Saying Goodbye

Memorials and Bereavement

This section is for all the Cairns that have been loved and have sadly passed away. We welcome photos and stories here as memories to the dogs that were loved so much by their owners.

Having lost pets in the past, I know only too well the intense grief and sense of loss – the space that can never be filled. Everyone copes with bereavement in different ways, but I don’t know anyone who copes well with the loss of their precious companion.

Please share with us memories of your Cairn and also of the Cairn people you have known and who have ‘crossed the rainbow bridge’:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….


Barney was a much loved Cairn who was taken from his owners too soon. He lived with his family in Yarnfield, just outside Stone in Staffordshire. Sadly, he contracted the disease Alabama Rot and despite prompt veterinary treatment he could not be saved. He died on 29th September 2015.

Sue and Sean were keen to spread the word about this awful disease and very kindly gave us an account of Barney’s symptoms to include on our website. This can be found here.

From Cairn Rescue:
Our hearts go out to Sue and Shaun in their devastating loss of Barney, and we thank them for allowing their very sad story of Barney to be published.

Posted 30th January 2018.


Our beloved Bobby (3rd October 2015)

I write with sad news about my lovely Bobby who you kindly let me have in 2012 when he was then 12 years old. Originally named ‘Robbie’, he had come from a challenging background having been living with a family with a child with Aspergers syndrome, and he was later rehomed with the grandmother of that family when they could no longer cope; and when this lady died at the end of 2011 poor Bobby was with the body for three days until her family arrived and sent him to CTRF for rehoming again.

Bobby was first taken from CTRF by a couple living in Scotland, but after just 36 hours he was returned to CTRF when he had snapped at his new owner when she tried to groom him, her husband saying he was a dangerous dog. It is a sad fact that there are good hearted people who want to help by giving a dog a good home, but they have a poor understanding of dog behaviour which is so important particularly with rescued dogs who may have had a number of homes in their short little life. These dogs need time, respect and their own space to settle in, and of course lots of love.

I had previously taken on ‘Elsa’ via Chris Roberts in 2010 and at the approximate age of 4 Elsa had been in 5 previous home environments, and I was home No. 6 – her now forever home. I visited Chris at her home to meet Bobby in December 2011, taking Elsa along, and we walked Bobby along the canal path with Elsa to see how they got on, happily all went well. As we stood by my car I opened the back passenger door for Elsa to jump in, but Bobby leapt in and settled himself on the warm rug along the back seat, Elsa followed and they lay contentedly beside one another for the journey home – not a sound from either of them.

Bobby made himself very much at home with us as both Cairns were treated in the same way regarding walks, feeding and, as we were to discover, bathing! Elsa and Bobby both enjoyed a splash in the muckiest water they could find along our favourite walks in Delamere Forest. In the bath Bobby was a dream to shampoo and shower. When it came to brushing and trimming Bobby we found a sausage of the highest quality diced into tiny pieces and offered at regular intervals during the course of the brush and trim worked absolute wonders! Bobby had clearly been through some troubled times as he would growl and snap at me if I stroked too far down his back or touched his shoulders, legs or paws, however, over the (almost) 3 years with me he got used to me using canine massage strokes on his whole body and he would lay for half an hour or more totally relaxed.

I discovered gentle Bobby had some lovely traits, he was a happy dog on waking in the morning – vocalising and rubbing the top of his head into the carpet as he pushed himself along to get going, he was always first to welcome me home, his tail wagging, smiling face and tap dance….awaiting a treat from the kitchen. Bobby enjoyed meeting people both on our numerous walks, especially around picnic tables in case a spare sandwich was available, and in to our home. Bobby was well travelled as has been on lots of holidays with me and Elsa, staying in log cabins, caravans and cottages all over the country from the Isle of Skye to the Isle of Wight…which we only returned from two weeks ago.

