If you’re in need of a good cry this afternoon (and even if you’re not) you’ll want to read Mail Online’s stories of a journalist’s life with his dog, a Belfast stray the reporter acquired in 1998. Toby Harnden’s farewell to his dog, Finn, is nothing short of touching and heartbreaking.
As a foreign correspondent, Harnden traveled with him all over the world — Ireland, London, Jerusalem and ultimately Washington.
Sure, journalists are supposed to be tough creatures by nature. But Toby shows how to open up without being annoyingly sappy but just sappy enough to convey how he felt every step of the way. The pooch died in his arms. He buried Finn by his home overlooking a creek.
Asked how he is doing, Harnden replied, “Yeah, I’m OK. Can’t believe the little guy’s gone though. Very lonely in my office now. And going through pics etc just brings back all the fantastic times and what an amazing dog he was even though he obviously slowed down a lot in recent years. I did an interview with a radio station in Spain and both I and the interviewer were choking up!”
A warning to the thickest of skins among you: Don’t read the stories without a box of tissues close by.
Although he still enjoys his walks – two a day – he is so slow and deaf and blind that I often have to retrace my steps to find him and point him back in the right direction. He is given four pills twice a day and will occasionally yelp from the pain in his limbs. Massaging them seems to soothe him. His teeth, for many years almost perfect, are now rotten and he can’t eat biscuits as he used to. His breath smells like a sewer.