On losing a dog

Unfortunately, as Kipling and (even) Ogden Nash knew, a recurrent event given our disparate life spans. Tom McIntyre’s Kaycee died suddenly at four last week, after a joyous bout of play. Tom reflects:

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }The
death of a dog teaches what a tenuous, suspended by a silk thread
thing life is. And yet, the wonder is not in how easily and
perplexingly they die, but how truly alive they can be. It is not
just about dog years, but dog days, even dog minutes. If I “only”
had four years with him, I would have settled for ten seconds. And
wished for forever. Because he was my friend.”

Of Lane and Jane and dog relatives

Our blog friend and frequent commenter Lane Batot lives an enviable life in the wooded hills of North Carolina, working at the zoo, rambling the wild lands with his team of dogs and his spear, reading and collecting a natural history library that would rival mine. At the moment he has thousands of books, thirteen  dogs including a pair of tazi boys from Vladimir Beregovoy that are cousins of ours, and four ferrets; if I have gotten any numbers wrong I am sure he will let me know.

But Lane is not only Ortega’s “Municipal Paleolithic Man”; he is an amateur scholar of Edgar Rice Burroughs, a former Sasquatch, and a long time friend of Jane Goodall’s who has worked at Gombe. They meet occasionally when Jane speaks at a nearby venue, but this year Jane and the Edgar Rice Burroughs Society conspired to fly him to LA for the big Tarzan festivities. I wish I still had the typing skills and energy to re- type his entire 20- some page handwritten letter about his wandering around in an alien habitat, but I think that his official interview will do.

A couple more photos: tazi boys, and Lane in a more natural habitat:

“New” Petroglyph

… from none other than Andrey Kovalenko— see below.

Andrey says: “This rock art is located in (تیمره) Golpaygan, Isfahan in the central part of Iran. GP Location is: 33° 38′ 31.43″ N 50° 19′ 27.30″ E. There have not been any scientific examination (Magnetic Polarity Chronology, Uranium Thorium, Carbon 14 HL) to date the age of petroglyphs in Kheomein and Golpayganm specifically but from other findings in the same area it can be said that the petroglyphs date back to Pre-Agriculture era — Isfahan – Iran.”

One more on Plum

… To thank everyone; I will not belabor the point or fill the blog.

Jameson Parker sent Robinson Jeffers’ wonderful tribute to his bulldog Grip. In part:

I hope than when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear


As good and joyful as mine.


No, dear, that’s too much hope: you are not so well cared for

As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided

Fidelities that I knew.

Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .

But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.

I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures

To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,

I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

And from Jutta in Germany, whose photos of Nhubia and Taalai often appear here, a photo she took of the old boyo here in his prime several years ago, one that made us laugh…

UPDATE: JP got the caption: “I don’t know what you were trying to do with the tape measure, but clearly you don’t have nearly enough hands.”

Plummer lurcher: March 1 1999- Dec 13 2012

My old dog Plummer is gone. He was born (bred for us, a Hancock designer NM blend of greyhound and bearded and border collie) in David Hancock’s kennel in an England that still allowed hunting with dogs, and died in his bed in his home in New Mexico. Once the greatest single- hand hare dog I have ever owned, he was failing badly the last few days, and falling down constantly. Loyal, rambunctious, sometimes loud, overbearing, smart and cheerful, he was one of a kind, very unlike the tazis, though descendants of his mating with Lash still win in New Mexico meets. I doubt I will ever have another dog like him. Lib may write more.

His birth announcement: I assume most can still recognize a Polaroid!

With David

Scenes from a life

A note of congratulations from Terence Wright’s late Logan longdog on his first hare; another…

He liked hunting, water (much more than salukimorphs), and food, and comfort…

He grew old with his friends, and will be missed…

(And thanks once again to Terri Gonzales, DVM)

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…