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Friday, November 13, A.D. 2009
The Power of the Dog

My dog died last night. He was a seventeen year old Shetland Sheepdog, and his name was Lucky. We did not name him, though it clearly fit; for he joined the family when he was two years old. He lived many years with us, and he was a very good dog.

Last year, I posted the following poem from Rudyard Kipling. It is appropriate to post it again.

“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 to 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-term 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?

Posted by Joseph on Friday, November 13, Anno Domini 2009
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