Wednesday, 12 March 2014

For The Love of Dogs by Ann Evans

Friends' dogs - Chip and Hetty
Did any of you go along to Crufts last week? As I’m writing this in advance I’m looking forward to going there on Sunday. Partly for work and partly because I just love seeing all the dogs. Although I admit there was one year when I'd looked at so many dogs during the afternoon, I commented on how one particular dog was sitting so still and obediently... It turned out to be a life-sized stuffed cuddly toy! 

I have always loved dogs. When I was little and all the pleading and pestering to mum and dad to let me have a dog came to nothing, I would play outside with a piece of rope which I pretended was a dog lead attached to my make-believe dog. 

Since then, happily I've been lucky enough to have had some wonderful dogs as pets. As anyone with a dog knows, our four-footed friends aren't just companions, they are protectors and comforters. They're always pleased to see you, and as confidants, you can tell your dog all your secrets and troubles and you know they won’t breathe a word to another soul.

Dogs are certainly man’s best friend – and many a writer’s best friend too. As a freelancer I've been writing for Dogs Monthly magazine since the 1990s. The first article was on my dog, Pippa who had a walk-on part in a play at my local theatre which resulted in her being interviewed on the radio!

Me and Pippa
Since then there have been articles on assistance dogs, search and rescue dogs, detection dogs - sniffing out anything and everything from ammunition and illegal drugs to detecting illnesses and impending epileptic fits. There have been articles on Army dogs, police dogs, cadaver dogs and stunt dogs; pedigree and cross breeds; dogs with super skills and dogs just desperate for love - to mention just a few. 

For many of us, walking the dog is just the ticket when we need to get away from it all and let our minds wander. That free time can be inspirational. And as we know dogs have been inspiring writers – and artists for centuries.

Here’s a few canine-themed poems which I hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as I have... and some nice doggy photos to share with you!

Tom's Little Dog
Grandson Jake and Chippy.
by Walter de la Mare

Tom told his dog called Tim to beg,
And up at once he sat,
His two clear amber eyes fixed fast,
His haunches on his mat.
Tom poised a lump of sugar on
His nose; then, "Trust!" says he;
Stiff as a guardsman sat his Tim;
Never a hair stirred he.

"Paid for!" says Tom; and in a trice
Up jerked that moist black nose;
A snap of teeth, a crunch, a munch,
And down the sugar goes! 

To a Lady with an Unruly and Ill-mannered Dog 
Who Bit several Persons of Importance
by Sir Walter Raleigh

Your dog is not a dog of grace;
He does not wag the tail or beg;
He bit Miss Dickson in the face;
He bit a Bailie in the leg.

What tragic choices such a dog
One of the perks of writing about dogs!
Presents to visitor or friend!
Outside there is the Glasgow fog;
Within, a hydrophobic end.

Yet some relief even terror brings,
For when our life is cold and gray
We waste our strength on little things,
And fret our puny souls away.

A snarl! A scruffle round the room!
A sense that Death is drawing near!
And human creatures reassume
The elemental robe of fear.

So when my colleague makes his moan
Of careless cooks, and warts, and debt,
-- Enlarge his views, restore his tone,

And introduce him to your Pet!

The Power of the Dog
by Rudyard Kipling
Daughter Debbie, boyfriend Steve and Lola
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 --

But . . . you've given your heart to 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 hat answered your every mood
Is gone -- wherever it goes -- for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a 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?

And some dogs are worth their weight in gold.

Thank you Rob Tysall of Tysall's Photography for the photos.

And if you'd like to look at me website, it's:

Out now: Become a Writer - A step by step guide. 


Adela-Mae Marshall said...

This is so cute! Unfortunately I was unable to go, however a girl from my school (it was later announced in assembly) won one of the events! :)

Ruth Symes said...

Oh I love this post. We couldn't go this year but have been before with our PAT dog (she wasn't very keen on a man there dressed up as a dog). Is the dog in the bottom picture taking part in the agility course (sign behind him). He looks like he/she's won a rosette?
Brilliant pics.