Vale Jennifer
The Death of Jennifer the Maremma
Katoomba, Australia
23 April 2007


Jennifer the Mareema, laid out before her grave, 23 April 2007 companion, Jennifer the Maremma, died at 10.30 am 23 April 2007 in Katoomba.

Aged somewhere between 12 and 14 years she had been ailing for some weeks with severe arthritis in her hips and cancer in her teats.

The death came as the result of a lethal injection administered by a vet. The decision had been difficult because although at the end she needed help to stand up, she showed no signs of pain while lying, her eyes never lacked their calm clear intelligence and her presence lying at hand was ever peaceful and peace inducing.

A veteran of many a protest action she was much loved and admired where ever we travelled. Even as she was lying outside the vet surgery awaiting her death, a small crowd strangers were drawn to her beauty and calm.

I held her head and she held my eyes as the hypodermic was administered and I watched the lights go out.

Originally my father's dog, I had inherited he upon his death in 2000 and we had become nomads together. A guard dog by breed and gentle by nature, she was ever patient, sober, self contained and dignified, watching out for me like a guardian angel.

If it is true, as some say, that some dogs are so advanced in sensitivity and intelligence that they are destined for rebirth in a realm beyond dog, Jennifer will surely manifest again as a bodhisattva.

Paraphrasing Hafiz;

"White wolf, my friend,
who has travelled with me for years,
how is it now with us
crossing this vast plain separately?

Where we are going has not changed,
but without each other's company
the journey grows frightening.

The strategy of this Earth
is to pull companions apart.

Hold close to the stem of the rose you have been given.
Learn what such a friend is worth.
Write that in the margin and memorize it.

I sit by this spring and weep,
remembering those who I have loved that have died.
I say my sadness like autumn rain
and merge into the river made of such tribute."

For the Earth!

To the dust!

Graeme Dunstan

Thiango comforts Graeme as he struggles with the euthanasia decision.

Farewells from Graeme, Thiango and Cat Hassall before departing for the vet and euthanasia. Katoomba, 23 April 2007

Jennifer dies. The bed cover was donated as a shroud by the St Vinnies workers who were witnesses from across the road from Katoomba Vetinary Surgery.

Returning to the Vet, the first thing Graeme did was light a fire, fumbling through tears. Then he and Will set too and dug the grave, turning the damp Earth like so many grieving men before.

Graeme set out Koori/Green and Dharma flags, working alone while Will and Cat went off on business. Many a time Jennifer had watched as he had set oiut flags before. Cloud came in, mist in trees. Appropriate for a cold weather, mountain breed of dog to die in the mountains.

Will returned with Thiango and shared his grief with her, smoking Jennifer's corpse, sending blessings.

Nat Lowrey and Sod, dog loving friends, joined us for the burial. Will was master of ceremonies. Graeme expressed his grief reading from Hafiz.

Each of us threw in a handful of Earth and offered a prayer.

And then the wake.


The death notice above was emailed to friends who had shared Jennifer's company at 4 pm Tuesday 23 April just before her burial. The responses started coming at once and continued to come in over the next 48 hours.

The first to arrive was from my daughter Softly early rising in London and urging a Skype connection. Nat Lowrey helped me set up after the wake so I got to see and talk to my far away daughter and grand sons vidoe-ed live from London, joy and grief mixed.

Here below the responses.


Softly Dunstan

helo graeme,

just got your message now... is your skype on? would love a chat...

x softly


John 'Wititj' Allan
Friend & Dharma teacher
The Channon, NSW


Did that with our old cat a few years ago, so I know how it goes.

I will read out you note at byron and lismore groups.

My blessings gowith her . A great old being.

Blessings to you my friend.



Dr Holly High
Geelong, Victoria

Dear Graeme,

I am so sorry to hear that Jennifer has left us, and you in particular. She was a lovely and beautiful dog.

I do hope you are not too lonely without that white wolf companion.

Talk soon,



Maireid Sullivan
Aquarian sister,
Lyrebird Media, Victoria

Dearest Graeme, my heart goes out to you - Ben too expresses his heartfelt compassion.

Your poem is wonderful!

I would embrace you in this sad, tender moment. sublime.

Thank you for sharing this deep moment of your rich, pure life with us.

With much love!



Jane Nicolls
Dharma Friend,
The Grampians, Victoria

My heart goes out to you, Graeme.

Will do the Medicine Buddha prayers for your lovely girl. And for you.

Yes, of course she will be reborn a boddhisatva...
if she's not one already.

with love



Neil "Tos" Garrard
Friend and host,
Bellingen, NSW

What a wonderful entity she was this dog. Indeed vale Jennifer.

We will all miss her steady influence when you're around. Although she'd slowed a little these last few years I best remember her setting out the parameter before you had even appeared.

Such a loyal and good friend is rare.

Congratulations for having had such a blessing and thanks be for the chance to share it with you.

I'd be happy to think that I might incarnate as such a being as Jennifer.




Ruth Banfield
Ingleburn, NSW

Dear Graeme,

I feel your sorrow but I can only think of my Joy at the birth of my granddaughter.

I am sure you will have another companion with you soon.

I have been asked to go & visit Evan Lisa & Woonona.

Evan & Lisa met surfing at Woonona beach about 8 years ago.

I think it is a perfect name for our new Grand Daughter.

Her middle name will be Ashanti the same as As Lisa 's middle name which was Annudi's name before she changed it.

Love Ruth


Natalie Lowrey and Sod
Friends of the Earth

Hi Graeme.

