In 1965 soon after buying his house on Cavendish Avenue, Paul McCartney bought his first pet, an Old English sheepdog puppy he named the dog Martha. She was born June 16, 1966.
About Martha, Paul said,
“She was a dear pet of mine. I remember John (Lennon) being amazed to see me being so loving to an animal.” He said, ‘I’ve never seen you like that before.’ I’ve since thought, you know, he wouldn’t have. It’s only when you’re cuddling around with a dog that you’re in that mode, and she was a very cuddly dog.”
Here’s a really cool photo of Lennon and McCartney walking Martha.
Here’s Martha at The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever” video shoot.
In 1997, McCartney revealed that Martha had been the inspiration behind the song “Martha My Dear” and that it was not a message of love to Jane Asher, who McCartney intended to marry in 1968 and who many listeners thought the song was actually about. It’s a communication of some sort of affection but in a slightly abstract way, McCartney said,
‘You silly girl, look what you’ve done,’ all that sort of stuff. These songs grow. Whereas it would appear to anybody else to be a song to a girl called Martha, it’s actually a dog, and our relationship was platonic, believe me.”
McCartney also said,
“When I taught myself piano I liked to see how far I could go, and this started life almost as a piece you’d learn as a piano lesson. It’s quite hard for me to play, it’s a two-handed thing, like a little set piece. In fact I remember one or two people being surprised that I’d played it because it’s slightly above my level or competence really, but I wrote it as that, something a bit more complex for me to play. Then while I was blocking out words – you just mouth out sounds and some things come – I found the words ‘Martha My Dear‘.”
Martha died in 1981 at the age of 15 at McCartney’s farm house in Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. She is survived by her offspring, one of which was featured on McCartney’s 1993 album “Paul Is Live” album cover. Her name is Arrow.