At nearly 15 years, and although his spirit was very much a lively and all-embracing one, Bobby’s health had deteriorated particularly since July this year, he had lost weight despite his voracious appetite, he had slowed down considerably on his walks, he was quite deaf and his eyesight failing, and he had episodes of confusion. A visit to the Vet gave confirmation that he had terminal cancer and canine dementia. The hardest decision in the world had to be made and I took Bobby home for two more days with him to do his favourite walks for his last time, at quiet times of the day, before the last and terribly difficult journey to see the Vet, who was kind and considerate and had known Bobby for the time I had him. I held Bobby snugly in my arms as he slipped quietly away.

I always believe that every dog comes into your life to teach you something. Bobby taught me more than I believed I could learn in such a short time. I shall miss him so very much. God bless you Bobby.



We have received the sad news of the passing of a beloved Cairn Terrier, Smudge. His owners have asked us to pay tribute to him on the website so here is Smudge’s story and some photographs of him:

Smudge (13.7.99 – 27.1.16)

Sadly, we lost Smudge on 27th January this year, he would have been 17 in July. To say we are devastated is an understatement.

He was the most beautiful and loving dog I have ever had. He never had a day sick, not even an upset stomach. His strength, loyalty and character was amazing. He has been with me through thick and thin and was at our wedding in September 2015, wearing his dickie bow and enjoying all the attention!

His best friend was Eileen, who is now 87. Eileen has been taking Smudge out since he was a puppy and right up to the end. She used to get the bus from her home 2/3 times a week to visit him and take him out. She even took him on regular holidays! She is so amazing. Of course, Eileen is heartbroken that he has gone, as they lived for each other. She too would love to see his photograph and share his long life with fellow Cairn lovers.

“Night night little man, thank you for giving us all so much.”

Smudge was clearly very much loved and a special, loving Cairn. We send our condolences to his family and to Eileen.


Lily (5.5.03 – 9.9.16)

We have received the sad news of the passing of a beloved Cairn Terrier X Lily. Her owners have asked us to pay tribute to her on the website.

Mrs G Chatt did the Great North Walk to raise money for the CTRF in memory of her much loved Lily who sadly died last year.

“We miss Lily dearly and in her memory we did the Great North Walk on June 4th 2017, we raised ?191.00. We hope this helps to rescue a little dog to go to a home like Lily had. In one photo she is 9 months old and the other she is 7 years old. She loved Westies and Cairn Terriers.”

Thank you so much from CTRF.

Kerry and Maisie

KERRY (28th October 2003 ? 16th January 2015) and MAISIE (2nd June 2004 ? 8th February 2018)

We have received this wonderful tribute to two Cairns from David Legg, who adopted them both from CTRF. They had a super life and were greatly loved. Sadly, both have now passed away and David wanted to share some memories of them with us:

“It is with great sadness that I write these words concerning two loving, loyal and precious Cairn terriers so sadly departed.

Through the endeavours of Chris Roberts, I first met Kerry at Southwaite services on the M6 near Penrith on July 4th 2008. She was 4 years old, black and had previously been called Sherry ? not a name I thought was appropriate. The previous owners had decided that a holiday abroad was more important than caring for this terrier and so, lucky for me, we met and an instant bond was created and soon both of us were travelling home to the east coast of Northumberland.

That night, I arranged her bed in the kitchen, left her a bowl of water, gave her a cuddle and went upstairs to bed. About 20 minutes later, I heard my bedroom door gently opening and after a few minutes switched on the light to see where Kerry was. She had curled up on the carpet and was falling asleep. Downstairs I went, collected her bed and placed it beside her so that she could get into it and from that day forth all my Cairn terriers have slept in the same room as me at night.

Fortunately, living at the coast, she had plenty of opportunities to walk on the beach and take to the water- whatever the weather or season. Kerry loved swimming and took every chance that came her way to get into the water. She also had a great fondness for children and if she heard them playing, she would drag me to them so that she could participate in their fun. The young folk would then spoil her with cuddles and stroking.

The top of the armchair overlooking the front window was her favourite place in the house. From this height, she could keep guard and let me know if any cat or person was in the vicinity. In fact, she went berserk if anyone approached the house. A photograph of Kerry dated March 29th 2013 is attached.

One dog I owned, not a Cairn, was captivated by flying birds and aeroplanes, but not Kerry. She was fascinated by ladders and as soon as one came into view with the window cleaner she became excited and was keen to attempt to climb up it; never succeeded though.

