London, England

I hadn't planned on making an entry during this break but felt I had to put a few words down. At home in Nashville today, my wife and youngest son had our yellow Labrador put to sleep then brought her home for burial. We knew this was coming and perhaps it had been left a little too long at that. She'd been very unsteady on her feet the last few weeks and diagnosed with cancer, then finally not able to get up at all. We knew this was coming and a grave was dug in anticipation. I helped finish it off on our break before this European run and when I left to go back on tour I kissed her goodbye knowing I wouldn't see her again. It was the right thing to do and we knew it was coming and still as I sit here tonight in London it's come down very hard.

For nearly 14 years Heidi was a part of our home and lives, a constant companion to our children, always ready when called to go out, she brought the paper to my wife each morning from the end of the drive wagging her tail and proud as punch while we made the coffee. She was a pillow for our youngest son while he laid on the floor watching TV, a dutiful protector when the kids would camp out in a tent in the back yard. Heidi and I walked hundreds of miles together. She loved to swim, would wear you out playing catch and I suppose like most dogs she was continually on the wrong side of the door. She was a darn good dog and we're going to miss her.

Burying a dog

There are various places in which a dog may be buried. I am thinking now of a Setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so far as I am aware, never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought. This Setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam. And at its proper season, the cherry tree strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub is an excellent place to bury a dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavoursome bone, or lifted his head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places in life or in death. Yet, it is a small matter, for if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked, and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppy hood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture lane where most exhilarating cattle grazed, is all one to the dog, and all one to you. And nothing is gained, nothing is lost if memory lives. But, there is one place to bury a dog. If you bury him in this spot, he will come to you when you call - come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel, they shall not growl at him nor resent his coming, for he belongs there. People may laugh at you who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall...who hear no whimper, people who never really had a dog. Smile at them, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing. The one best place to bury a dog is in the heart of his master.

So long,