Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace. ~Milan Kundera
This week has gone to the dogs … so, this weekend is for the dogs that are gone. Gone from our sight, of course, because they’re never really gone are they? They’ve just run on ahead of us, just over that grassy green horizon, waiting for us to catch up. They live on in our hearts and in our memories, maybe in the dogs that we meet along the roads we travel. If you listen, you can hear the click click click of nails on hardwood, the lapping and slurping of water, the gentle snores and the whimpers of rabbit-chasing dreams. Happiness is a warm puppy, and in our hearts they will always be puppies. Playing and exploring and running … way over yonder … just over that horizon. With love, Christy and Jennie
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ~Charles M. Schulz
My life was lonely and blue
Yeah I was sad as a sailor
I was an angry ‘un too
Then there was you
Appeared, when I was entangled
With youth, and fear, and nerves
Vermouth and beer
Were gettin’ me mangled up
But then I looked in your eyes
And I was no more a failure
You looked so wacky and wise
And I said, lord I’m happy
’cause I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song
It’s just me and my dog
Catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong
“The Dog Song” by Nellie Mckay, from Get Away From Me
“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” ~John Grogan, Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
“The dog of your boyhood teaches you a great deal about friendship, and love, and death: Old Skip was my brother. They had buried him under our elm tree, they said—yet this wasn’t totally true. For he really lay buried in my heart.” ~Willie Morris, My Dog Skip
“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” ~Roger A. Caras
“The dog’s agenda is simple, fathomable, overt: I want. “I want to go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you. There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.” ~Caroline Knapp, Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs
“Dogs are minor angels, and I don’t mean that facetiously. They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy, etcetera. If we attributed some of those qualities to a person we would say they are special. If they had ALL of them, we would call them angelic. But because it’s “only” a dog, we dismiss them as sweet or funny but little more. However when you think about it, what are the things that we most like in another human being? Many times those qualities are seen in our dogs every single day– we’re just so used to them that we pay no attention.” ~Jonathan Carroll
“Jason Oliver C. Smith, a big dumb guy who was tan, died March 30 of lung cancer and old age. He was 13 years old and lived in New Jersey, Pennsylvania. At the time of his death, his license was current and he had had all of his shots. He is survived by two adults, three children, a cat named Daisy who drove him nuts, and his lifelong companion, Pudgy, whose spaying he always regretted, as well as a host of fleas who have gone elsewhere, probably to Pudgy. He will be missed by all, except Daisy. He never bit anyone, which is more than you can say for most of us.” ~Anna Quindlen, an obituary for her golden retriever
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” ~John Grogan, Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
“A dog is not “almost human” and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such.” ~John Holmes
“The more I see of man, the more I like dogs.” ~Mme. de Staël
If my dog is barred by the heavenly guard
We’ll both of us brave the heat!
~W. Dayton Wedgefarth
“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.” ~Mark Twain, letter to W.D. Howells, 2 April 1899
“A place where we all go can’t be bad, can it girl?”
by Kasey Jueds
Once during that year
when all I wanted
was to be anything other
than what I was,
the dog took my wrist
in her jaws. Not to hurt
or startle, but the way
a wolf might, closing her mouth
over the leg of another
from her pack. Claiming me
like anything else: the round luck
of her supper dish or the bliss
of rabbits, their infinite
grassy cities. Her lips
and teeth circled
and pressed, tireless
pressure of the world
that pushes against you
to see if you’re there,
and I could feel myself
inside myself again, muscle
to bone to the slippery
core where I knew
next to nothing
about love. She wrapped
my arm as a woman might wrap
her hand through the loop
of a leash—as if she
were the one holding me
at the edge of a busy street,
instructing me to stay.
by Kate DiCamillo
Once, I was in New York,
in Central Park, and I saw
an old man in a black overcoat walking
a black dog. This was springtime
and the trees were still
bare and the sky was
gray and low and it began, suddenly,
big fat flakes
that twirled and landed on the
black of the man’s overcoat and
the black dog’s fur. The dog
lifted his face and stared
up at the sky. The man looked
up, too. “Snow, Aldo,” he said to the dog,
“snow.” And he laughed.
The dog looked
at him and wagged his tail.
If I was in charge of making
snow globes, this is what I would put inside:
the old man in the black overcoat,
the black dog,
two friends with their faces turned up to the sky
as if they were receiving a blessing,
as if they were being blessed together
as simple as snow
“Snow, Aldo” by Kate DiCamillo. © Kate DiCamillo.
Choosing A Dog
by William Stafford
“It’s love,” they say. You touch
the right one and a whole half of the universe
wakes up, a new half.
Some people never find
that half, or they neglect it or trade it
for money or success and it dies.
The faces of big dogs tell, over the years,
that size is a burden: you enjoy it for awhile
but then maintenance gets to you.
When I get old I think I’ll keep, not a little
dog, but a serious dog,
for the casual, drop-in criminal —
My kind of dog, unimpressed by
dress or manner, just knowing
what’s really there by the smell.
Your good dogs, some things that they hear
they don’t really want you to know —
it’s too grim or ethereal.
And sometimes when they look in the fire
they see time going on and someone alone,
but they don’t say anything.
“To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to.
. . .
My soul has learned what it came to learn, and all the other things are just things. We can’t have everything we want. Sometimes, we simply have to believe.
. . .
He died that day because his body had served its purpose. His soul had done what it came to do, learned what it came to learn, and then was free to leave.”
~Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain
“When you have dogs, you witness their uncomplaining acceptance of suffering, their bright desire to make the most of life in spite of the limitations of age and disease, their calm awareness of the approaching end when their final hours come. They accept death with a grace that I hope I will one day be brave enough to muster.” ~Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
“My little old dog
at my feet”
“How many summers does a little dog have?”
~Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
(I like to think we’ll all be reunited with our dogs one day. I can only imagine the happy reunions, a little like these … If this video doesn’t make you cry happy tears, you are probably a cat.)
“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?” ~Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
This week’s Dog themed music playlist via YouTube, features music by: Cat Stevens, Dolly Parton, Nick Drake, Heart, Patty Griffin and more.
And while it isn’t exactly a “dog song,” I wanted to include one of my favorites–“10,000 Words” performed acoustically by The Avett Brothers, starring special guest Hud. Just one of at least 10,000 reasons why I love The Avett Brothers. Enjoy. Give your dog(s) a hug for me. -christy