About Me

My photo
Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

"dear dogs" - a winsome letter

A couple of days ago I posted a poem from To your dog and to my dog, a collection from 1915.  Today I'd like to share with you the dedication, written to dogs everywhere.  Though its viewpoint is dated - I'd never be caught dead calling my dog my "slave," specially when it seems to be the other way round - its sincerity is worth the read.  I've edited it just a touch for brevity.
* * *
Dear Dogs:—

I have brought together in my library a few of the many proofs that show how true is the affection which many of your masters have for you, and some-time when I can read them to you privately, you will understand more fully the place you hold in our lives. I use the word MASTER only because our language is too poor to express in one word the real relationship which exists between us, we the master, and you the devoted slave and trusted servant, the most joyful of playfellows, and the best of companions, the bravest defender, and the truest friend. I wish I knew the word in your language which expresses all that you are to us. I also wish I knew how much you know, and could learn the many things you would gladly teach us.
You can see what we cannot see.
You can hear sounds we cannot hear.
You interpret signs we cannot read.
You scent the trails we cannot find.
You talk to us with your speaking eyes, and we cannot understand.

You are sometimes cruelly treated, and so are human beings, and sometimes we have to punish you for you are not always good. You have a certain amount of deviltry in your nature which we rather like, for it makes you more human and lovable. Your sins, however, are mostly against the laws we have made for you, not against your own, or those of nature, which are the laws of a higher power than ours—the one who made you.

What glorious times have we enjoyed together tramping or riding through the fields and woods, over the hills and by the streams and through the swamps, or at the sea, on the sands and rocks, or over the salt marshes, with gun or camera or botany box, or with nothing at all! We have shared the best the world can give us, nature's gifts. And returning home, tired and happy, we in the evening, before a bright wood fire, you close by our side or at our feet only so that you can touch us, have lived over what the day has given us. Or sometimes at night before a camp fire with the quiet of the wood sounds all about us, have dreamed of the ducks and the grouse and the partridges, or of rare flowers or a beautiful landscape which the past day has brought, or of what the next day will bring. And perhaps you have dreamed also, a little selfishly (you are only selfish in your dreams) of the rabbits and squirrels and the woodchucks which have been the greatest temptation for you to resist all day long. They must have existed long ago in your garden of Eden. . .

. . .You know us in many ways as no human being knows us, for every hour of your life you wish to be near, and often you are our most intimate companion and the best friend we have in the world. We talk to you, more than half believing, or trying to believe, that you understand, and I am not sure but that to you alone we always tell the absolute truth, we whisper to you our secrets, we confide to you our hopes and ambitions, we tell you of our successes and our disappointments, and often in deep grief you alone see what we think is weakness to show to the outside world. Whatever happens to us we are sure of one friend, even if the whole world is against us. We trust to you our greatest treasures, our children, and we know with you they are safe.

When you go to the Happy Hunting Ground you are truly and deeply mourned, and the great legacy you leave us is the memory of your loyalty, your devotion, your trust, and memory of the many happy hours and happy days you have given us in your too short life. And when we are obliged to say "the King is dead," we do not complete the old saying " long live the King " for many, many months—and sometimes never.

May we meet again.
     Your masters, and
          Your FRIENDS.
* * *
(Lincoln Newton Kinnicutt, ibid., pps. vii - xi.)

No comments: