Leonard Cohen On His Dog, Tinkie, “The Closest Being To Me During My Childhood” – “And even today / I stop every scottie / to claim you back” From The Flame

“To Tinkie” is a passage from The Notebooks section of The Flame by Leonard Cohen. Tinkie was the Scottish Terrier Leonard called “the closest being to me during my childhood.”


SL: Did you have a dog when you were little?

LC: Yes, I had a Scottie, Scottish terrier. His name was, my mother named him, Tovarich, “comrad.” We called him Tinkie.1 And yes, a very – I guess the closest being to me during my childhood. The dog would sleep under my bed and follow me to school, and wait for me. So that was a great sense of companionship.

SL: Because you sometimes write about the dog.

LC: Well I have his picture on my dresser in Los Angeles. We loved that dog. My sister gave me his picture framed as a present.

SL: And what happened when he died?

LC: He died when he was about 13 years old, which is quite old for a dog. And he just asked to go out one night – you know how a dog will just go and stand beside the door? – so we opened the door, it was a winter night, and he walked out, and we never saw him again. And it was very distressing. I put ads in the newspaper, and people would say, “Yes, we have found a Scottie,” and you’d drive 50 miles and it wouldn’t be your Scottie. And we only found him in the springtime when the snow melted, and the smell came from under the neighbour’s porch. He’d just gone outside, and gone under the neighbour’s porch to die. It was some kind of charity to his owners.2


Note: Tinkie is also spelled “Tinky” and “Tinke” in various publications.


I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). The portion about Leonard’s account of his family’s dog was originally posted September 26, 2010 at DrHGuy.com. The content re his notebook entry, To Tinkie, was posted Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Sometimes spelled “Tinky” []
  2. Excerpt from Leonard Cohen’s 2001 interview with Stina Lundberg, The photo of Tinkie, Esther Cohen (Leonard’s Sister), & Leonard Cohen atop this post was contributed by Maarten Massa. []

Leave a Reply