Monday, July 26, 2010

When our dogs die

            Somehow we must reconcile ourselves to the short life-spans of our dogs, or we will become like my sister who mourned so over the loss of her Corgi that she couldn't bear to own another dog.  She seemed to think mourning was cumulative like arsenic and would one day kill us with its pain.  But I tend to think the more dogs we own the closer we are to accepting the natural course of things.  Farmers who raise animals for meat are notoriously callous about their dogs.  I could never be like them but I must accept, at least theoretically, that they are closer to the natural course of these events than I am.  And yet I can still mourn Dusty who was hit by a car when he was five and I was ten, and a little mongrel named Buzzer who was hit by another car when he was 6 months old, and a collie whom my mother sent to the pound because it barked too much and our land-lady threatened us with eviction unless we got rid of it.  And Brandy a little but very tough miniature poodle.  And Sentry and Trooper and Heidi . . . The pain and mourning spread out over them all.
            And now, though she was but seven this past May, Ginger has a grey beard, and what looked like mascara around her eyes has turned white.  Even more shocking, I have noticed that the muzzle of five-year-old Sage is beginning to turn gray. 
            "He won't return to me," David said of his son, "but one day I'll go to him."  One day some dog of mine will outlive me and it will be her turn to mourn.  May she not be like my sister.

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