What purpose did they serve, all the good dogs that once ran through the world and wait now in the shadowy quiet of the past?
They lightened our burdens and drove away our enemies and stayed when others left us. They gave aid and comfort, protection and security. They held a mirror wherein we might see ourselves as we long to be. They gave us a glimpse of the world beyond the narrow confines of our own species.
Although we make dull students, slowly they help us learn how to command and to protect with wisdom and justice and imagination.
They taught and still teach us the joy of giving generosity and kindness and love - without the thought of gainful return.
And now - all the fleet hounds, the staunch mastiffs, the loyal shephards, the dancing toys, the fumbling puppies, pets on silken pillows, workers plodding at their tasks, the special ones you loved best, those of ours we still miss.
To Buster , Jeb, Patches, Gidget, Beau, Gulliver, Oshie, Tori and Sparkle
To Halley, To Buck,
To Boomer, Charlie, Elly, Folly, Sherlock, Emma, Don von der Berlinerstrasse, To Sashka, Daisy and Maxie, Paddlefoot, Manfred, Tut, Molly, Cleo, Wilbur and Buster, To Hulky,Tracy, Kolya and Murphey,
To J.P. , Bridger, Morgan and Phaedra,
And to Annie and Diana
To all the good dogs, goodbye
Until on some brighter day, in some fair place,
You run out to greet us again.
After Annie died, a friend wrote a letter of sympathy. She herself had lost a dog recently, and shared a story that made me smile. She had adopted him as a rescue, and his so his whole life story was never known. He had been shot at one time, and buckshot remained in his body all his life. She said that she was always curious about when you had your dog cremated, if they really, truly gave you your dogs actual ashes back - or whether you just got a combination of whatever was processed that day. So she ran his ashes under an x-ray machine and sure enough - all the pellets were there.
I grinned at this story, and took some comfort from it. Later as I reflected though, I thought - does it really matter? Really? I thought about all the dogs I had owned, and about the dogs of my friends, and about all the nameless dogs put to sleep at animal shelters everywhere - all of them - Good Dogs.
Then I remembered this piece I had in my files, copied from a magazine long ago. I don't know the source, but I wish I did.