Shirley Harring

writer, farmer advocate, madwoman

Don’t Dig Here…

June 13, 2009

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
you make me happy when skies are grey
you’ll never know dear, how much I love you
please don’t take my sunshine


Last night the geek boy crept into my bed. Something he has not done for many a year.

It feels strange”
“what does, honey?”
“Looking at my room.”


Someone else is going to sleep in there and look through my window and watch the storms at night and see my stars and look at moon until they fall asleep.”
“Yes, mate, yes they are.”
“And someone else is going to get up early and slip outside and swim in our – the – pool and look at the water and sit under the tree…”
“Yes, yes they are.”
“And someone else…”


“Someone else is going to sit on top of Hammy and water near Tuppy and  not talk to them.”*

Blink away the tears. Cough gently. There seems to be something stuck in my throat.

“Yes, honey they are. But if we tell them where Hammy and Tuppy are buried, I am sure they will know not to dig them up.  Is that still OK with you?
“Yeah, I think so… but it’s…. weird….”

“Yes, mate?”
“Can I make a plaque and put it near the spot? Like ‘Don’t dig here please, dog bones underneath’ or something?”
“Sure, honey.”


Today, several private show throughs are due to tour the little house. If they look carefully, right up the back behind the gazebo, a concrete block says “Don’t dig here, dog bones sleeping. ” And under the fern tree?  “Tuppence is here in the ground. She likes shade“.

Hamilton the chocolate lab, buried under the gazebo where we sit, Tuppence the cat, buried under the skipper’s 35th birthday present, a large tree fern in the garden.


  1. Awww. Holy cow.

    I think your cough must be contagious.

  2. That’s sad and sweet at the same time.
    I didn’t think about what it must be like to leave the pets behind. I’ve lived a very settled life and I’ve never yet had to do that.

  3. Aah … What a caring and sensitive soul your boy is.
    The same things went through my family’s mind when we sold our house of 24 years, where our old dog and cat were buried.
    Moving is really hard.
    But exciting once you learn to look forward!

    • Lesley, I swing back and forward a lot, like a pendulum. Excited and keen, then morose and terrified and not wanting to leave. I’ll be glad when it’s all done, no more swinging!

  4. sniff, sniff, where did I put those tissues?

  5. What a sweet sensitive soul you have there. Moving sucks. Take it from one who knows.

  6. Oh this is such a touching post. It bought tears to my eyes. How poignant and sad yet life moves on.

    Your Geek Boy sounds wonderfully sensitive. Treasure that.

    (btw – first time I have posted here but have visited a few times – love your blog – you write so beautifully!)


  7. Poor little guy. I’ve never had a pet buried in my yard. I’m sure I’d feel similarly. Give him a hug for me, please!

  8. I never would have thought! I’m sure it will be hard to leave them; but, their little souls will go wherever you go. I love your son’s idea about the notice to the new owners. Hope they respect your little gravesites.

  9. He a deep thinker and a soft hearted boy. What a beautiful, thoughtful man you are creating.

  10. Awww.
    He’s a good boy :)

  11. How lovely to have such precious memories of your pets and of your house. I love looking at my old photos, not taken specifically of the house, but including it, and I especially love the ones of the garden. Maybe you could create an album before you leave, so as to keep the memories alive and fresh.

  12. My kids have the opposite lament–we moved so much that they didn’t get to put down roots. That’s not totally true, though, as there was one neighborhood where we lived for quite some time. My kids consider that the place they grew up in even though we moved there when they were 11 and 9 years old. It’s where they made the friends they have now and attended and graduated from high school. Moving does suck, though, absolutely!

  13. Sweet boy, I can understand his reluctance to leave lost pets behind but they are buried in a place that they knew and where they were happy. We try to mark our pet graves with a plant or shrub bought in their honour. At the end of last year I put spring bulbs on all the graves in our garden but really the memories and reminders are all in our hearts not in the ground.

  14. Can’t type. Lump in throat.

  15. My heart gave a big squeeze and I leaked a tear or twenty myself. What a darling boy. How thoughtful and kind he is. How bittersweet is a move. Always. Whether you are 11 or 18 or 26. We always leave a bit of the lives we’ve lived, the person we are, in the places we’ve lived.

  16. How touching. Just lovely and honest.

  17. *sniff*
    We have moved a few times, so our family pets are all buried under the oak tree at my mother’s place. I don’t want to think about what happens when my mother passes away – I’m banking on the fact that the property has been in the family for generations and one of my brothers will (hopefully) live there, so we’ll still get visitations rights. :-)


  18. I’m with Geek Boy. I’d worry about things like that too. (BTW, we too had a Tuppy when I growing up, but our Tuppence was an Australian Terrier.)

    *sniff sniff*

  19. Oh, the sweet, sweet boy. And if I found such a sign in my new home, I would cherish it always.

  20. My eyes just got foggy – must be the screen resolution or something.

    What a lovely boy.

  21. Shirley,
    What a moving post about your loving boy- it is wonderful that he will celebrate the spirits of all living things – our pets are members of our families forever and your pets will live in your child’s heart forever. My husband had a dog named Lady who he loved from the first time he met her. She had a good life and my husband still misses her. even though she has been gone since 1979. We have had three other dogs in our married life ( we were married in 1980) but none are so beloved as Lady. Perhaps it is because he was 7 when he got Lady and she was the first pet that he claimed as his or maybe its because Lady was a very special dog.
    We currently have a dog named Dusty( not our choice for a name) who came to us as a middle aged dog- She is a querky pet- very cute but quite the diva. We enjoy having her as a pet too
    .Your son is learning some of life’s most difficult lessons – the loss of things we love is always bittersweet sorrow. The sign is a wonderful way to help him treasure the lives of his beloved pets.
    Moving is such a mixed bag of emotions- full of excitement and new things and regrets of things that will be changed and different.
    You are a treasure and so is your lovely boy.
    Warmest regards,

    • Thanks for sharing your story Anna, it’s quite hard losing a pet, but I guess the cat that they have grown up together from Birth gives it an extra layer.

  22. Very touching post. Glad that we are not planning on moving anytime soon, but hate to think of our Little Black Dog needing to find a place to rest.

  23. I teared up on this one. At least our Memories go with us everywhere.

  24. Awwww, I was nearly welling up reading that. What an adorable, sensitive, loving lad you have! Best wishes to you all at this emotional time in your lives x

  25. Dear fellow. My Margot would feel exactly the same way.

  26. omg i am so crying right now.
    that is so beautiful.
    and sweet.
    and sad.

    and beautiful.

  27. Well. Now you’ve got me crying.

  28. He is breaking my heart. Bless him.xx

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