Thursday, July 23, 2015

Goodbye, Dainty Flower

Good-bye my sweet mamma dog. Thank you for watching over us and loving us. We will miss you forever. -Spacebunny

We had to say goodbye to the Mamma Dog today. She practically raised the kids, whom she clearly regarded as her puppies, and she watched over them more closely than any human nanny. Every night when we turned in, she would go to each child's bed, one after the other, and sniff at them until she was satisfied they were all right before returning to our room and settling down on her own bed on the floor next to Spacebunny's side.

She had a very sweet, but protective nature, and whenever anyone visited the house, she always had to check them out before harrumphing in mild disapproval and retiring to a corner of the room where she could keep an eye on them. You know, just in case. She had a silly side to her too, as she would pick up pieces of her food and throw it in the air just for the fun of it. If you called her on it, she would stop, stare at you, and then do it again, almost defiantly. Her eyebrows were particularly expressive, as she would raise one, then the other, in a slightly skeptical manner.

She loved the whole family, but there was no question to whom she belonged, as she was always happiest being around her beloved mistress, with whom she even shared a birthday. She liked nothing more than to share a bowl of popcorn with Spacebunny, and when waiting for a kernel to be tossed her way, she had a funny habit of impatiently shifting her weight from one side to the other.

She was astonishingly athletic. I've never seen a dog with such an incredible combination of speed and power. We couldn't figure out how she was getting in and out of the house without our knowledge one summer, and it turned out that she was casually leaping six feet vertically and four feet horizontally in and out my office window. And yet, when a baby would crawl on top of her, she would hold herself perfectly motionless, her eyebrows moving up and down as she patiently waited for the baby to crawl far enough away that she could move without hurting it.

She wasn't flawless. I mean that literally, as the two whorls of her ridge were lopsided and she had an extra partial on the right side. She was literally half-price as a result, but she would have been a bargain at ten times the cost. She was also pigeon-toed, which gave her slightly unusual stance, and she was tall for her breed, bigger than many of the male Ridgebacks we encountered.

I only heard her "serious" bark twice. It was a deep, chesty roar that sounded as if it came up from one of the pits of the lower hells. It didn't even sound like a dog, but some sort of cross between a lion and a hellhound. And yet, for all her size and strength, she was extremely feminine, hence the Dainty Flower. But to the kids, the cats, and the other dogs, she was always the Mamma Dog.

After my Viszla died in 2010, she went into a bit of a decline, and when she was subsequently diagnosed with cancer, we wondered how long she was going to last. But then the Prodiguously Large Puppy joined the household, she seemed to absorb some of his excessive energy, and she was visibly revitalized, going on long walks with the family and playing happily with her new responsibility out in the yard as well as inside the house.

She made it to Christmas, and then to another Christmas, and then was less than entirely pleased when a Ridgeback in need of a new home joined the family a year ago. She seemed convinced that the poor little puppy needed to be defended from The Other Ridgeback, never mind that he was not only a full-grown Viszla, but such an oversized and muscular version of the breed that he was frequently mistaken for a Ridgeback himself. Even though she couldn't keep up with the two other dogs as they chased each other back and forth outside, she would bark warnings at The Other Ridgeback, promising dire retribution and serious consequences if The Other Ridgeback should somehow harm her tiny, defenseless 70-pound puppy in any way.

She lived three years longer than we expected, but the cancer finally caught up with her. Her heart was still strong, her eyes were still bright, and she would still perk up and flick her tail when she smelled espresso - she considered any cappucino placed within reach fair game for Ridgebacks - but her rear legs were withered and she was wasting away. We had the vet come out to the house to examine her, but no one knows dogs better than Spacebunny and we already knew what the verdict would be. After everyone had the chance to say their goodbyes, the vet put her to sleep for the last time in her beloved mistress's arms.

It may be questionable theology, but I personally cannot conceive of anything that could possibly call itself Heaven or Paradise that does not contain dogs. And I have no doubt that only a little while ago the Viszla came enthusiastically bounding up to her, his tail wagging furiously, barking, "you're here, you're FINALLY here! What took you so long?"

To which I expect the Mamma Dog replied, "I had to watch over my puppies as long as I could."



Anonymous Porky July 23, 2015 12:09 PM  

Condolences, VD.

A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil;
But when a good dog wags her tail,
You know she's on the level.

Anonymous Bernard Brandt July 23, 2015 12:13 PM  

While I suspect that you are going to get some grief over this posting from that subset of the Dread Ilk who are petless, you have my complete sympathies.

For my part, I've just lost two pets in the last week or so. It ain't pleasant.

Anonymous Pax Romana July 23, 2015 12:15 PM  

We may be faceless, but we are surely not heartless. Condolences to you and yours.

Blogger JDC July 23, 2015 12:16 PM  

I cannot imagine our family without our chocolate labs. It wouldn't be complete. Very sorry for your loss.

Blogger James Dixon July 23, 2015 12:22 PM  

We just lost our youngest indoor cat this February. Her heart gave out. I've lost my share of both dogs and cats over the years, so I know what it's like. You have my condolences.

Blogger A_R July 23, 2015 12:22 PM  

We've lost several dogs in our 24 year union, one Chihuahua last year, who died in my arms.

Mere words cannot express my tribe's condolences and heartfelt best wishes.

Side note: Her replacement, a Jack Russel has faithfully read all our dogs pee-mails (dogs gotta pass along info somehow...), and has bound to her new pack with gusto and volcanic energy - a welcome addition.

Anonymous Takin' a look July 23, 2015 12:22 PM  

My condolences.

Anonymous Huckleberry (#87) -- est. 1977 July 23, 2015 12:24 PM  

It may be questionable theology

If my dogs aren't waiting for me when I get to Heaven, then it's a Heaven in name only.
Say what you want about the lesser apes, but humans and canines are alike in a way that doesn't happen hardly at all with any other pair in nature.

Anonymous REG July 23, 2015 12:27 PM  

I couldn't say it better. Our (My) female (Beagle and German Shepherd) will have her two year birthday on the twenty-sixth. I'm hoping she will outlast me because, she's already growing a place in my heart. I'm glad that you have two to help fill the void.

Blogger Elmo Shangnaster July 23, 2015 12:27 PM  

Here's your theology...

Revelation 5:13 - Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

Anonymous dh July 23, 2015 12:27 PM  

I don't want to bring down such a lovely post by bringing it back to someone we don't care that much about, but I do have to point out this is why for the better part of a decade I have enjoyed you sharing what you share. The difference between you and how you run family is obvious and moving. A compassionate, natural, responsible owner lovingly caring for a family pet - that's what I admire. The alternative, is letting an animal struggle on until it's convenient to put them down, until it works for your schedule. That's what the other side does. And it's sad and sick.

Thanks for posting this.

Blogger rycamor July 23, 2015 12:28 PM  

Yup, it's rough losing a beloved dog. When I was about 10 I lost my faithful companion to some respiratory disease. For weeks I would wake up from a dream that she was just outside my bedroom window barking to be let in.

