T. H. White quote #1: Requiem for a faithful dog

On the death of his beloved setter Brownie:

“But listen to this, bitch, and you, Grim Powers,

If any road ever leads up to heaven’s towers

My bitch comes with me. When I come to die

We go together, my bitch and I.

Or, if you fear to let such love return

Go to, and shut your gates. Sweeter to burn.”

UPDATE: As most western thought, religious or (at least until recently) scientific, has tended to devalue animals, consider them Cartesian automatons or Skinnerian objects, deny them feelings or emotions or souls (can you tell I don’t agree?), I find Peculiar’s take on the Eastern Orthodox position interesting. Though I understand theology about as well as my dogs do, I have moved a quote from it up here, from “Comments”.

Jack says: “I don’t pretend to any deep eschatological understanding here, and I won’t belabor the issue to a general audience, but for what it’s worth I think the question is much less problematic from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. The Orthodox view of salvation isn’t about any gnostic, spiritualized heaven that only a rational soul can enter. It’s about the eventual renewal of all creation, and that encompasses dogs. “For Thou hast no desire, O Master, to destroy the work of Thy hands…..” [St. Basil the Great]

For a scientific take that includes the existence of emotion and thought in animals see Sy Montgomery’s new , nominally “children’s” book on Temple Grandin, the best bio of her yet; it even contains drawings of her inventions; or any of Temple’s own books, starting with Animals Make Us Human. Jonathan Kingdon (his Wiki page is pathetically inadequate, and I may have to learn to edit them) used to say that “Animals are good to think with” a LONG time ago, attributing the saying to tribal elders in one of the less agricultural East African tribes…

5 thoughts on “T. H. White quote #1: Requiem for a faithful dog”

  1. Really a lovely, powerful little poem!

    I've always liked the quote on this issue from Billy Graham, of all people: "I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness. If it takes my dog being there [in Heaven], I believe he'll be there."

    I don't pretend to any deep eschatological understanding here, and I won't belabor the issue to a general audience, but for what it's worth I think the question is much less problematic from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. The Orthodox view of salvation isn't about any gnostic, spiritualized heaven that only a rational soul can enter. It's about the eventual renewal of all creation, and that encompasses dogs. "For Thou hast no desire, O Master, to destroy the work of Thy hands….." [St. Basil the Great]

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  2. Well Hell! How in hell could someplace be Heaven without dogs???!!! Like humorist Will Rogers once said(paraphrased here), "If dogs don't go to heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they go!". And if our dogs are there waiting for us, when my time comes, there is going to be one helluva pack accumulated! I reckon them angels assigned to taking care of them till my time comes might be gittin' purty fed up about now, and may just see what they can do to speed up my arrival date somewhat……

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  3. And last, but not least, even a crusty old curmudgeon such as Martin Luther, had a soft spot for little dogs …

    "Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail."

    Martin Luther

    Affection for man's best friend is found in the most unlikely of places.

    Black Dog Lady

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