My calendar reminders are in cue, reminding me that today, in 1993, I made the gut/heart/soul tearing decision to put my dog down. If you’ve been around here at all, or have looked at 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story, you know the Dominoe story. By orders of magnitude, this is my most viewed thing on YouTube.

In thinking about her, I opened the boxes of old analog photos, to find ones that have not been online before. Bear with my nostalgia and sweet/bittersweet memories, and then go cuddle with your own dog. Or even cat, or kid, or pet tarantula.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Somewhat symbolic, is this self timer photo I took of us staring out at the western landscape. This was on my first epic cross country road trip in 1987, when I moved to Arizona to start graduate school at ASU, but more so, to find/create a new life for myself. The vast space and the blank sky for me (now) speaks to the opportunity that was out there. Me in my mullet headed, dirty t-shirt youthful ignorance, would have ot wait to learn all this. Dominoe is saying, come on, let’s go!

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

We spent a night camping high up in the Sangro de Cristo mountains, above Santa Fe. I dont remember much of that part, except the thrill of being completely on my own.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

The next night on that trip was in Holbrook, AZ, where we “camped” in a KOA campground, which is more like camping in a parking lot next to a freeway. When I see this photo, I mock a little about what I consider camping at the time, and would discover later– but the previous photo in New Mexico and others remind me that I was not that unaware of wilderness self contained camping. KOA was really a convenience (akak a shower). This would have been the last night of our trip (which lasted about a month), and the next day, a very toasty August day, we would be at our first apartment home in Mesa, AZ.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Another pose in front of geology, here the Painted Desert, which I would have driven through as part of this first country crossing odyssey. No strong memories here, just taking in all the newness of a place I was eager to explore.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

This may be among the earliest of my Dominoe photos, taken outside the Rossridge apartment in northeast Baltimore I shared with my friend Kevin, the one who called me and asked me if I anted to adopt this run away dalmatian. I am pretty sure that red leash was the one she came with from the folks that found her. It’s funny as I don’t even remember going to the place to see her, my first memories are in this apartment. She seems to be suspicious of me. The photo is a Polaroid, and would have been something I played with when I was working as a camera sales jerk at Ritz Camera (the camera was my Grandmothers, I still have it).

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Dominoe poses patiently here somewhere near that apartment where we did out walks. The leaves and green grass suggest maybe mid-October.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Later in 1987 or 1988 I set up a darkroom in my apartment bathroom, and would have played with an inverse image of Dominoe (playing with the black and white typical dalmation color?) It was likely a color negative I put in the enlarger to see what would happen in printed in black and white? I cannot recall how I did this (this was with paper and chemicals, no, command-I).

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

I so fondly remember how serenely Dominoe could sleep – was it her partial deafness? Her comfort? I can paint many stories.

The stinging part of this was I have always questioned if July 23, 1993 was really Dominoe’s time to go. Because she was a found dog her age was always a guess; I had had her 6 years and her first vet guessed her age then as 7. She had suffered 5 years of epilepsy, treated with phenobarbital, but it had started getting a little worse, and I recall some unpredictable behavior around the friends of my step-kids.

But I was also filling my life more with work and new family, I was just married, and I hate the thought that after all we had gone through together, I maybe did not let her live as long as she might have. I think of this even more now, knowing my one sister is dealing with a dog with cancer, and my friend who found Dominoe for me lost his long lived dog earlier this year.

It’s all history, even old history ow, I don;t seek re-assurance, but it does make me reflect on how much “stuff” we can emotionally carry from this life experiences. And I do this not to re0has and second guess, but to stir all the memory ashes, and sift both the familiar and new patterns they make.

And so, even after 20n years gone by, I am still thinking about a dog I know, who was found, the lost, and who found me again.


Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Pudds died in 2003 after 17 years with me and I think about her still. I think animals remind us of our own mortality and force us to live in the moment and value each experience of life for the rare gift it is.

  2. Thanks for this, Alan… I read it with much feeling. Our much loved cat died on March 21 of this year… and to my own surprise, I realized over the past couple of weeks that I was ready to get another cat. We had a very frustrating experience at the county animal shelter (long story) on Saturday… and then, on Sunday, a stray cat showed up at our house! We live in the middle of nowhere and almost never see strays… although our last cat was also a stray who emerged from the woods and came to our door. We may be able to find this one’s owner (she clearly must have had an owner before she turned into this scrawny starving creature), but if we cannot find her owner, it looks like a new pet adventure is about to start again for us. Talk about lifelong learning!

  3. Thanks Alan for the wonderful memories of Dominoe. I do remember a beautiful brown spotted dog. You gave her so much love and attention that the last years of her life were more than she would have had. How many dogs will ever have a cross country adventure? As we deal with our Gumbo’s cancer and trying to make the right decision I realize that the moments you spend with a pet are so precious and special. Dogs give love unconditionally. I will treasure whatever time we have left with our dog.

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