Blogger JACIII July 23, 2015 12:29 PM  

Bummer. They enrich our lives far beyond their understanding.

Blogger rho July 23, 2015 12:30 PM  

That'll do, dog. That'll do.

(Great photo BTW.)

Blogger VD July 23, 2015 12:31 PM  

For weeks I would wake up from a dream that she was just outside my bedroom window barking to be let in.

Pro tip. If you live near Salem, Massachusetts, do NOT open the window.

Blogger comreich July 23, 2015 12:33 PM  

I am certainly one of the petless ilk (both by choice and not), but one has to have a heart of dark matter not to be moved by that loving tribute. Riposa in pace Mama Dog, and my condolences to your family Vox.

Blogger Dan in Tx July 23, 2015 12:33 PM  

Dogs never live long enough.

Speaking of questionable theology in such manners, I like to believe that the thing that makes our dogs different than say a deer or a rabbit or a turkey is that once they bond to you, you impart a small piece of your spirit to them. I often refer to my Doxie as my familiar spirit. They bring such joy to our lives but are only with us for a short time. I have been there before and will be there again. As painful as it is to say goodbye to them the years you do get with them are well worth it.

Blogger Danby July 23, 2015 12:34 PM  

My condolences. It's a hard world.

Anonymous Quartermaster July 23, 2015 12:34 PM  

There will be a new heaven and new earth and I'm certain there will dogs in the renewed creation.

Lost my Blue Heeler in Feb 2001. The wound isn't as raw as it used to be, but the hole is still there.

Anonymous Culture War Draftee #151 July 23, 2015 12:35 PM  

That's a beautiful tribute. A dog is an honest creature, and when they love, they love with a big, doggy heart. Take care.

Anonymous Porky July 23, 2015 12:39 PM  

As usual, Kipling captured the sentiment in the most heart-wrenching way.

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And 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 for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--'ve given your heart for a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart for the 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?

Anonymous Lulabelle (68) July 23, 2015 12:40 PM  

Elmo saved me from having to find that verse.

A very lovely and moving tribute. I'm sorry for your loss.

Blogger Marie July 23, 2015 12:41 PM  

I'm sorry for your loss. What a wonderful pup.

Blogger dash July 23, 2015 12:42 PM  

This is the only thing I hate about dogs: saying good bye to them.

Anonymous Wiccapundit July 23, 2015 12:42 PM  

The loss of a beloved pet can be especially hard on someone with a loving wife and family because it is a coming attractions trailer for a film you don't want to see.

Condolences, sir, to you and your family.

And damn the dust in this room; I appear to have some in my eye.

Anonymous Leonidas July 23, 2015 12:43 PM  

Hey Vox, a deep load of sympathy is out from our family to yours today. A good dog is hard to beat. A truly great dog is a better companion than most people. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Blogger Badmojo July 23, 2015 12:43 PM  

I'm sorry for you lose. She sounded like an awesome and loving beast to have at your side. :)

Anonymous Donn #0114 July 23, 2015 12:43 PM  

I'm very sorry for your family's loss. Condolences to your wife and kids.

If your vet is Herbert West keep your eyes open.

Anonymous Amigo July 23, 2015 12:44 PM  

Condolences on your loss and what a great tribute. We just last two great labs in the last 3 months, the second one just two days ago; she passed away with her head in my wife's lap. I really hope we are reunited with our pets in Heaven.

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian July 23, 2015 12:45 PM  

Until again to the good doggie.

Anonymous Maureen July 23, 2015 12:48 PM  

So very sorry for your loss. Dogs bring such joy to so many countless people -- what kind of god would deny them a place at his side?

I'm incredibly lucky, because my little buds is that super rare type of dog that lives forever.

Yup. Forever. Don't you DARE say anything different.

Anonymous patrick kelly July 23, 2015 12:49 PM  

Ah dammit Vox, you made me col.....

Have had to say goodbyes a couple of times these last few years, and one more looming on the horizon....never gets easier. The old pup watches over me with great concern lately....somehow she senses my distress......

I have never deserved the total love and devotion of my dogs....cats just tolerate you......

My priest tells the kids any pets loved by them will be in heaven......I prefer to be ignorant of any theology that says otherwise......

Blogger Jack Aubrey July 23, 2015 12:50 PM  

Condolences, VD and Family.

"God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there."
-- Billy Graham

Blogger Kaijubushi July 23, 2015 12:51 PM  

The feels... :(

Anonymous BoysMom July 23, 2015 12:52 PM  

Condolences. I've had to say good-bye to several good dogs and they leave such a hole.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 23, 2015 12:53 PM  

My condolences on your loss. Long may your family treasure the memories of your time with her.

Blogger Steveo #238 July 23, 2015 12:56 PM  

Heartfelt condolences to Vox & family, I agree with you about heaven's special place for dogs...

Anonymous fish July 23, 2015 12:56 PM  

It may be questionable theology, but I personally cannot conceive of anything that could possibly call itself Heaven or Paradise that does not contain dogs.

Reason 492 why I like this blog! Godspeed pup!

Anonymous cheddarman July 23, 2015 12:57 PM  

I hope your dogs can speak to you in heaven.


Blogger Sean July 23, 2015 12:57 PM  

What a wonderful tribute. Thank you for sharing. And deep condolences to you and your family.

Blogger CJ July 23, 2015 12:59 PM  

My condolences, and what a beautiful requiem for your beloved pet.

Blogger Joshua_D July 23, 2015 1:01 PM  

I'm sorry for your loss, VD.

I've never had a family dog, but I do have many friends and family who have dogs. I have no doubt that those dogs are loved and will be missed when they're gone.

Now, cats on other hand ...

Anonymous JC NRA July 23, 2015 1:03 PM  

My condolences, Vox.

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the dogs who died. Rather, we should thank God that such dogs lived."

Anonymous Stingray July 23, 2015 1:03 PM  

My condolences to Spacebunny and to you and your kids.

We lost Rottie a couple of years ago, who was my husbands dog. It was horrible to watch him go through that. We have a new Rottie now, who is almost 2 years. This one is mine. He ran off a few weeks back but thankfully came home in the middle of the night. He had been hit buy a car, but thankfully is healing nicely and he and I have only grown closer throughout this ordeal. Hopefully it is many years off, but I catch myself thinking of having to say goodbye to him. Just as in reading your beautiful tribute and it made me cry.

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2015 1:04 PM  

My sympathies. I know how hard it is to lose a family member.


Blogger Danby July 23, 2015 1:06 PM  

God is all good.
Heaven is perfect happiness.
Having a dog with you is good, so God has dogs with Him.
I'll be happier with dogs, so there are dogs is heaven.

Easy-peasey theology.

Blogger Azimus July 23, 2015 1:07 PM  

A nice tribute, Vox. If only men could be to their God what dogs have been to their masters. Certainly, it is an unconditional love and loyalty that we would do well to emulate. Spacebunny is a class act for holding her to the end.

Anonymous Tar Heel (VFM#0245) July 23, 2015 1:08 PM  

What a bittersweet post. I'm sorry for you and the family's tragic loss, but thank you for sharing both the joy and the grief present.

