Now, the man has found a way to bond with a pet Samoyed Husky forever.
Liverpudlian Tony Jenkins, who has lived most of his life in Strabane, Co Tyrone, hired a Donegal weaver to knit him a cardigan from the hair of his daughter’s pet dog Harry, who passed away in April 2015.
Last month, the chunky white garment, which cost €700, was delivered to a delighted Tony.
“It’ll be three years this April since Harry died. I remember when he had arrived, he was just a huge ball of wool but I lifted him and I could feel his heart racing; he was terrified.
“How it all started was when my daughter Bernie’s boyfriend bought her the dog and, one day when she left for work, she left him in the utility room. As she lived just below us, I could hear him pining.
“That was the first day I went over and picked him up and something clicked — there was a bond from that moment.”
It was when Harry fell ill that the bond was sadly broken, temporarily at least.
“He developed pneumonia and the vet had no option but to put him to sleep. When the vet gave him the injection, Harry collapsed into my arms and died.
“I’m not overly sentimental, but I cried for the first time since I was young.
“I had about 3kg of his hair and I thought it would be a good idea to get a cardigan made,” he said. “The big thing was to have the hair carded so it could be spun into wool and it took me ages to get someone to do that.
“Then I called at Studio Donegal in Kilcar one day and spoke to Tristan Donaghy. He said he wasn’t interested but I asked him to look at the hair in the car boot and, as he was talking, he started twirling the hair and changed his mind.”
An older and smaller carding machine was located, and Mr Donaghy’s mother used a traditional spinning wheel to turn Harry’s hair into wool. The garment was completed and delivered last month.
“I still miss Harry and he wasn’t even my dog — I just looked after him — but there was a special bond and I can still feel close to him this way,” Tony added.