It’s amazing how we stumble upon something that we had absolutely no intention of looking for–even though thoughts about the topic may very well have been swirling around in our heads at the time. This happened just this morning as I realized that the emptiness that lurks around here since our little black dog is gone seems ever deepening.
Good wishes and kind words by so many people have helped, but there’s something missing just the same. And while looking for a short story I’d read a long time ago–along with my 8th graders in literature class–the Kipling poem jumped out at me. I share it with you now, to enjoy and to remember all of the joys our furry friends have given us. Happy Easter, one and all!
“The Power of a Dog”
By Rudyard Kipling
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But 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 that nature permits
Are closing in asthma or tumors 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
When the whimper of welcome is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone–wherever it goes–for good,
You still 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 time 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?