I'm not a dog person, but you've convinced me to consider Ridgebacks if I ever go with a canine companion (with the understanding that they're not a rookie breed, of course).

Anonymous dhrtjtdq July 23, 2015 1:10 PM  


PS: I bet some people still think the photo is an elaborate photoshop of an imaginary person

Blogger Mint July 23, 2015 1:10 PM  

Beautiful picture. Really capture their bond. My condolences on your loss.

Anonymous Book_Girl July 23, 2015 1:10 PM  

Oh.... this made me absolutely sob. What a beautiful and moving tribute.

And I agree. Heaven has dogs. I'm looking forward to being reunited with one of mine. I know she is probably standing near the gates, tennis ball in her mouth, watching for me.

My sincere condolences to Spacebunny and to all of you.

Anonymous Jack Ward July 23, 2015 1:12 PM  

RIP. That was, maybe, the best tribute to anyone passed, man or dog, I have ever read.
Travel well, friend Dog.

Blogger Russell (106) July 23, 2015 1:13 PM  

My condolences to Spacebunny, to you, and your family.

Your tribute to Mama Dog was moving, thank you.

Blogger Bard July 23, 2015 1:14 PM  

Lost our Pit last Oct after 14 years. It is devastating.Sorry for your loss man.

Blogger Nate Winchester July 23, 2015 1:15 PM  

It may be questionable theology, but I personally cannot conceive of anything that could possibly call itself Heaven or Paradise that does not contain dogs

I like to say: I don't know if all dogs go to heaven, but it's hard to imagine a heaven without dogs.

Anonymous Soga July 23, 2015 1:15 PM  

Condolences to you and your family, Vox. I've grown attached to some of my own furry pals. I know how it feels.

Anonymous kfg July 23, 2015 1:15 PM  

She was with me for 18 years, longer than both my wives put together, and died in my arms. I understand and my condolences to you.

Anonymous Alexander, #10 July 23, 2015 1:19 PM  

My sympathies, Vox and family. A good dog is worth its weight in gold, and it sounds like Mama Dog fit the bill.

Blogger Cataline Sergius July 23, 2015 1:20 PM  

Very sorry for your family's loss. It sounds like she had lived a good life.

Anonymous Espantoon July 23, 2015 1:23 PM  

A beautifully written piece, Vox. Condolences to you and Spacebunny and the children.

Our Ridgebacks were wonderful dogs, and the female was just as you describe yours, athletic, sweet, gentle, yet very protective.

I thought that I was done with pets, but after reading this I may check out Ridgeback Rescue to see if there is another that we could adopt.

Blogger David-093 July 23, 2015 1:24 PM  

Condolences to your family, VD. Losing a dog is never easy, they are one of God's greatest blessings.

Anonymous RedJack #22 July 23, 2015 1:25 PM  

The Kipling poem, already posted, has always moved me.

My dogs are part of the family. Always have been. As for the theology, I will concur with Lewis about how the love man gives to his animals imparts something that will give them a measure our soul.

The Parliament of Beasts and Birds was a story that moved me in a way that few have.

We had to put down the lovable farm mutt three years ago. He was old, his hip had popped out, and he had just gone off food the day before. The decline was quick, and the end a quiet good by. My daughter saw her Grandpa cry for the first, and probably only, time that day.

Blogger SQT July 23, 2015 1:25 PM  

My condolences Vox.

Anonymous Whitey McWhite July 23, 2015 1:26 PM  


Anonymous Robert July 23, 2015 1:29 PM  

I've been reading your blog for a couple of years now and I've never felt compelled to leave a comment until now. I'm very sorry for your loss, Vox. You and your family are in my thoughts.

Anonymous HardReturn¶ #0030 July 23, 2015 1:29 PM  

My condolences to you and your family in your time of loss. May her memories always give you comfort and mirth.
From its own stout heart, a dog persistently gives everything and asks for almost nothing. They model the kind of love that I desire to give God but fail at daily. They will be there waiting when old friends come calling.

Anonymous Stephen J. July 23, 2015 1:30 PM  

Condolences to you and Spacebunny, Vox. I lost my last post, my cat Shadow, nearly ten years ago and I can still remember bawling my eyes out. But I too believe that Heaven has a place for our pets. What's loved, lives.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet July 23, 2015 1:31 PM  


Anonymous Hermione July 23, 2015 1:31 PM  

We had to put my beloved heeler mix to sleep four years ago yesterday, at only 7 years old, after she came down with a sudden onset immune system disorder that can happen, particularly in middle-aged female dogs. She was my first dog, and to this day I am still heartbroken over her. I am so sorry for you all, and I will be praying for you.

Anonymous whtbread July 23, 2015 1:35 PM  

For some reason these doggie obits are always hard to read. Having read a number of these I see that you've had some great dogs over the years. Hope the "Mamma Dog" is resting peacefully.

Blogger The Aardvark July 23, 2015 1:37 PM  

I do not have a dog, but your sharing this about Dainty Flower made me tear up, and gave me a glimmer of what I may have been missing.

I am glad that you had all that "extra time" with her. Peace to you and yours.

Anonymous Clint #47/#73 July 23, 2015 1:38 PM  

Thoughts and prayers, to you, SB, and your children. I know it is tough.

Blogger Scott Rassbach July 23, 2015 1:38 PM  

My Condolences. We lost our heeler in February, she just wasted away. She was only 18 months. I feel your sorrow, and hope you and yours take joy in the life she lived.

Anonymous roo_ster July 23, 2015 1:43 PM  


You could have been describing our female GSP, who has helped raise our children.

Anonymous N5 July 23, 2015 1:45 PM  

Ave atque vale. A dog is a special thing. I've had a dog nearly all of my 52 years on this planet. Know which one was my favorite? All of them.

Anonymous Swoggler July 23, 2015 1:46 PM  

And your detractors say you can't write. Condolences sir.

Blogger Salt July 23, 2015 1:52 PM  

It's hard to lose a pet, one that has been part of the family for years. I lost my 17 y/o (piebald) dachshund last Good Friday. Had him since a pup. Back in February the seizures began. On Good Friday he had two, hours apart. After the second he was walking into walls and staggering. Would have been a long and miserable weekend for him. Better to now say goodbye, send him off to Elysium fields, and we went to the vet.

Blogger Nate July 23, 2015 1:57 PM  

God created dogs to teach humans what unconditional love is.

Blogger Owen July 23, 2015 1:58 PM  

Ridgebacks are awesome. True guard dogs. Outside of the perimeter, who cares? Enter the family perimeter and they are all up in the business. Years ago, I had a Ridge/Boxer mix from a rescue. It was the best money I ever spent.

Vox is right. Ridgebacks are far stronger than their size/weight would indicate. Just gnarled muscle. Beautifully built.

Very sorry for your loss.

She was lucky to have a loving, caring family during her time on earth.

Anonymous Scintan July 23, 2015 2:02 PM  

I'm sorry for your loss, Vox.

Anonymous Mike M. July 23, 2015 2:05 PM  

My's getting dusty in here.

