Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Farewell to Doglet

I am very happy that my Beloved Bride has formed a friendship with the always-estimable Phlegmfatale. They share blogging and shooting and a love of outlandish footwear as some of their common interests. Additionally, they each have an almost unreasonable affection for dogs. Sad to say, Phlegmmy has just lost her esteemed friend of many years, the beautiful Valentine, embodiment of the excellent Jack Russell breed.
In a current blog post, Phlegmfatale shares with us her feelings on this occasion. Being an intelligent and grown-up lady, Ms. Fatale will in due course get past the grieving, the huge, painful, gaping emptiness she now feels. I pray that the remaining feelings will only encompass the warm memories of the years she shared with her Doglet.

Clearly, there are those who feel no particular affection for animals in general, nor for dogs in particular. I’m not writing of “working dogs,” those which are almost necessary in working many kinds of livestock, for personal protection or security work, nor even the beautifully efficient hunting breeds. Such animals are very useful, even for those who have few or no personal feelings for dogs. One may make a logical case that there’s little cause to invest one’s human feelings in a canine. After all, there’s little profit in it. There are losses enough in life without exposing oneself to additional grief by dedicating effort and emotion to a mere dog.

I have a big, distinguished looking Yellow Labrador, a real calendar boy. BB has two other dogs for which I’ve developed a rather unreasonable affection. It is practically unthinkable that I may one day go on without any of them. Forget logic or objective reasoning. I can clumsily relate to both sides of this discussion. I think, though, that no one has ever touched on the topic as well as Brother Kipling:

"The Power of the Dog"

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie --
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find -- it's your own affair --
But . . . you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone -- wherever it goes -- for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept'em, the more do we grieve;

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long --
So why in -- Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Rudyard Kipling
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phlegmfatale said...

Thanks, Johnny. That was lovely, and it's such a comfort knowing I'm not alone in my grief. Dogs are one of life's biggest blessings, even if they will tear your heart out-- the good outweighs the bad.

HollyB said...

Excellent post! It seems Kipling wrote po'ms for near every occasion, didn't he?

lainy said...

What a warm heartfelt poem, and oh so true.
My thoughts are of LaP and hoping that the thought of being with Valentine again one day gets her though the days now.

Shakespere said...

Hi. Your blog is very entertaining. I really enjoyed it.

Assrot said...

I have always had 3 or 4 dogs around the house and I loved them all like children.

Even when I was a young man and had a pack of hunting dogs, I loved and spent quality time with each and every one.

I have found as I look back on my life that while I am very close to my immediate family, when it comes to humanity in general, I'd rather give my heart to a dog to tear than to a human.

Human beings tend to tear your heart on purpose and will do it repeatedly if you allow it. A dog will tear your heart only once and that is when they pass away.

I'm with Phlegmfatale. When it comes to dogs, the good far outweighs the bad.

Nice poem Johnny. Thanks for another insight into good literature.