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Is there a dog in your life?


If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
Will Rogers


The dog had no name.

The dog had no name

The woman brought her dog to the Human Society to surrender it. While she was filling out the paperwork the dog lifted its leg and peed on a cart by the front desk. The woman jerked the dogs collar  and continued to sign papers.

“He is aggressive.”

“We can’t place aggressive dogs.”

“He is not aggressive to people. Just to other dogs. I want to surrender him. He bit the neighbors dog.”

“We can’t place aggressive dogs. What do you want to do?”

I didn’t hear what the woman said. I could only hear the volunteer.

“Would you like to wait. We can give you back the dog’s collar?”

The dog was going to be killed.  It was going to be dead in  a few moments. I didn’t want its life to be forgotten. I placed my camera on top of my cat kennel, and took several photographs.

The woman who was surrendering her dog had her back to me.

She didn’t wait for her dogs collar. After she signed her name, she handed over the leash to a volunteer and walked out the front door. She looked straight ahead.  She didn’t look back as her dog was walked to the back of the building. All the muscles on her face looked frozen. She did not smile or frown, no quivering of the chin, no slumped shoulders. I have seen the same expression on people’s face when they drop off their laundry at the dry-cleaner.

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
Andy Rooney

A volunteer took a red plastic tool box and the dog. The dog walked obediently beside the man. The dog did not pull backwards and yell, “No, no. I don’t want to die. I promise never to pee inside the house again. I promise never to be mean again. Please someone save me.” The dog had no idea where he was going.

A few minutes later the volunteer walked out alone  holding the red tool box, the dogs red collar and blue leash.

I don’t know the dog’s name.

The dog had no name.


The dog had a name: Gretta

The dogs name was Gretta

The woman taking the items out of my shopping cart and placing them on the conveyer belt had a tattoo on her forearm.  There was a before and after date under the  name. It looked like the tattoo was done recently, there were ridges on her skin.

“You must have loved them very much to get a tattoo.”

“Yes, I did. She died last week. ”

“I am so sorry. I thought about getting a tattoo when my father died.”

“This was my dog.”

The cashier rang up  my 18 croissants, 5 pounds of beef sticks, six pounds of unsalted butter, 25 pounds of kitty litter, and a 40 pound bag of dog food. I paid cash and pushed my cart away.

I kept thinking about the two dogs I had met that day. The dog with no name and the dog whose name would never be forgotten.

I walked back to the woman with the tattoo on her arm and asked her if I could take a photograph of her arm for a story I was going to write.

I wrote the story today. I couldn’t get the image of the dog with no name out of my mind. I didn’t forget him.

If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.
Roger Caras

Is there a dog in your life?

This is my dog. Her name is Martha.

My dogs name is Martha



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

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  • Hi Martha!

  • Audrey Chin

    This is making me teary. We had to put down our dog of 10 years after he got sick. And that was awful. We adopted a second dog about six months later but we had to send her back before the year was out after we adopted our youngest son. They just would not get along. The people at the humane society said she’d probably get adopted again because she was really cute. But I keep wondering. It was so traumatic, we decided not to have any more pets, except for dog-sitting my daughter’s fur-child.
    This brings it all back. It’s a great post Pamela, but I think I’m going to go slump into my armchair and feel bad a while.

    • Audrey, I am so sorry your dog died. Did you feel better after you slumped in your chair? I hope so.

      • Audrey Chin

        Yes thank you Pamela.

  • I love this story. And I LOVE my doggie too! What complete opposite people you met that day.

  • margaret simon

    I have a bumper sticker in my laundry room that says, “Lord, help me be the person my dog thinks I am.” I look at it every day.
    Here’s the name thing again. My daughter’s name is Martha. My dog is Charlie. We had 3 daughters, so we gave our dog the boy name. It fits. I like having real people names for our pets because they are that important.

    • Yes, I like having real peoples names for our pets too. Our first dog was Sally. She lived for 14 years.

  • I LOVE that Andy Rooney quote. That’s the best.

    No dogs for me. I’m so allergic. But I get allergy shots. So maybe one day…

    • Maybe one day… They do poop a lot and need to be brushed, so don’t feel too bad. I just try to be as nice as my dog. She is always nicer and more forgiving than me.

  • I love Martha. She is like a big roly poly bear. I love almost every dog I ever met. I wish I could take them all in. I love Tink even when she poops in my room.

    • I can hardly wait to meet Tink. I love Martha even when she barfs on the carpet.

  • Janelle

    Oh Pamela. This touched me. My dog’s name is Buddy. We got him a few months after our miniature poodle died. Buddy is a rescue springer spaniel and he loves us so much. We love him too.

    • Please say hello to Buddy for me. Martha wants to meet him.

  • Enjoyed the story. Made me sad though as the dog paid for the fault of the woman.

    Our dog was Molly – our best guess is she was born in November 1998 – and came to live with us in January after she and her litter were abandoned on a country road when it was -40C. She chose us, her siblings went to other homes. Last summer we had to say goodbye to her when she was in too much pain – but even then she went for a last walk around the yard, smiled at us before the Vet gave her a shot that made her a little sleepy. She then went to the back door where she had the last shot with her head in my lap, my husband, as well as adult son & daughter beside me.. We have a concrete bench now under the tree where she used to lay in the shade. I did a portrait of her years ago that hangs in our room above the bookcase. Immediately below it now is a small leather chest in which her ashes rest. My husband cannot stand the idea of her being buried anywhere. He says they have to be buried with him. She chose us – and our lives have never been the same. A new little girl joined us this January, Jessie, because the emptiness in our home was too much for me. She is an adult rescue border collie who has come a long way in about 12 weeks.. She is her own unique and special self. Like our Molly she needed us as much as we needed her.

    • Yes, we need our dogs just as much as they need us. Martha was sold on Craigslist in San Jose, California.

  • Amy Rudd

    I am so sad for the people whose lives were touched by the dogs never to be touched again! I’m also sad for the dog with no name…that seems very unfortunate!

  • Shelley

    Your stories just get better and better. I can’t wait to buy your first book.