Blogger Brad Andrews July 23, 2015 2:08 PM  

It is good to see you didn't let her suffer just so you could get a few more days or so with her.

Sorry for the loss.

I would be interested in a post on how to select a dog. I am partial to Golden Retrievers, but they are definitely not highly protective.

Blogger MendoScot July 23, 2015 2:12 PM  


Blogger Miguel D'Anconia July 23, 2015 2:14 PM  

My prayers are with you and your family Vox. My wife and I lost our English Springer Spaniel Hank to chronic kidney failure at the end of April.

Anonymous zen0 July 23, 2015 2:18 PM  

Dogs are always ready.

Beautiful summation of a good life.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Anonymous Difster VFM #109 July 23, 2015 2:23 PM  

Every night when we turned in, she would go to each child's bed, one after the other, and sniff at them until she was satisfied they were all right

My boxer/shepherd will come and check on everyone with a nose-bump every time she comes back in the house.

During Ilkmoot, she continually roamed around checking to make sure everyone was alright but never grabbing food off of people's plates etc. even though it would have been very easy for her to do. She's still a pup at 10 months so we have a long way to go but I can already see how hard it will be when she goes.

Blogger Chris July 23, 2015 2:24 PM  

Condolences to you, Spacebunny and the kids. Very moving tribute.

Blogger Chris July 23, 2015 2:25 PM  

Condolences to you, Spacebunny and the kids. Very moving tribute.

Blogger Res Ipsa July 23, 2015 2:26 PM  

Well written.

A great dog is family. I'm sorry for your loss.

Blogger James Higham July 23, 2015 2:27 PM  

Condolences to both.

Blogger Michelle *Minion #311* July 23, 2015 2:28 PM  

My condolences for your loss. Ridgebacks are wonderful dogs. I have a half Ridgeback fellow and he is one of the joys of my life. Kept me breathing and alive when I was ill a few years back when I did not want to continue. Still guards me like he is responsible for every moment of my existence. He does not have a long time left, and every moment left is a good one. Take care.

Blogger Cail Corishev July 23, 2015 2:28 PM  

I wondered if you'd be posting this after seeing the tweet. My condolences; a beautiful tribute and a beautiful picture.

My dog is sleeping here under the desk, as usual. She's nearing 16 and is almost completely deaf now, so I mostly talk to her under my breath, but I could swear she hears me. Time to go play in the yard for a while.

Anonymous Scintan July 23, 2015 2:29 PM  

I would be interested in a post on how to select a dog. I am partial to Golden Retrievers, but they are definitely not highly protective.

There are some websites that can help you with that. They'll match the dog to the person by using a bunch of variables (home type, lifestyle, personality, presence/absence of kids, etc...).

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2015 2:31 PM  

Lewis addressed the issue, framing around domesticated animals unconditional love for God's highest creation - man - and they would be restored in eternity.

Paul, in Romans 8 - speaks of "all of creation" groaning for its redemption."

Pax - jb

Blogger MidKnight (#138) July 23, 2015 2:33 PM  

A moving and touching eulogy. My condolences

Anonymous Stickwick July 23, 2015 2:33 PM  

A touching tribute to what sounds like a wonderful mama doggy.

I'm holding onto the hope that our furry companions are waiting for us in heaven, too...

Blogger borderwalker July 23, 2015 2:33 PM  

There are few occasions when a man may weep without shame, and one of those is death of a good dog. I've been there, and I find it true.

My sincerest condolences to you and yours.


Anonymous DT July 23, 2015 2:33 PM  

My condolences to you and and your family Vox. It's never easy losing a pet. They are dear friends.

Anonymous NateM July 23, 2015 2:34 PM  

All Dogs Go to Heaven? This post made me go pick up mine. Granted she's about the size of your Ridgeback's lunch

Blogger rycamor July 23, 2015 2:36 PM  

15. VD July 23, 2015 12:31 PM

For weeks I would wake up from a dream that she was just outside my bedroom window barking to be let in.

Pro tip. If you live near Salem, Massachusetts, do NOT open the window.

LOL... It did creep me out a couple times because I dreamed I saw her peering in the window, and I was on a second floor.

Blogger Chris Scena July 23, 2015 2:36 PM  

My condolences to you and your family.

Anonymous Curlytop July 23, 2015 2:38 PM  

Oh man! It's been 5 yrs already? I remember when you lost the Visla. :-( Both tributes so poignant.

We lost our "mamma dog," Sophie the Golden Retriever over a year ago and still not over it. Dogs are truly a gift from God.

Our condolences to your family & saying extra prayers of comfort for you.

Anonymous alexamenos July 23, 2015 2:39 PM  

Condolences and best wishes.

Blogger Bogey July 23, 2015 2:45 PM  

Most of us know how painful that is. Sorry for your loss.

Anonymous Homesteader July 23, 2015 2:56 PM  

A Heterodoxy

I dreamed one night I came
Somehow to Heaven, and there
Transfigured shapes like flame
Moved effortless in air.

All silent were the Blest,
Calmly their haloes shone,
When through them all there pressed
One spirit whirling on.

He like a comet seemed,
But wild and glad and free,
And all through Heaven, I dreamed,
Rushed madly up to me.

Back from his haloed head
A flaming tail streamed far,
This way and that it sped
And waved from star to star.

And, as I saw it shot
Like searchlights through the sky,
I knew my dog had got
To Heaven as well as I.

By Lord Dunsany

Anonymous Stg58 / Animal Mother #225 July 23, 2015 3:00 PM  

Sorry to hear it, Vox. My Boxer died in my arms early this year. I cried like a baby, but I was glad I was there for him at the end. He was my buddy for 10 years.

Blogger Mom July 23, 2015 3:01 PM  

Condolences to you and to your family on your loss. I know it is hard to lose a beloved family member.

Anonymous Anonymous Bosch July 23, 2015 3:09 PM  

Damn, when did it get all dry and dusty in here? You have my deepest condolences as a man who has lost a dog to cancer as well.

Anonymous GreyS July 23, 2015 3:10 PM  

Wonderfully written remembrance, VD. Condolences to you and especially to SB. We have five dogs and it is has been fun and interesting getting to know each of their personalities. I hadn't had a dog since I was a kid until a couple years ago and was surprised at just how different each of them are and how close you could become to these rascals. RIP Mamma.

Anonymous VFM 119 July 23, 2015 3:10 PM  

Condolences to you and your family.

I don't think the idea of dogs in heaven is questionable theology at all. Consider the following points.

1. At the end of this earth's existence a new heaven and a new earth will be created, where we will dwell with God, just as we originally did in the Garden of Eden. It would hardly be "a new earth" if the only life form there was human. I would think the existence of plants and animals there would go without saying. And who better to populate it than the souls of those who first populated this Earth?
2. If the lion will lay down with the lamb, where are they going to come from? Would then there only be lions, lambs and humans on earth? See point 1.
3. There is no mention of the eternal destiny of animals here on earth because it is irrelevant to the message the bible writers were attempting to convey. Not knowing right from wrong in a cosmological sense they have no need of a messianic savior, and lack the wherewithal for faith. God's word focuses on humans because that is who the message is for and relevant to.
4. Souls are eternal
5. Anyone who has spent time with animals, knows that they have a soul. If anyone can't accept this tautology, I must question whether he, in fact, has a soul. Or at least a heart.

