Friday, October 10, 2014

31 Days - Day 10 - Dogs

Ever since I can remember, I've had a dog.  There was a Great Dane named Duke who towered over me and stole my mittens when I was three.

My best pal galumphed into my life when I was five.  He was black with a small patch of white on his chest and the tips of his humongous paws.  Pepe was my best friend until I was 17.  I whispered all of my sorrows to him as he leaned against me and licked away my tears.

There are times when only a dog will do
For a friend… when you're beaten sick and blue
And the world's all wrong, for he won't care
If you break and cry, or grouch and swear,
For he'll let you know as he licks your hands
That he's downright sorry … and understands.
~Vagabond's House; Don Blanding

My pal Pepe was eager to please, and balanced precariously atop his doghouse on command, or caught a ball and tossed it back.  I loved to tease him, to "catch" his front paws, and he did his best to pull them out of the way.  When he was really excited, he'd dance - all four paws going to beat the band.  He had a short tail, and he didn't wag it so much as twirl it in a circle.

In the whole history of the world there is but one thing that money can not buy -
 to wit, the wag of a dog's tail.  ~ Henry Wheeler Shaw.

He was so smart.  If I wanted to go uptown to do a bit of shopping, I took Pepe along for company.  He'd wait outside the store till I was finished, then dance to greet me as if to say, "You've been gone SO long!"  Sometimes, I wanted to shop for a longer time, so I'd say, "Pepe, go HOME."  He'd look at me sadly, hesitating... thinking he might be in trouble, and did I really mean that I wanted him to leave me?  Sternly, I'd command, "Go Home!"  He'd slowly turn, and walk away, looking back in case I'd change my mind.

He was always waiting on the porch when I got home.

Give the boy a dog and you've furnished him a playmate

Always true and faithful as can be.  A Gift. By Berton Braley

When he died, I grieved for weeks and weeks.  I still hope there will be dogs in heaven, so I can be reunited with Pepe.  Like the Indian in Alexander Pope's Essay on Man, I want a companion dog for all of eternity.

But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,

His faithful dog shall bear him company.
Alexander Pope 1688 - 1744
Essay on Man.   Epistle 1  Line 111

John Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is replete with quotes about dogs.  Since creation, dogs have been man's best friend.  If you're a dog person, you'll understand this:

Love me, love my dog. ~John Heywood

Latin version: Qui me amat, amet et canem meum.  
(Who loves me will love my dog also.)  Sermo Primus

The dogs in my life right now include Hunny, a tiny Cairn/Jack Russell cross with a huge heart and a lot of enthusiasm.  Hunny just loves life!  Everything makes her happy.  

I had a little dog and my dog was very small;
He licked me in the face, and he answered to my call;
Of all he treasures that were mine I loved him most of all.
~ Frances  Cornford, A Child's Dream

The second one is Kaia, a Kuvasz.  She is big, and white, and hairy, and she's always at my feet.  Even now, as I type this, my toes are warmed by her tummy as she lies underneath my desk.  She smells faintly of "Eau de Moufette", as she was sprayed by a skunk last night when she fearlessly protected our hens and horse from the intruder.

The poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend.
 ~George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron

I was in a wheelchair a couple of years ago (three broken metatarsal bones in my foot), and this dog knew I was in pain.  She hardly left my side, and worried that I might fall again.  Of course, she didn't express this in English, but her big brown eyes and tail waving slightly let me know of her concern.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can  have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.  A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness.

~George Graham Vest, 1830 - 1904, Eulogy on the Dog

My only regret about being a dog-lover is that they never live long enough.  We had a dog named Abraham, who lived to the ripe old age of 15.5, but died too soon.

Stephen Foster understood the joy of having an old dog as a friend:

When thoughts recall the past,
His eyes on me are cast;
I know that he feels what my breaking heart would say;
Although he cannot speak,
I'll vainly, vainly seek

A better friend than old dog Tray.  Stephen Foster.

I expect I'll always have a dog.  If I live long enough to say good-bye to Hunny and Kaia, there'll be another one, different to be sure, but welcomed heartily and loved much.

Be with me Beauty for the fire is dying,
My dog and I are old, too old for roving… 
~on Growing Old ; John Masefield  Sonnet 1

If I ever end up without a dog for a season, this will echo my sentiments:

I have no dog, but it must be
Somewhere there's one belongs to me -
A little chap with wagging tail,
And dark brown eyes that never quail.
My dog, Stanza 1 by John Kendrick Bangs 1862-1922

Finally, this:

Recollect that the Almighty, who gave the dog to be companion of our pleasures and our toils, hath invested him with a nature noble and incapable of deceit. ~Sir Walter Scott, 1771 - 1832

How about you?  Are you a dog lover?  Do you have a companion who wags his tail in circles and does a little happy dance whenever you get home?  Have you had dogs all of your life?  

No comments:

Post a Comment