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Thank you Raymond for the update on Tommies  life. Very pleased that you have a new companion. Lots of fun ahead......😃
Corinna Beamish
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Once again, Raymond, your words about your furry soul mate [and I really think that is why you treated Tommie so well - dogs make the best soul mates] touched me in what is still a sore spot for my soul mate, Willa, and has made me cry. But that is all good; nothing wrong with grieving for wonderful furry persons who enriched our lives. At least you know that you turned Tommie's life around and gave him amazing years of adventure and companionship.  All of us human pooch soul mates out here will follow your ongoing travels and watch Ralph grow into himself with you and the people you meet along the way, and those you already know.  And we will know that Tommie will be along for the ride in the hearts of those who count. 
Sue Healy
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Hi, I met you and young Ralph at Bodalla having coffee yesterday. I understand your grief re Tommie as I went through the same. Thing with mu old friend when she died at age 17 years - took me 2 years to get another dog. Ralph is a fantastic, intelligent pup and will be a great travelling companion. Good luck to you both on your next, and his first adventure. Stay safe. Cheers Sue
Volker Reiff
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I still can not hide my tears while watching old pictures of Tommie...i really loved him,although we never meet each other(unfortunately!!! )If i get retired in a few years,one of my first things will be,i go to the pet asylum and try to find a dog for me. This is my dream since many years!!!!!!!!! I would love to find a dog aslike Tommie..but anyway... i´m sure i find my soulmate !!!!!!! I´m so happy to know about the great,interessting life of Tommie,full of adventures and with a lot of people who loved him.I know he is in dog heaven now,always having a big bone he can hide somewhere.....Have fun there Tommie my friend... i will miss you!!!!!! Your big fan from Germany... Volker <3 <3
John Clark
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And there it is. The meaning of life.
Mia
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I have just discovered your website and am in tears about this beautiful journey you had with Tommie. Dogs do make us better people, don't they? I just got a 1-year old blue cattle dog who is also very fearful of men ... hearing that Tommie could overcome his fear makes me hopeful. I wish you happy travels with your new mate who is very adorable.
Raymond
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Yes Mia. I hope your little bloke gets well. I have previously and again today, had some fantastic advice about training cattle dogs.That is to reward them when they are calm and settled. I sarted doing it with Tommie and it really did work.