Anonymous Rufus July 23, 2015 3:16 PM  

Condolences to you and your family, Vox. Dogs are simply the best, aren't they? I grew up on a farm, and we had some wonderful canine family members - all mongrels and mixed breeds. Family dogs and working dogs. Nothing better for a young boy to run around the fields and woods chasing rabbits with a .22 and his dog. It's years on, but I still keenly miss a couple of the memorable ones. Man's best friend indeed.

Anonymous dh July 23, 2015 3:18 PM  

I am reminded of a pretty decent man reading a pretty decent original poem about his dog.

Blogger IM2L844 July 23, 2015 3:32 PM  

This touched me. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for you and your family.

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2015 3:40 PM  

What a bitch, RIP.

Anonymous Jeff Duntemann July 23, 2015 3:44 PM  

Yes. You nailed it. I've said the same many times: Do all dogs go to Heaven? No. They are already there, and as we continue our ineffable journey back to our Creator, they will be right beside us.

Condolences from both Carol and myself. Persevere.

OpenID simplytimothy July 23, 2015 3:59 PM  

Condolences on the loss of your beloved pet.

Anonymous Tosser July 23, 2015 4:00 PM  

My condolences to you and your family.

Blogger Banjo July 23, 2015 4:06 PM  

You and your family have my heartfelt condolences.

When old Blue died, he died so hard
Shook the ground in my back yard.
Lowered him down with a golden chain,
every link I did call his name.

Here Bluuueeee, you good dog you.

When I get to heaven first thing I'll do,
When I get to heaven first thing I'll do,
When I get to heaven first thing I'll do,
Grab my horn and call for Blue.

Here Bluuueeee, you good dog you.


vfm 0131

Blogger Wayne Earl July 23, 2015 4:07 PM  

What a loving tribute to a faithful companion and friend. My condolences.

Ive never had doubt that pets find their way to heaven, but i regularly doubt that humans do. You see, only a human can be inhuman.

Anonymous Jill July 23, 2015 4:08 PM  

What a lovely bittersweet post. Dogs are wonderful people. I miss mine terribly right now.

Blogger Daniel July 23, 2015 4:12 PM  


Mourn well.

Anonymous TLM July 23, 2015 4:14 PM  

This may cheer you up a bit.

Bill Burr gets a dog.

Blogger ChicagoRefugee July 23, 2015 4:24 PM  

Condolences on your loss, to you and your family.

My son had a guardian kitty for the first five years of his life - The Mickeycat. She was our official "senior cat" even though she was ~8 months younger than Phydeaux cat - a status she earned on their first meeting when the four pound female mite sauntered up to the large-pawed gangly adolescent male, swiped him across the nose and sauntered away again, leaving him sitting there with a dumbfounded look upon his face.

She never was much of a hunter - unlike the current bunny-brain-devouring incumbent - but the summer our offspring was born she gifted him with several mice, many moths, and unending stream of cicadas and at least a couple of still-living birds, all neatly deposited at the door to his room.

I still can hear the resounding "thud" of her head hitting the closed kitchen door when one day the boy took a tumble and cried, and she came charging for the cat hole in the screen door, not knowing the door behind it was closed.

In the end, that is why we regard our pets as family, isn't it? Because they so clearly regard us the same way.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 23, 2015 4:26 PM  

Dogs are very special and they fill the human family with such joy. They are a blessing to have.

Blessings and grace for this time be upon your family in the transition. Mamma dog was surely a gifted pet and will be sorely missed.

Blogger bob k. mando July 23, 2015 4:27 PM  

and all this time i thought Vox wouldn't have any truck with those pagan papists.

Anonymous Becky July 23, 2015 4:29 PM  

What a beautiful tribute to a great dog. My deepest condolences for your loss.

Blogger bob k. mando July 23, 2015 4:36 PM  

also, fake Spacebunny bro.

we know you just pulled from a stock photo file somewhere.

Anonymous Ten41 July 23, 2015 4:55 PM  


ROK had something about this last December; The Twilight Zone’s “The Hunt” Shows The Importance Of A Man’s Dog.

Granted in this case it was Spacebunny's dog. But the point remains.

Main quote; “You see Mr. Simpson, a man—he’ll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the Devil can’t fool a dog!”

Blogger Curtis July 23, 2015 5:09 PM  

Well, that was a tad wet. Because I too love my Yellow Lab just like that.

He was just a fur-ball when I got him. On his first visit to the Vet, he informed me that he had a small under-bite. I said I know that. He then went on to say, that since he is a purebred, and because of his defect, I should put him down. I chewed on that for a few seconds wondering if I heard him right.

You want to put down my dog because he has a under-bite?

Well, he's a pure-bred and we don't want him to breed. He has defective genes.

Here's an idea. Go get that shot and I'll shove up your defective ass.

I walked out with my dog and kept my wallet in my pocket.

Going on 11 years now. With his little under-bite and all that slap-happy love.

Want to go for a ride? Let's go, let's go!

Moms home. Bam! Right to the door wagging his tail. Mom's home, mom's home!

Time to go to bed. Runs to the bedroom and flops on his rug right next to me on the floor.

Want a cookie? Cookie, cookie!

What the heck are you doing? Rolls over on back. Huh? Me? Bat dog.

Yea! Grand-kids are here!

Grrrrrrrrrrr! There's a strange black man at the door!

Look out the back door, and there he his flopping around in his kids pool like some kid.

And those damn big feet.

"You should put him down."


Anonymous Steve July 23, 2015 5:12 PM  

I had a dog. For 15 years, from boyhood and puppyhood to manhood and doghood, he was my best friend.

I used to talk to him like I was Vic and he was Blood.

He never answered back, not in words, but from his comical and knowing expressions I think he had the same wry sense of humour as Blood.

He hated postmen, other male dogs, people he didn't know, people he knew, horses, my father and cats. He liked chasing cows, getting mucky, lasagne, bitches, children, and me.

I've never cried at death beds, funerals, weddings, the births of my children, or the time I dropped a pick axe on my toes, but I sobbed when he died.

Our four legged friends can bring out the best in us humans.

Rest in peace Mamma Dog.

Anonymous Chelle K July 23, 2015 5:40 PM  

My condolences to you, SB, and your kids. Pets are not LIKE family. They ARE family. As Nate commented earlier, they are put in our lives to teach us unconditional love.

Anonymous Fran July 23, 2015 5:47 PM  

I would like to add my condolences to you and your family. It's never easy losing family..even the non human(but more human than some humans) ones.

Anonymous Donn #0114 July 23, 2015 6:11 PM  

I think this is why the Parliament of Beasts and Birds hits so close to home. Everyone with a soul had or has a loyal, kind, funny friend that would leap into the fire if they needed to to save their family. And all of us have lost them (or will lose them).

