• Peter Swank

David Bowie's Dog

Updated: Mar 23

David Bowie’s dog, Max, passed away today (rest in peace). He was a Shih Tzu / Poodle mix with different colored eyes (like his human counterpart). Meeting Max was the closest I ever came to meeting Ziggy Stardust in person.


In New York for Bowie’s March 2016 tribute concerts, I walked by his 285 Lafayette Street residence for the first time- just to see where the rock star used to live. I was a little surprised to see just some small, almost unremarkable graffiti nearby to memorialize Bowie’s home. Crossing the street towards the building’s entrance, I glanced left and right for traffic. My eyes suddenly locked on a woman walking her dog. Being a dog lover (and our paths naturally intersecting on the sidewalk), I commented on the pup and asked if I could say hi to it. The woman politely agreed, as I knelt down to introduce myself.


I quickly noticed the different colored eyes, and my mental database went into overdrive. I glanced down at the dog’s collar and tags and read its name, “Max.” Drawing circumstantial conclusions, I knew whose dog this was.


Max was a little standoffish, as though he wasn’t interested in meeting a stranger. He wore booties to protect his paws from the Winter’s sidewalk. I was able to get in a few good pets, though. I engaged the dog walker in light conversation, who told me Max wasn’t hers (that she just took care of him) and that the street was used the prior day for filming a movie (why “fake” snow was on the ground). She asked if I wanted “to know a secret” about the dog. As I stood up, I told her that I already knew the secret.


When the walker saw the Bowie lightning bolt shirt I was wearing, she slowly backed away (as I did the same). I politely tried to calm the walker, stating I meant no disrespect and wasn’t a crazy fan (although a fan I was / am- just not the crazy, dangerous type). I extended my sympathies for the family’s recent loss, and we continued in light conversation as I tried to engage Max’s attention.


I’d have loved to converse more with the walker and played a bit with the adorable Max, but I knew I shouldn’t keep them from their day. Saying my farewell, I was internally as giddy as a kid with chocolate. I JUST MET DAVID BOWIE’S DOG! To a dog and Bowie lover, this was a dream-come-true.


Thank you to Max, the dog walker, and the Bowie / Jones family for granting me this unique life experience. It was a true privilege! I've lost my own 4-legged "son," and although of course different in many ways, I understand your grief. May he rest in peace, forever embraced in David's smile.


Actual photos of when Peter met Max in 2016


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