Three walks a day was the normal for Kerry, sometimes on the beach, other times in the country. Where ever it was she loved them and, being curious, she would explore her environment, coming second best during an encounter with a hedgehog! She was remarkably healthy and had no problems until later in life.

The welcomes I received on returning home from shopping, etc. were overwhelming and reflected the concept of her being a very friendly and happy dog, but with a mischievious side to her personality. She was definitely a member of the family and dearly loved.

In spring 2012, there appeared on the CTRF website a black Cairn terrier called Maisie from Co Durham who was up for adoption and I was very fortunate in acquiring her. She joined the family on May 27th 2012 and settled in very easily. Sadly, Maise was diabetic and required insulin injections twice per day, though this did not compromise her lifestyle. Like Kerry, she was active, loved her walks and played with her toys. She was excited by her squeaky toys and no one else would be allowed to play with them! Maisie was an outdoors dog and thoroughly enjoyed sleeping outside on the lawn. When it got too hot, she slept under the hydrangeas. Often she had to be carried back inside when it became too wet or cold.

Once Maisie realised that Kerry was top dog and wasn?t about to surrender that rank, she settled down to a quiet life, preferring her own company. Maisie was not often a sociable dog and did not welcome too much attention. Seeing two black Cairn terriers together, many people frequently made positive comments about them, believing them to be related.

Attached are two photographs, which show both dogs. In both images, Maisie is on the left whilst Kerry is to the right.

Unlike Kerry, Maisie hated water. She would avoid every puddle and refuse to paddle in the sea or streams; preferring to watch Kerry actively swimming with only her face above the water.
A photograph of Maisie taken on July 23rd 2016 is attached.

Fortunately, we live on the coast and within 2 miles of the countryside, so there were many different and safe walks to take the dogs without them being on leads. When out walking, Maisie had little interest in other dogs, preferring to give her attention to their owners who might just offer a treat, and many did. Despite being diabetic, she was a happy and contented dog, enjoying her walks and always dictating the route Kerry and I had to follow.

Not long after I adopted her, she was found to have cataracts in both eyes ? a common occurrence in diabetics ? and an expensive operation to remove them was undertaken in June 2012. She recovered well, but in later years further eye problems resulted in Maisie loosing most of her sight.

During the late summer of 2014, Kerry began to exhibit problems with her health. Whilst an X ray showed no concerns, a MRI scan indicated a tumour growing behind her right eye. Tragically, there was no possibility of any effective treatment other than pain relief. A desperately sad two months followed whilst we tried to keep as normal a routine as possible, but in January 2015 the vet indicated, and I agreed, that it was time to say goodbye. My beloved Kerry is buried in the garden where she will forever be close to me.

Maisie returned to her normal self in a few days and the following weeks and months passed by gently. She seemed quite content to be the only dog, but in July 2016, through the endeavours of Mr John Francis, a CTRF trustee, we were joined by Scruff, a 12 year old male Cairn terrier from Yorkshire. A photograph of Scruff is shown on the CTRF homepage.

Life continued quite smoothly until October 2017 when Maisie paid a visit to the vet to discover the cause of her excessive drinking. Kidney failure was diagnosed and medication prescribed to ease the problem. I was looking forward to celebrating Maisie?s 14th birthday in June; however, she shocked everyone by unexpectedly?suffering a seizure on January 18th this year, followed by two more in February. Despite medication, it soon became apparent that she was in a profoundly distressed state and would not recover. My dear Maise made her final visit to the vet on February 8th 2018 and she is also buried in the garden close to her pal Kerry and close to me.

To have held my two lovely Cairn terriers as they gently pass into the next life is deeply saddening. They have been part of my life for years, I have loved them, they will never be forgotten and I miss my dear pals terribly.”

Thank you David for giving Kerry and Maisie such a fabulous life and we send our condolences to you.

* Posted 27th March 2018

Kerry (Right) and Maisie 18.3.13

Kerry 29.3.13

Kerry (right) and Maisie 7.3.14

Maisie 23.7.16

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