Posts tagged ‘dogs’
I think it was well worth it.
“I still dream that Jasper is alive. Before that my heart will not go.” ~ Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars
A couple of months ago I wrote a review for The Dog Stars, a debut novel by adventure writer Peter Heller set in a post-apocalyptic world.
I won’t ruin it for you, because I believe that you should read it for yourself, but I wanted to talk about one very important theme in the book and that’s the relationship between man and animal.
Hig, the novel’s protagonist is accompanied by his aging loyal dog, Jasper. One evening, after a hike in the woods, Hig and Jasper set up camp to rest until morning breaks. When Hig wakes he notices that Jasper has died in his sleep. After a desperate attempt to wake his friend, he holds vigil for a few hours before burying Jasper, and continuing alone on his journey.
It was at this point where I had to put the book down and sob. Anyone who has ever owned a dog is privileged to know the wonders of unconditional love. They forgive easily. And you never forget them when they pass. At least, I never have.
There is a phrase I often repeat, “Be the person your dog thinks that you are.” If only we could follow this piece of advice, but alas, life is challenging, and we lose perspective easily.
Jasper’s death affected me, not only because of my deep affection for animals, but because death is incomprehensible. How can this little guy, who brought Hig so much company and love, be gone? Then there is Hig’s guilt that he hiked with his visibly older dog, who had trouble keeping up.
But then I thought how content Jasper must have been to have died lying next to his best friend. And how lucky Hig was to have been there, and to know that Jasper went peacefully.
Towards the end of The Dog Stars, Hig, in honour of Jasper, recites his favourite Chinese poem, written by Li Shangyin.
When Will I Be Home?
When will I be home? I don’t know.
In the mountains, in the raining night,
The Autumn lake is flooded.
Someday we will be back together again.
We will sit in the candlelight by the West window
And I will tell you how I remembered you
Tonight on the stormy mountain.
A confession. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have pets. I mean, they’re a lot of work, and if they’re anything like Maude, really expensive. Truly, I love my pets very much, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them, but they’re constantly in my face needing attention and love. I want to scream.
Maude is a special case. She’s always restless, except when I take her for a walk, where she stands motionless, as if to say, “What the fuck are we doing?” I’m constantly worried about her because she’s always sick.
Beenie on the other hand is the most needy cat on the planet. She purs all the time and I can’t sit down to eat breakfast without her nestling in my lap pressing her head to my hand demanding that I pet her. I always acquiesce but she can never get enough. I just want to eat my breakfast!
I’m sorry, this is all coming from sleep deprivation. I probably slept about four hours last night, Maude was up bright and early pacing back and forth throughout the apartment.
As usual I prepared all her medications; she’s on a strict regiment to control her hypothyroidism and epilepsy. Then I brought her outside to do her “business” and thought while we were at it I might as well take her for a walk so that I could get a coffee and snap some photographs of the tulips in St. James Park.
I shouldn’t be complaining. I get up at the crack of dawn anyway, and never sleep past 7:30 in the morning. Even on weekends, even after I spent the evening binge drinking, which I didn’t do last night by the way.
Anyway, I love my pets, I just wish they would sleep when I do.
This explains it perfectly.
Here is another video of Maude at the cottage.
Here is my dog Maude playing in the snow.
I love my dog as much as I love you / But you may fade, my dog will always come through/ All he asks from me is the food to give him strength/ All he ever needs is love and that he knows he’ll get/ So, I love my dog as much as I love you/ But you may fade, my dog will always come through/ All the pay I need comes shining through his eyes/ I don’t need no cold water to make me realize that/ I love my dog as much as I love you/ But you may fade, my dog will always come through/ Na, na, na, na, na, na, nana…/ I love my dog as much as I love you/ But you may fade, my dog will always come through/ Na, na, na, na, na, na, nana…/ I love my dog, Baby, I love my dog. Na, na, na…/ I love my dog, Baby, I love my dog. Na, na, na…