Attached is a song from Sod and a song from me. It was a beautiful afternoon.

love you lots
Nat and Sod xx

Ole Shorty by Tex Ritter

Attached was a song for Jennifer, Go to Sleep Little Baby from Where art thou, brother?


Cheyne Morris Emissary of Light, Canberra

Thanks you Graeme for letting me know.

I appreciate what you wrote - she was a most beautiful dog and companion and will be missed.

thinking of you with love



Wendy Myers
Briar Hill, Victoria

Sad, sad news of a must depart.

Jennifer was so much a part of your daily life adjustment to her loss will not be easy - courage brother.


your sister.


Vianne Tourle
ex-wife, mother of daughters
Bathurst, NSW


She was a grand dame and a great friend to many.

She will be fondly missed by all who met her.

Best to you



Fadeel Kayat
Lake Cowal companion and Journalist
Auburn NSW

dear Graeme

i am so sorry to hear that Jennifer has passed away. i am so empathy with you and i will pray for her to rest in peace and for you to live happily.

so you are alone now....i was deeply moved by your words in her memorial.... may god bless all of us.

where are you now... in which part of the world... please write me your news and keep in touch



John Peace
Peacebus companion,, Nimbin NSW

This noble being remains in our hearts forever. Safe there, she is therefore not dead but living beauty and strength.

Thanks to your great kindness and courage she is released of the suffering of embodied Earthly life to continue in freed spirit.



Marny Bonner
Friend, Lismore

What you have written is so beautiful and worthy of the wondrous Jennifer. I recalled our photo from your website and sent her love.

Tonight, when I settle down into my doona, I will visualise snuggling into her softness and send her more.

I am now really looking forward to seeing everyone ... and your sunny smile .... I will arrive Campbelltown at either 10.15 or 10.50 on Thursday.

See you then.... M :-)


Chris Schmidt
Friend, Amsterdam
Dear Graeme,

How sad, the message I've received from you. I feel subdued since I've read it, and I am so sorry for you. I can only imagine how I'd feel when suddenly I would be without Otis. It must be a big and terrible loss for you; and to be on your own now, without the dignified and majestic Jennifer, will be difficult for quite a while. I wish you strength, Graeme.

I saw, that you've sent this message also to Willem. But as Jennifer has passed away in Katoomba: I suppose that he already knew and certainly he (and Catherine, and the little Thiango!) have comforted you / have been able to do so for at least a tiny bit, yeah?

I'm sorry I haven't contacted you lately - I'll do again soon.

Please bear this loss with the feel of gratitude for having enjoyed her company, and do take care. - CHRIS/otis


Willem Brugman
Friend, host and master of ceremonies, Culture Lab, Katoomba

Yo Graeme,

All The Best Without Her.


Attached was a song for Jennifer, Hobo's Lullaby by Joan Baez


Brett Collins
Friend, Justice Action

My Brother I feel for you in your sorrow. I remember my own distress at a similar time and I am watery eyed for you.

It is excellent to express it in a way that it can be shared. Your friends are always with you.

A big hug,

I love you,



Frame Robertson
Big Hill comrade and host,
Stawell, Victoria

Dear Graeme Sad news old son, my condolences. May she rest and return in peace.

Sad news here too, our elderly artist friend John Glover passed away on Sunday following his wife Eileen's passing a few months ago. Life is a little emptier when friends and companions leave us ; and yet we can be comforted in that our association has helped us to be better persons.

Good work being done by you guys, hounding Orica. Getting local ,state and federal pollies to sit up and take notice will be a challenge.

Meanwhile it is finally announced that the gold mine in Stawell is closing down . They are starting the wind down now; the council is suggesting that the community help with the procedure and the rehabilitation of the mine areas???????????

Keep you posted.

Gotta go

All the best for now


Eliza Thrunzo
Marrickville, Sydney

A beautiful spirit who will be greatly missed.


Linked was the following egreeting from

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Star card is about reconnecting one's Soul with the Divine -- the transcending of personality, family, community and reputation. It has to do ultimately with the freedom to be one's Self. The Soul is responding to celestial influences -- forces that can provide the personality with a stronger sense of purpose. The Star card helps us to remember our exalted origins and our attraction to a Higher Union.

This card could also be called the "Celestial Mandate" -- that which refers us back to our reason for being, our mission in this lifetime. The Star reminds us that, in a sense, we are agents of Divine Will in our day-to-day lives. If we let go of the idea that we are supposed to be in control, we can more easily notice and appreciate the synchronicities that are nudging us along. In this way, we become more conscious of the invisible Helping Hand, and we better understand our place within -- and value to -- the larger Cosmos.


Jennifer and Molly on their first visit to Wedderburn, December 2000

Aquarius comrades Paul Joeseph and Graeme take Jennifer and Molly for their first visit to the ocean Suffolk Park, January 2001

Jennifer and Miffy companion dogs, Bathurst February 2004

Jennifer as camp dog, Wedderburn 2003

In the mandala with the Venerable Santithtito, Wat Buddhalavarn, September 2003

Dawn at the Eureka memorial December 2003

Click here for some background of Jennifer and Molly

Click here for past productions of

Click here for the Home page of

If you want to get media releases, notice of upcoming actions and reports of those actions, send us @n email and we'll put you on our emailing list. can be contacted in Australia on 0407 951 688
and by email at


Doing best we can. For peace! For justice!
For the Earth!

web-design by rebelart ;O)--~