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Letter to the Editor: The Dowson family dog, Luke the Drifter

A letter to the editor from John Dowson
Letter to the Editor MJT1
Letter to the Editor

(Editor’s Note:  This is a follow-up story to the recently published Richard Dowson story ‘The Family Dog.’ John Dowson from Newmarket, Ontario supplies the story of Luke.)

Luke was owned by Mrs. Latimer who lived in [Toronto] on Bayview Ave at Finch Ave. Her husband and her were had been Missionaries in China and managed to escape the Chinese civil war which was from 1945 to 1949. Luke was a Boxer dog they had purchased in China and brought with them to Canada.

When I met Mrs. Latimer her husband had died and she was living in retirement and kept bees. I delivered the Globe and Mail and Mrs. Latimer was my last customer, at the end of the route. She asked me if I had a dog and I told her about Judy who attacked everyone and had to be put down and that I had kept one of her pups, Butch, a large brown dog. Butch was killed by a car when he ran across the street to greet me. Well she said boys should have a dog and she gave Luke to me to keep. I was, I guess 13 at the time. 

Luke came home with me and every morning I would take Luke with me on my paper route. I’d wake up at 6 am, go to the corner of Parkview Ave and Yonge street and collect a bundle of papers that were left there by the Globe and Mail truck. I’d deliver papers up to our house where I would have breakfast while my mum folded my papers. I’d then leave the house with Luke and the folded papers. Luke walked sideways alongside my bike all the way to Mrs. Latimer’s and back home six days a week. 

When I got older, I handed my paper route and my bike to my Brother Richard and he and Luke would deliver the Globe and Mail every morning. Luke would be up and ready to go every morning at 6 am and when there was no paper route he’s go out by himself and follow the paper route and come back for breakfast.

Luke lived for 17 years and he was never forgotten by all my friends and the family. A friend, Al Hepburn called him “Luke the drifter”.

My Dad took care of Luke on his last night. In the morning he took Luke over near King City and buried him near a barn on an abandoned farm. 

by John Dowson, Newmarket, Ontario; submitted by Richard Dowson

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