May 22, 2020

A Goodbye to a Very Good Boy

During this strange year of 2020, where offices have been shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve felt very lucky that, in the business of books, working from home is easy even if we haven’t been able to see our colleagues and authors in person.

Today, though, we’re feeling sad that there’s someone we’ll never welcome back to the offices again. Buster, the undisputed boss of begging for belly rubs and sniffing out snacks, has said his last farewell and gone to take his place on the comfiest sofa in heaven.

Buster was such a personality, greeting all our friends with a wag of the tail, always happy to help promote our books or be the silent sounding board for anyone who needed a screen break. We asked our authors if they’d like to share anything, and they’ve all responded in their own unique way. 

Andy Griffee, author of Canal Pushers and River Rats, has shared his own dog Eddie’s thoughts as Buster’s pal:

Dear Buster,

Andy has told me that you have now departed to the Great Kennel in the Sky. I imagine it to be a place of endless walks in bluebell woods with the most glorious smells, the finest steak served in silver bowls, the most comfortable sofa-beds and an ear-rub whenever you want one. 

As you know, I live with a dog with long ears called Fitz and I consider spaniels to be the finest breed in the world – after Border terriers of course. I will, however, concede that your sense of smell is more developed than ours and I know you were constantly sniffing out treats from the visiting literati at Orphans Publishing.

I did so admire the way in which you kept tabs on everything that happened there, whilst also managing to sleep a lot. This is the sign of a truly great pack leader and manager of the pound. 

After a long lifetime in publishing, you are no doubt better read than I am. However, I am the lead character (or should it be character on a lead?) in my own crime mystery series – so let’s call it a draw.

I know your humans will miss you terribly, but we can both take some comfort in the fact that, although they think they own us for a while, it is actually the other way around. 

All the very best my canine friend. I’ll join you in doggy heaven one day.

Sniff and a Lick, 


Carly Tinkler, author of the aptly titled Black Dog Sunday, has shared this haiku in his honour. Like the lifespan of our canine friends, it’s brief but beautiful. 


Sweet brown eyes close now.

Dream. Run free. Tail up, warm breeze.

Rabbits, meadows, moons.

Illustration by Iain Welch:

Tamsin Westhorpe, author of Diary of a Modern Country Gardener, remembers his inimitable influence on the office:

Buster was always the first to greet you at Orphans. Being a terrier owner I looked on in awe as he took a little walk around the car park and then waited by the door to be let back in. My dog would have legged it and cocked his leg on the piles of valuable freshly printed booklets and leaflets!

Having worked in the office at Orphans for a short while on my book I noticed the way that everyone would quickly leap up to open doors for Buster. It was just something that they’d automatically do. He had everyone wrapped around his paws. I think he knew exactly what was going on – moving from room to room and floor to floor with his nose to the ground. He was surely the most well educated dog in the publishing world. He will be missed.

And finally, Linda Hurcombe, author of The Jesse Tree sends us her ‘Postscript from Above’ in the words of the best boy himself:

‘When I first met Peter Please, I was already a venerable chap with the best job in the world, attending meetings and lunches involving delicious snacks with my human companions. Part of the job was also greeting hundreds of visitors, sometimes with their dogs, to Helen and Andy’s place at Orphans.

‘One day, this skinny long-legged long-nosed scruffy brown fella arrived with his not-so-skinny human, one of many word-lovers who would visit my Helen to discuss the stories they’d written and that Helen would help make books with. Sometimes I wished I had hands to write stories, but then maybe not.

‘Peter Please’s human gave me a tripe stick, and asked if I fancied a walk. I’m a ‘yes’ kind of dog so the answer was ‘yes!’ The walks turned into a pleasant feature whenever Peter Please and his human visited. I’d saunter off at my own pace and then return to Peter Please’s side when I felt like it.

Over time I began to feel quite weary in a pleasant sort of way, and morphed into a gentler mode of my job with a welcoming lift of the head and a bumpy thump of the tail.

I’m not sure I ever met anyone I didn’t like. You’d have to ask Helen. But Linda and Peter Please said I always made them feel very special, which can’t be a bad thing for a dog young or old, on earth or as it is in heaven.

All love, Buster’

Rest in peace and run free, Buster. We’ll keep holding the kitchen door open and see you again sometime, we’re sure.

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