THERE was genuine shock across the Yes movement last week when National columnist Paul Kavanagh, author of the Wee Ginger Dug blog, suffered a severe stroke.

The blog is named after Paul’s beloved pet dog that he rescued after it was abandoned in Valencia in Spain in 2007, with the Wee Ginger Dug himself becoming the star of many National Roadshows and other Yes movement rallies and meetings.

But from his sick bed in hospital, Paul has had to announce that the Wee Ginger Dug has passed away.

He was put to sleep after his vet said nothing more could be done to help a very sick and pain-racked dog who was riddled with arthritis.

The cruel timing of his loss has deeply upset Paul, who bravely said: “I wasn’t surprised, to be honest.

“He had been declining for a while and it was always a nightmare trying to get medication into him as he was always fussy about his food.

“In the days before I went into hospital he just stopped eating, and then he just went into a downward spiral, and he couldn’t stand anybody touching him on the hips because they were so painful.

READ MORE: Paul Kavanagh's 'Wee Ginger Dug' put to sleep after suffering with arthritis

“He was obviously in a lot of pain and then he couldn’t even stand up.”

Paul’s husband Peter Bellefleur was with Ginger when he was put to sleep – “he knew that he was loved,” said Paul.

Ginger came to Paul and his then partner Andy when they were living in Spain.

Andy said he had a dream about them getting a dog, and told Paul that it was a wire-haired ginger dog with a curly tail and white socks on its feet, and they lived in an independent Scotland.

Paul used to run an English language magazine which featured appeals for people to adopt dogs from rescue charities. The magazine had stopped publication, but Paul received an email from one of the charities and it had a picture of a ginger dog.

He showed it to Andy, who said: “That was the dog in my dreams.” Paul promptly drove to Elche and picked up Ginger, who came to Scotland when Paul and Andy moved here with Andy suffering dementia, from which he died in 2014.

“Ginger was a lifesaver for me,” said Paul. “I honestly think Andy sent him to me.”

Paul let slip a couple of Ginger’s terrible secrets – he hated other dogs but only ever bit one person, and that was a Unionist, a Labour councillor whose own dog had bitten Ginger.

And at a public meeting in Crieff – “he loved them because he was a diva who could work a crowd” – Ginger went out for some relief ... on the doorstep of the local Conservative Association.

A crowdfunder is under way to help Paul’s rehab. Details at