A Tiny Life

1st May 2000 – 8th Feb 2018 – a good innings. Over the years you will have noticed many posts which featured our beloved Jack Russell Tiny, (who would have been 18 this May). During that long life, these ‘Tiny’ paws covered a lot of country.

It all began like this when my son Bryn was 15 years old. That Tiny pup spent a lot of her time in his bed or even inside his shirt!

She was such an alert little mutt.

I had not noticed until now how much she looked like Spot when she was a puppy. She has been grey around the muzzle so long you forget what she was like ‘in her prime’.

She was raised carefully and lovingly by her West Highland (adoptive) ‘mother’ Maggie. This was their favourite place in front of the fire.

Maggie trained her faithfully. She has clearly locked her outdoors in this picture perhaps because of some naughtiness.

As a puppy there were lots of good times also with her ‘Aunt’ Bridie and other dogs about the farm. At one time we had (at least) 17 dogs, sometimes (eg when there were puppies passing through) there were even more. You see we had Tiny, the two Westies, several Maremmas (to guard the sheep) and a pack of Foxhounds – always more than the 8 you were allowed in a hunting pack then – as there were also puppies in training and bitches which had to be left home when they were ‘in season’. The foxhounds had to be replaced by beagles in 2005. Hunting was never the same after that.

In the photo below my daughter Merrin has had to lock herself in Della’s new pigeon loft to save herself from rampaging dogs. They have her bailed up just as if she was some monster stag!

Maggie and then Bridie passed on, so did our two Maremmas. This happened pretty much in the same week that our beagles went to a new home as I could no longer hunt with them because of my back and deafness. Tiny was suddenly the only dog. She took to her bed. She was inconsolable with grief. She just had to have a new companion.

That was how come Spot came about. This was on our fortieth wedding anniversary five years ago. You should have seen the adoring look in her eyes the moment she first saw him. It was ‘love at first sight’. Straightaway they shared a bed. She was a much happier dog:

Though this little scamp wasn’t allowing her much room in there. See how much he looked like her.

He insisted on sharing her position on the couch too – and her dog blanket!

He was her ‘baby’, the only one she ever had, though she had helped (as an auntie) raise Maggie’s and Bridie’s puppies. You can see she loved him dearly.

As Spot grew bigger there wasn’t always room for him in Tiny’s bed.

Even if there was room for an orange toy animal!

She was a good mother though, and would help with raising any small orphaned creature such as this lamb. 

Many’s the time they curled up next to me in the old Landie Defender just like this coming or going to some camping or hunting adventure.

She did so love water.

Drying off after a refreshing plunge.

Contemplating another plunge into a deer wallow by the river.

Cooling her belly on a hot day in an icy stream.

And reflecting on her swim.

No matter how muddy the water. Indeed she would plunge into a deer wallow and come out quite a ‘black dog’. Spot walked around this huge puddle but Tiny would just plough right through!

She even liked the frozen kind like this at Mt Useful

Or this: Spot’s Third Snow Trip

She did so love tent camping and would always help with setting up.

She was keen to always be first inside.

And loved to snuggle up.

And make herself comfortable.

Here she is again helping with the set up in The Last of the Mountain Men.

And here in http://www.theultralighthiker.com/canoe-wonnangatta-kingwill-to-meyers-flat/

And here in Not Quite Alone in the Wilderness.

Just myself and the two dogs. Paradise.

Tiny enjoyed my sleeping bag.

And Della’s.

She had some competition here.

but not here in Hunting the Wonngatta-Moroka

Here she is helping set up my new Pocket Poncho tent.

She loved to be ‘on the trail’. She was a great walker. She accompanied us everywhere we went, sometimes covering thirty or more kilometres in a day. She was still following us (slowly) on our evening walks the day before she died.

Here she is on the Avon.

Newlands Rd.




Though sometimes she got cold and wet and liked to snuggle under her own tarp.

At home in the Jeeralangs.

With her friend Schnitzel.


Here she is at the Horseshoe Tunnel.