It is a nice dream to think that one day we might get the chance to gambol with them again in Heaven's green fields or sit and read a bood with them perched on your shoulder like Long John Silver's parrot.

Anonymous Donn #0114 July 23, 2015 6:16 PM  

OT or maybe not so much:
Has anyone heard anything about the Berger Suisse Blanc? We are thinking of getting a new female for breeding/family companion and working line german shepherds, Bullmastiffs, and BSB are on the short list. We've owned the other two but know nothing but what is on the internet about the Berger Suisse Blanc.

Sorry if it is a little OT

Blogger Sean Carnegie July 23, 2015 6:22 PM  

Man's best friend indeed.

My condolences.

Blogger Eric Medvich July 23, 2015 6:36 PM  

Vox, May her memory be eternal.

Blogger RobertT July 23, 2015 6:37 PM  

You'd probably like Mark Levin.

Anonymous Chandler's Ghost July 23, 2015 6:41 PM  

I'm sorry for your loss Vox. Dogs teach us so much.

Blogger John Cunningham July 23, 2015 6:53 PM  

a painful day indeed. I have lost beloved dogs over the past 50 years, and I sometimes sympathize with those who say they once had a dog, but the death was too painful, hence never again. I keep on getting them, because dogs need to be rescued, and they give so much to us and ask so little in return.

Anonymous Uncle Bob July 23, 2015 6:54 PM  

Ten41 -
I was thinking of the same episode when I read this post. It's always been my favorite Twilight Zone. From the first time I saw it I loved the idea of a man who would refuse to enter heaven because they wouldn't let him take his dog along.

Anonymous Jim July 23, 2015 6:55 PM  

In a better world, dogs would outlive people.

Blogger Chiva July 23, 2015 7:13 PM  

As stated by Anonymous (#94) CS Lewis did explore what happens to our pets after they die. I think it was in 'The Problem with Pain.'

I agree with the sentiment that dogs do belong in heaven, cats on the other hand......

Blogger Tommy Hass July 23, 2015 7:15 PM  

I'm sorry about your loss, man, may peace be upon her and solace upon you and your family.

Blogger Six July 23, 2015 7:18 PM  

I'm sorry Vox, I really, really am. My prayers to you, Spacebunny and your entire family on the loss of such a wonderful and loving companion. May your eventual reunion be joyous.

Blogger Joe Keenan July 23, 2015 7:24 PM  

Dogs have souls, and souls don't molder in the ground.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus July 23, 2015 7:24 PM  

"Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in."

Another faithful servant gone on to her just reward.


Anonymous RandyBeck July 23, 2015 7:47 PM  

My condolences to you and your family.

Blogger Rantor July 23, 2015 7:54 PM  

May god bless you, your family and your dogs. Our dog is five and I can't imagine life without him, but he will likely pass away before I do. God gives us great joy through our pets. He has great love for us.

Anonymous Servant July 23, 2015 8:02 PM  

I am truly sorry for your loss (and it is a family loss). I have had several small dogs each who made it to over 17 years, and I have one now is is just going on 1 year. The previous two died, one in my arms. I am generally stoic, but for these pets and their unconditional love, I cried.I made coffins, and I buried them. If I outlast this one (I am 77) and can overcome my grief, I will get another one. Dogs are family, dogs are God's gift to men. Blessings and condolences to you and your family.

I, for one, am sure there will be dogs that are loved in heaven -waiting, ever so patiently for the ones that loved them.

Blogger SarahsDaughter July 23, 2015 8:10 PM  

How beautiful! Our condolences to your family.

Blogger ray July 23, 2015 8:21 PM  

Good obit. My condolences.

I've had many critters i.e. they have had me. A neighbor in the p.n.w. mts. had a female husky/wolf mix, not uncommon up there. A HUGE animal, fortunately barker not biter. Knew her about a decade and she was protective but not aggressive.

Whenever I was at his house, no matter how brief, she came over to get some love. Last time I saw her I was visiting for a couple minutes, sitting on the couch, and she walked over slowly to me and literally dropped her head on my lap. Couldn't believe it, felt like it weighed fifty pounds. I stroked her awhile then off I went. Next time I saw him, she said she had died. Never heard a peep outta her, just that massive tired head on my lap which I can still feel.

God has blessed me around critters and I am grateful. He rarely breaks bonds of love (permanently) and I'm sure there are animals in his kingdom, and reunifications. Cheers.

Blogger SupGen July 23, 2015 8:50 PM  

Vox, you're not supposed to make us cry. In requiem pace.

Blogger LBD July 23, 2015 8:53 PM  

Condolences. The only poem of Lord Byron's that's worth a damn is his eulogy to his Newfoundland dog, and I defy anyone to read it through with dry eyes.
Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one -- and here he lies.

OpenID trunthepaige July 23, 2015 9:09 PM  

A tear from reading Vox Day. I never would have suspected it. My condolences.

Anonymous Tigg July 23, 2015 9:11 PM  

My condolences to you and your family. I have had to make the decision to put several furry family members to sleep. It is heartbreaking every time. This is something I found the last time one of my beloved dogs passed away. My apologies if it has been posted before.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 23, 2015 9:11 PM  

Emotions, feelings, inform the will. We are not heartless. We plow ahead, doing was must and not paralyzed.
We had a golden retriever named Sandy that we to put down, some years ago. She was not pure breed. Now we have Hank, a pure breed golden retriever. Sandy wad petit, Hank is at the largest size a golden can get. Hank has, maybe, another year. Both dogs did and do the bed checks at night. I still remember the kids, as toddlers earlier and a teenagers later, bringing their pillows and blankets to coffee up, not with mom, not with dad, but with the furry critters. They all looked so contented.
Sandy came home because an elderly couple were no longer able to take care of her. The man was found to have multiple brain tumors. I did not want a dog but the kids had been praying for a dog and the couple prayed for a good home for Sandy. Writing about Sandy and her former owners, and thinking of Hank and his slow decline hurts.
Dogs do indeed teach us about love and loyalty.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 23, 2015 9:13 PM  

make that cuddle, not coffee.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 23, 2015 9:14 PM  

Lovely pic, btw.

Blogger Rick Caird July 23, 2015 9:24 PM  

We lost our Lucy exactly one week ago today. It is a huge loss. And, like you, I cannot conceive of a heaven without dogs. In fact, there was an old Twilight Zone episode about that.

Blogger Breadbasket July 23, 2015 9:36 PM  

Sorry for your loss, VD. I knew nothing about Ridgebacks until I started reading this blog,so have developed a great respect for them since.

