On Dogs (Discovery for 8.29.09)

Good dogs are everything that humans hope to be, but never have quite achieved yet.  

When I think back on all my good dogs I had when I was a boy, I can't help getting a little bit sad. There was Arky, a little obese weiner dog my aunt in Arkansas gave me.  He thought he was a big, ferocious dog, and would bare his teeth to anyone who threatened me.  He sat right beside me when I propped my back against a tree to read a summer afternoon away.  There was Fala, a white spitz I named after FDR and Eleanor's trusty dog.  Every day Fala trotted out to Hoskins' Grocery where my bus let me off. Everyone on the school bus crowded to one side so they could see him sitting there patiently awaiting my arrival.  When the bus screeched to a halt there he'd wag his tail--three thumps on the ground behind him--then jump up to walk home with me.  

Those were the two I had the longest, although there were others along the way.  I miss them every single one.  

And now I have other dogs, but my favorite of all is old Rufus, who is ten years old now, and showing his age in the way he's not running quite as fast anymore, in the slow way he arises in the mornings when I first step outside, in his wise brown eyes.  He's the best of dogs because he always knows when you need him, and when you do, he'll sit right there and not move a muscle until he knows that you're done with being still.  Then he will arise and even though he's old and tired he'll dance around a little to get you smiling.  And once he knows he has done his job he'll zoom back off into the woods to rush rabbits out of the underbrush or mess with a groundhog.  Sometimes he emerges from the woods completely covered in mud from rolling around in the shoals of God's Creek.  Or covered in burrs from an overgrown pasture he's travelled through.  Once he came back home with his butt full of buckshot.  But he always comes when I whistle for him.  

That's the main thing we can ask of those we depend on the most:  to simply be there when we call.  That's what Rufus always does.  That's what the really good dogs always do.  The thing is, dogs are so much more dependable that way.  They're who we want to be.  


Amy Clark said…
That last line says it all.
Becky Mushko said…
Being owned by a good dog is truly a blessing.
Bev Marshall said…
Hey Silas,

You must still be thinking of me as "Sister" because I wrote about all of our dogs recently on my journal on my web site. Your dogs sound nicer than mine!!
A good dog is dependable company... their kind of compassion is better than a guardian angel's to me.
It's as Plato says..."A Dog has the soul of a philosopher"
Rusty said…
My dog Sarge died 23 years ago. I have not had one since, and I miss him even still.
Keith Wilson said…
And maybe that's why I never much liked cats. Because dogs are what we want to be, and cats are who we are. haha.
Hazardgal said…
Great pic and great words!
Jennifer said…
Dogs provide simple, unfettered friendship and love.

Anonymous said…
I love the little sweet face of this puppy!
Anonymous said…
I think my dog has a part of my soul inside of her...or maybe it is the other way around. I only hope she thinks I am half as cool as I think she is.
Ladybird said…
Great blog and your last line says it all in a nutshell. Enjoyed it.
Leeuna said…
I just discovered your blog and I am so happy I did. I am enjoying your music, your discoveries and your beautiful thoughts. And yes, you are so right about dogs. Dogs are my favorite people. We can learn a lot from them.
Charles Semones said…

Your comments are true and moving. There is no way I can tell you how much what you have said means to me. To this day, I miss every dog I ever had and lost. Yes, it's true, your last line says it so well and so accurately. I am a dog person. As someone has said, I think of myself as living in a culture of "Dog." Thank you so much for writing as you did.

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