At My St Phillack http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-st-gwinear-track-junction-to-whitelaws-hut/


Though she did get thirsty on such a hot day. Even so she was polite enough to let her ‘pup’ have the first drink.

Here she is in East Gippsland.

Sometimes the trail was overgrown but she would ‘soldier’ on.

This was Kirchubel.

Sometimes it was even ‘verboten’ by environmental Nazis. It wasn’t Tiny (or me) who painted out the dog in the picture. In any case, the picture was never of a ‘Tiny dog’, so I guess it didn’t apply.

She loved trips in the camper

When Bryn moved out at 19 into his own house Tiny stayed on as this was her home and she would be lonely when he went to work – besides we always had other dogs to keep her company.

The boy and the dog grew older together – as you can see (he will miss her):

Of course he visited her regularly – more than twice a week I guess, and when he did there were always cuddles. As she grew older Tiny liked sitting on one’s lap less and less. The last several years she would never let me pick her up though she cruised by my chair several times a day for a long pat. But she would always sit contentedly on her boy’s lap.

Or curled up in the crook of his arm.

Or playing hide and seek in her bed.

Or sitting on my mother’s chairs in the garden.


Helping to eat cracker biscuits.

There was never a family event she missed out on:

She has her eye on those leftovers!

She was entitled to special treats. 

Or even a ribbon.

Even sharing with her friend, Schnitzel.

We celebrated her birthdays. This was her sixteenth – as close as a dog gets to the hobbits’ fabulous eleventy-first!

She never mastered blowing out the candles.

Though Bryn encouraged her, saying “Say ‘Brr’ Tiny”. He blew them out for her, but she enjoyed the cake. She was especially fond of rum balls.

And she so loved ‘messing about in boats’. She began this activity with Maggie and Bridie when she was just a puppy and the children were all still in school. unfortunately this was before the era of digital or waterproof cameras so that period of her life is just a fond memory. I think you can guess how much she enjoyed being on the water from these later photos though.

Here she is on the Macalister

Really loving it.

Though she looks a bit charry of the ‘faux’ pack raft here.

This was a trip on the Wonnagatta, Kingwell Bridge in the background.


She was quite proud of this strange ‘find’ on the river shingle. it has pride of place amongst Della’s ‘mathoms’.

This was Spring 2017 http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-wonnangatta-spring/


This was her last trip in January 2018. As you can see she was still loving it.

And she definitely loved hunting  

Even when it involved deep river crossings

She is maybe saying she would like to ride on my pack here.

And she could definitely ride on a deer.

Every so often she would ‘hunt something up on her own. Here it was a sheep’s foot. She knew this was naughty.

And here at Mt Whitelaw she has stolen Della’s muesli bar and is enjoying the ‘forbidden fruit’ exceptionally.

She enjoyed an apple or pear from the garden.

Or one she helped herself to. Here she has the label stuck to her eyebrow as evidence of her philandering. These new ‘Jazz’ apples sure are delicious!

And Oh, she loved a romp on the beach on a warm sunny day so much too: 

Such as this one at Shallow Inlet.

Or even a colder day.

Such as this at Port Albert.

She sure loved that sand.

Everywhere we go we will miss her absence so much, but will be forever grateful she chose to share her ‘Tiny’ life with us. She was a lovely little dog. So quiet, patient and affectionate. She has been a constant and loving companion for so long, it is hard to accept she is gone forever and that these photos and our memories of her is all we have left.

Rest in Peace you lovely little mutt.

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8 thoughts on “A Tiny Life”

  1. A beautiful story, so captivating by the photos and memories of Tiny. She seemed like a very happy dog, with her smiling face. Her demeanour appeared to be that of a matriarch, a lover of life with her human carers in tow. A life’s explorer, taking on any new challenge with obvious enthusiasm. Long live Tiny, exploring the fields and streams over the rainbow bridge.
    ‘Rest In Peace’ Tiny. I am so glad to have met you. X

  2. Near this Spot
    are deposited the Remains of one
    who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
    Strength without Insolence,
    Courage without Ferocity,
    and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

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