Blogger bw July 23, 2015 9:37 PM  

My RR brow/eye expression was certainly my weakness. Up, down, alternating. Yeah. Hilarious.
She was the "runt" though, and somewhat sheepish, but she was best looking and full faced and bodied by far, thus my pick. We both learned much. Could've treated her better. I recall CS Lewis saying something to effect of "this may be their heaven - better treat em like it".
Her bark, though seldom, was very very deep. That's what hounds do.
At over 100# her hips were first to go. It was funny and sad at same time, obviously.
What a perfect hound/dog face.
May all the RR's be chasing and cornering Lions in their afterlife, if such a thing.
Yours looked to be more the red-wheaten while mine was more wheaten. I have papers somewhere. Who GAF?
One of the only times my wife has seen me choked up was the 1/2 hr I dug the grave in that rocky Mizzou soil in April. The cat, who was introduced to RR at a few months loved that damned dog...who avoided him like the plague in annoyance. "Get the Kitty" brought on "slobber ca"t - she was a sweetie and not so aggressive - and cat hiding in 4x4 vehicle wheel well, where the rare barking ensued. "Get the kitty Belle!" Of course cat never missed a beat when dog was gone. What do they care?

It was my Old Yeller moment. First, and thus far, last.
I had a physical conflict one time in street in front of house, and you bet your ass - somewhat to my surprise - she was there. Not doing much (I had that covered) but there and gnawing. My loyal girl. I'll never forget that.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 23, 2015 9:42 PM  

My eldest and Sandy, Saturday before Monday, when her suffering was ended.

Blogger ajw308 (#98) July 23, 2015 9:57 PM  

... but I personally cannot conceive of anything that could possibly call itself Heaven or Paradise that does not contain dogs.
I'm sorry for your family's loss.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey July 23, 2015 10:07 PM  

Good Lord, that was touching.

Blogger Ignatius Mulder July 23, 2015 10:11 PM  

Theodore (I'm going to refer to you by your real name for once because I personally consider the passing of a pooch to be the death in the family), my sincere condolences to you and 'Spacebunny'.

My dog, Loki, is technically a pit bull and/or Staffordshire Bull terrier dog. Though only 28lbs, he could rip out my throat if he wanted to. He's a little guy, but knowing him, there's no getting around the fact that he's a little killer, if it came down down to it. But the pitbulls/stafffies are also an incredibly 'sentimental' breed; seem to love and constantly desire cuddles, and are known for being extremely good with kids. Looking at him, though, I realise that he's basically the Terminator (for Mom's reference, Arnold Schwarzenegger as a robot). A physical killing machine, but completely determined, for good or evil, by his programming. I have absolute, 100% confidence that Loki will never deliberately tear out my throat. Not just 90% or whatever, but complete 100% confidence. And that's because he has no Free Will. He is a creature that is completely determined by his breed and to, a lesser extent, his environment. Loki is simply incapable, due to his genetics, of saying 'I' want to hurt my master.
I know this is sentimental, but I do believe that God gave us dogs, to teach us something about how much bigger He is than us. A dog can genuinely love us because he just can't do anything different (and studies of oxytocin show that they do genuinely love us). Humans, however, can choose whether to be cruel or kind, and loving a stupid animal is a reflection of our Free Will. And when we choose to love and care for a dog, a stupid animal that is genetically capable of loving us but incapable of choosing to be mean, I see it as a reflection of the relationship between man and God. God is that much higher than us, than we are higher than dogs. God is can do anything logically possible, but logically again, God is incapable of being the source of Love and not loving us.
God is no wish-granting genie, and bad things do happen, but I do believe that God, being so much higher than us, has good reasons for allowing them that we just can't see, just as Loki cannot see reality in the same way that we do. And I use my Free Will to decide to love Him. Sometimes, admittedly, I wish I was a dog incapable of doing anything other than loving Him. It would be so much easier to be a robot, like Loki. But for some reason, God saw fit to give us Free Will and allow us to decide for ourselves whether or not God is a benevolent Master and decide, for ourselves, whether to love Him.

Blogger Chris Anderson July 23, 2015 10:12 PM  

I'm a regular reader, very rare commenter.

I'm sorry for your loss and I know it well. We find them, or they find us, they capture our hearts, and leave, always, too soon.

Blogger V July 23, 2015 10:44 PM  

So sorry for the clan. Cancer took my Otto dog. I can pick up what you're laying down. Godspeed.

Blogger Ragin' Dave July 23, 2015 11:06 PM  

The reason dogs have such short lifespans is to remind us how precious life truly is. I think Mark Twain said it best - if there are no dogs if heaven, then when I die I want to go to where they are.

Anonymous zen0 July 23, 2015 11:17 PM  

Dogs are always ready

Anonymous Joe July 23, 2015 11:24 PM  

"It may be questionable theology, but I personally cannot conceive of anything that could possibly call itself Heaven or Paradise that does not contain dogs."

Not questionable for everyone. I'll pre-empt Rabbi B and note the theories of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, who made an extremely compelling argument in his theological thought experiment that Heaven is nothing more or less than the memory of G-d.

Naturally, the memory of an ultimately creative and omniscient being is very different from your own memories - dynamic, perfect, and in all respects but a body a full existence. Since G-d's memory includes everything, in Kaplan's model dogs are part of heaven. One might well conjecture that a dog who loves, and teaches others love, would be remembered with every bit as much fondness by G-d. I would not limit what such a being would consider a good and faithful servant.

The term is over, Dainty Flower: the holidays have begun. The Dream is ended: this is the morning.

There's a flip side for beings with free will and morality: being inside of G-d's memories, without the filters of your corporeal body to block things out, is no picnic. Seeing all of the consequences of your actions with full experiences included can be nice, a la A Wonderful Life. It can also be a waking nightmare. Just seeing the best possible version of you, if you are a human, can be a pretty shaming comparison. If you haven't lived your best and dealt with your mistakes here, you'll have to do it in a place that has no place to hide or rationalize.

As a bonus, therefore, this Jewish conception of heaven also doubles as Gamma Hell - or at least Purgatory with a Hell-class wallop.

And like C.S. Lewis' conception of the "moderate" Dwarves in The Last Battle, it isn't a separate place from Heaven. It's the same 'place'.

Though some of the ilk might find this interesting. Rabbi Kaplan is, of course, much better than I am at explaining this.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 23, 2015 11:33 PM  

I read a piece a while back. The author said that everytime a dog died it took a piece of his heart with it, and everytime he got a dog, it gave him a piece of it's heart. So, he figured, if he lived long enough, maybe his heart would eventually be as pure and loyal as a dog's, and that would be a good thing.

Anonymous RCPete July 23, 2015 11:54 PM  

My sympathies for you and the family. Our oldest is a Aussie Shepherd/Lab cross, and is nearing 11. We have no idea how long she'll last, but as my vet says, you take an appointment for heartache when you get a dog. It's worth it. She's momma dog to our 7 year old Border Collie, who will probably be the momma dog sooner or later. They both have love to spare.

Now, about that dust...

Blogger stevo July 24, 2015 12:19 AM  

Beautiful photo. Nice writing too.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza July 24, 2015 12:23 AM  

Vox, Spacebunny and family, our condolences. What a beautiful picture and wonderful remembrance.

This is a huge loss. However everyone can rest in the good memories and funny stories of our dearly departed.

It is good to note children and pets are endless blessings.

Perhaps its a degree of denial but I like to say departed bodily with us in spirit.

Anonymous Morris July 24, 2015 12:48 AM  

My condolences, Vox, to you and your family.

