"They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth." Here is a tribute to the Sage Companions' dog-friends. Enjoy
Q at 20
THE CHASE AT SEVEN TIMES 20
Itsy-Bitsy!!" loudly he proclaims.
I got my love of nature and my affection for dogs from my mother. She had a deep sensitivity to animals, which I share.
Santa left my first dog when I was nine years old. Dad told me that Pepper was a wire-haired terrier. I think Pepper was mostly a mutt. Pepper slept under my covers, loved to chase cars, and was best friends with the dog-catcher. I had him for 12 years.
Next was Kelly, a female German shepherd. My three children grew up with her. Kelly was also with me for 12 years.
Shortly after Kelly passed on, we got Noga: A Westy (West
Highland white terrier). Noga was a good dog: easy to have around,
well-behaved, and adaptable. He lived with me in Minneapolis,
North Dakota; and Moorhead, Minnesota.
Noga lived for almost 17 years.
As his time came to an end, I vowed to make decisions on his care based on his needs not on my needs to have him with me or to end my suffering.
Finally, the time came and I had him put to sleep. He slipped away quickly. That trip to the vet was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
Noga’s ashes sit on my bookcase.
Melanie and I have two dogs. Maddy is Melanie’s almost 12-year-old black lab and Casey my almost nine-year-old and 20-pound American Eskimo. Maddy, two years older than Casey, loves everyone and will run instead of fight a canine attacker. I can call for Casey and Maddy will get up and amble over to me, sit in front of me, and stare until I pet her. If I leave the house and forget to pick up Casey’s food dish, Maddy will be sure to empty it as soon as the door closes.
A loyal protector, Casey keeps one eye on me at all times and will battle the largest and fiercest dogs that he thinks threaten me. He doesn’t know how little he is. A tough guy on the street, he’s a lover in the house.
I’m more than a little pathetic about Casey: Melanie says I look at him and handle him just like a mother does a newborn baby. He replaced the void Noga left in my heart and he and I bonded.
We walk Maddy and Casey daily, and I take care of them during the day when Melanie is at work. They know my every move and I know their every trick to manipulate me to give them a treat. I marvel at their authenticity, people skills, natural innocence, and ability to adapt to circumstances without complaint.
Dogs have been a life-long joy in my life. Sure, they can be a burden at times. Travel would be easier without them. The house would be cleaner without dog hair to be vacuumed. Casey’s barking irritates us.
But the loss of their aliveness and loyalty would be great. We would miss Maddy’s neediness, Casey rolling onto his back so we can rub his belly, and their chorus of barks whenever Melanie and I dance or hug one another.
Dogs have helped me to become a more empathetic and compassionate person more sensitive to all that lives. I respect and care about all living creatures. I do not consider myself greater than them. We are just different.
Henry Beston said it well:
We need another and wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err.
For the animal shall not be measured by man.
In a world older and more complete than ours
they move furnished and complete,
gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained,
living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth. Dogs have helped me [us]to be a more spiritual human being.
Richard Sharp with his Havanese, Ernesto, named for Ernesto (Che) Guevaro, Richard's hero as a junior in high school, when he thought he was a revolutionary and Che and Castro were battling the dictator Batista.
Yes, Che was not really Cuban, but neither is Ernesto, yet he resists authority and can sometimes can be revolting.
- from Jan (Pondlady and Curmudgeon) -This story. Twenty years ago, we decided we needed a dog. One of my clients had greyhounds and I was enchanted by them. .We were turned down by the rescue society because we were a gay couple, so we went to the source. My client knew the folks at the Mobile dog track from whence the rescues came.
We drove there and Ursula came home with us. She was shy when we got here and had never played in her 4 years of life.
We taught her to play and run and chase and be a dog. She died at 14 years old, an old age for a dog that big.
We decided that we would have no more dogs because we going to travel more. On one of our trips to our "retirement" home, we heard a yelp as a truck sped away.
A tiny fuzzy puppy had been
thrown from the truck and abandoned.
Bella came into our lives that night 3 years ago. She is mostly Golden and lots of other things. We cannot imagine life without her.
Claudine Lundgren lives on a 10 acre farm and have 6 Pygmy, 4
cats, and 3 dogs.