Mrs. Happy and I currently rent a house in New York. It has some advantages
over owning, but many disadvantages as well. Perhaps the most painful disadvantage
is that we’re not allowed to have a dog. One of the first things we do when
we move into a house of our own some time in the future will be to invite a
dog (probably a boxer) to live with us. I bring this up not because it has
anything to do with marriage, but because I just got my computer fixed and
I’m feeling lazy enough to recycle quotes from some books that I’ve read as
well as a short essay I once wrote.
But there is something deeper in the matter than all that, only the hour is
late, and both the dog and I are too drowsy to interpret it. He lies in front
of me curled up before the fire, as so many dogs must have lain before so many
fires. I sit on one side of that hearth, as so many men must have sat by so
many hearths. Somehow this creature has completed my manhood; somehow, I cannot
explain why, a man ought to have a dog. A man ought to have six legs; those
other four legs are part of him. Our alliance is older than any of the passing
and priggish explanations that are offered of either of us; before evolution
was, we were. You can find it written in a book that I am a mere survival of
a squabble of anthropoid apes; and perhaps I am. I am sure I have no objection.
But my dog knows I am a man, and you will not find the meaning of that word
written in any book as clearly as it is written in his soul.
Every world has dogs or their equivalent, creatures that thrive on companionship,
creatures that are of a high order of intelligence although not of the highest,
and that therefore are simple enough in their wants and needs to remain innocent.
The combination of the innocence and their intelligence allows them to serve
as a bridge between what is transient and what is eternal, between the finite
and the infinite.
For those who despair that their lives are without meaning and without purpose,
for those who dwell in a loneliness so terrible that it has withered their
hearts, for those who hate because they have no recognition of the destiny
they share with all humanity, for those who would squander their lives in self-pity
and in self-destruction because they have lost the saving wisdom with which
they were born, for all these and many more, hope waits in the dreams of a
dog, where the sacred nature of life may be clearly experienced without the
all but blinding filter of human need, desire, greed, envy, and endless fear.
And here, in dream woods and fields, along the shores of dream seas, with a
profound awareness of the playful Presence [of the Creator] abiding in all
things, Curtis is able to prove to Leilani what she has thus far only dared
to hope is true: that although her mother never loved her, there is One who
From an essay by Will Rogers in 1934:
I have often thought my friend O.O. McIntyre gave more space in his column
to his little dog than I do to the United States Senate. But it does show
that he knows human nature better than I do. He knows that everybody at heart
loves a dog, while I have to try and make converts to the Senate.
In London, five years ago, old Lord Dewar, a great humorist and character,
and the biggest whiskey maker in the world, gave [my] children a little white
dog, a Sealyham, saying: "If this dog knew how well bred he was, he wouldn’t
speak to any of us."
We have petted him, complained on him, called him a nuisance, but when we
buried him yesterday, we couldn’t think of a wrong thing he’d ever done.
His bravery was his undoing. He lost to a rattlesnake, but his face was towards
From an essay by me in 2001:
I love dogs because they are without a doubt the
most lovable creatures inhabiting this world. Puppies live every day as though
playing at every hint of provocation, rejoicing in their lives as if they
remember how it was not to live. As they grow, so does their love. Older dogs
than puppies, not out of fatigue or boredom but rather maturity. An older
dog understands the deeper value of life, especially the life of a loved one.
older dog has a better understanding of the complexity of human emotions
than many humans do. The very presence of a dog can drain negative feelings
of anyone, and their service to mankind has been well documented in literature,
TV, film, and oral tradition. Every single dog that I’ve had for more than
weeks left an indelible imprint on my life.
I think that people who don’t like
dogs fall into two broad categories: people who like cats better, and people
who don’t like animals at all. I can only pity
people who don’t like animals. They deprive themselves of the unspeakable
joy of communing with other of God’s creatures. Of people who prefer cats
dogs, I hold the opinion that <deleting some nasty comments about
cats and the people who like them more than dogs—I’ve mellowed a little
in the last three years – Curt>.
other animal, with the possible exception of the horse, requires little
in the way of maintenance, affection, time, and love. And any other animal,
excepting the horse and maybe the dolphin, provides nothing like what a
does in the way of loyalty, companionship, and unabashed fun. <deleting
a few more nasty comments> People who love dogs
understand that the rewards of relationship are far greater than the conveniences
I think E.B. White also had some wonderful things to say about dogs, and I
know James Thurber did, as well as Fred
First, but I’ve already exceeded—for
the first time, I think—my self-imposed limit of 1,000 words
I’ll have to save those for another time.