Not easy to lose a furry family member.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 24, 2015 12:57 AM  

It may be questionable theology, but I personally cannot conceive of anything that could possibly call itself Heaven or Paradise that does not contain dogs.

I'm none too sure about theology myself, but dogs were the first animals that befriended fallen man. So, if Genesis is true, then either dogs were God's first gesture of forgiveness or else they rebelled against God too. But dogs are such loyal creatures, I can't see the later being true, so there must be something special about them.

Anonymous dc red dogs July 24, 2015 1:01 AM  

Sorry your dog died. Maybe my dogs (died in 2000, 2013, and 2015) and your dogs are having a conversation. My dogs are asking, what the fuck, you only gave your serious bark twice? What kind of world did you live in where one serious bark every few years or so is acceptable? I don't know your dog's reply, but I have no doubt it was enough to satisfy my dogs, whose standards were the highest. I wish I knew the answer to the question of what they said to each other. As much as they loved me, my dogs, I mean, there is no possibility that, some day, they will not tell me the answer. (Quotations from the martyrs St Paul, St Luke, and St Peter available upon request). Time spent with a dog that one cares for is good times.

Anonymous Homesteader July 24, 2015 1:04 AM  

I was blessed by Monster. My friends, grateful for some help I'd given, bought him for me. Pure Shepard, A little ball of fur who grew to 120 lbs of ferocious devotion. I never had a better companion.
When he died, part of me died along with him. (To this day it hurts when I see a Shepard). It was a life's Love condensed into a decade. I hope to see you in Heaven, Monster; I know you're there.

Anonymous JRL July 24, 2015 1:05 AM  

Vox and SB, I'm sorry you lost a good pet and friend.

Well...since this seems to be the time and place to reminisce...

I lost Bori, my Black Russian Terrier, about six months ago.

He was a beautiful dog, rambunctious, playful, full of vim and vigor. He had power and a hint of the majestic. People who saw him charge around our front yard would say he reminded them of a horse. I often said he was half dog, half mustang.

We'd get rough and tumble, I'd wrestle him down and give him a cuff on the head, just playing, and he'd come roaring back at me.

Black Russian Terriers were bred to be guard dogs, and bred to knock down their quarry. It was amusing that whenever I threw a toy for him outside, he wouldn't run up to it and grab it, he would charge full speed over it growling like a devil, and turn his head to grab it from the side. Then he'd charge back at me with near the same idea in mind. Never ran up and gave me the toy, instead he'd charge past me full speed, just a few inches from knocking me over. Always cracked me up.

The kids loved him, the US mail stopped delivering packages.

He would also jump into the big brown UPS truck as soon as it stopped to investigate...more than one driver thought they were done for. Some understood and kept delivering, others didn't.

We noticed a lump on his neck and took him to the vet. Diagnosis was cancer. One month later it hit suddenly. His breath was labored. I increased his steroid dose and stayed up with him all night... it wasn't getting better. Next morning I drove him to the vet. The drive there was bad. The drive home wasn't much easier. I brought him back home and buried him in soft clay soil right near a big old maple.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit July 24, 2015 1:28 AM  

All things end as all things must.
The stars burn down and go to dust
And all we've made must be erased
Within these bounds of time and space.

And so we bow our heads and weep,
but darling child this secret keep:
They live, all that were bright and loved
Forever, in the mind of God.

Surely in the new heaven and the new earth, the beloved good creatures of earth will be there.

Blogger VFM bot #188 July 24, 2015 1:35 AM  

A moving tribute. Have no doubt and no fear: Our dogs go to heaven. When Dagny could no longer stand up, I took her to the vet who had taken care of her for her entire life. He told me "the Good Lord gives them to us to be our companions, and when the time comes, we have to let them go." We'll see them again, all of them.

Blogger Groot July 24, 2015 1:38 AM  

My dumb dog is a love. Kids adore her.

"Well now I'm standing. Happy? We're all standing now. Bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle."
-- Rocket Raccoon

Blogger Eraser July 24, 2015 2:36 AM  

Damn, brought a tear to my eye... Condolences, Vox.

Blogger Jack Morrow July 24, 2015 3:03 AM  

Condolences to you and your family. Our miniature schnauzer has been gone for 21 years, and I still miss the little guy.

Blogger Groot July 24, 2015 3:16 AM  

184. Jack Morrow
"Our miniature schnauzer"

Those are great dogs. Little boys in dog suits. They run sideways (hind legs almost caught up with their front legs).

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 24, 2015 6:54 AM  

Much questionable Christian theology. Sentimental expressions are one thing, going to Heaven is God's memories puts us elsewhere.
As emotional as it was putting down Sandy, it does not the same as when my brother died in a boating accident, nor when my great-grandparents died, and certainly not when my dad died. My extended family was large (in terms of adults when I was growing up) and lived long, there are others that have died that I could mention, that I knew well and have died. With gief I am aquainted and there are other close family that are old and the Lord knows how much longer they will be around.

Blogger pdwalker July 24, 2015 7:14 AM  

Dogs love without reservation. There may be things more heart rending than losing a beloved family companion, but I am not sure what that could be.

If there is a heaven, then our dogs must be there, or it cannot be heaven.

Sorry for your loss.

Anonymous Dan July 24, 2015 7:39 AM  

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is the most beautiful dog I've ever seen. For those who weren't aware, the breed was developed to hunt lions. The other name for the breed is the African Lion Hound.

Blogger Ali Csinos July 24, 2015 8:31 AM  

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ― Will Rogers

So sorry for your loss...

Anonymous Claymore July 24, 2015 9:31 AM  

Arrivederci e buon cane. Ascolta per il fischio grande!

Anonymous Mark Call July 24, 2015 9:46 AM  

While they are with us, a decade or even two seems a long time. And when they pass, it was always far too short.

Our hearts and prayers are with you, Vox & SB. Condolences, and may God give you his shalom in your loss, and comfort your hearts.

Anonymous Sheila July 24, 2015 11:13 AM  

A beautiful tribute, Vox. My condolences. Yet it was reading all the comments that made me weep.

Anonymous Hoppes #9 July 24, 2015 11:27 AM  

Our Condolences. Enjoy the happy memories and be confident that when the Lord says He is making all things new, He means ALL things.

Blogger RobertT July 24, 2015 5:10 PM  

Very,very sad. God Bless.

Blogger Hugo Herrera July 25, 2015 2:29 AM  

Sorry for your loss.

OpenID The Friendly Grizzly July 26, 2015 4:26 PM  

You've my heartfelt condolences. I have no pets, but think I am at the stage of my life where it may be time to have a buddy.

Anonymous mark tomeo July 27, 2015 10:21 AM  

Sincere condolences. After a lifetime of dogs and cats, I'm living without because I cannot bear to take another one to the vet for the final visit. I well understand the urge to hope for reunification with them after we die, although Christian theology appears to rule this out. Whenever this topic arises I recall this story by Dick Cavett involving Basil Rathbone and a spiritualist medium:

There are some some comments clarifying the actual circumstances, but the upshot is "There are no dogs here."

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts