From our porch and dining room windows we can see the passing parade of dog walkers, causing me to wonder if indeed this country is “going to the dogs.”
Let me first assure you that I like dogs. We loved and lost two, enough to convince anyone that a dog’s love is unlike any other love on earth.
But so many dogs set me to thinking that perhaps dogs now outnumber people in this country.
Not yet. The Pet Food Institute reports that there are 71 million dogs in the U.S, compared to 321 million people. According to PFI, more than half of USA households are home to dogs. (For what it’s worth, 73 million cats are napping on USA sofas.)
I rarely see evidence of pooper scoopers or baddie bags as the dog walkers pass to and fro. And of course no dog owner is going to carry along a tinkle can. That’s why we no longer plant geraniums at or near the street. Dogs are said to believe that if you can’t eat it or play with it, tinkle on it and move on.
My wife recently came across an essay by writer Eugene O’Neill that every dog lover should read. It’s titled “The Last Will and Testament of An Extremely Distinguished Dog.” It includes a dog’s concept of Heaven:
“I would like to believe … that there is a Paradise where one is always young and full-bladdered; where all the day one dillies and dallies with an amorous multitude of houris [lovely nymphs], beautifully spotted; where jack rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the houris) are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning, and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth, and the love of one’s Master and Mistress.’’
As I was writing this column, I received word that Boscoe, granddog in St. Petersburg, Fla. is terminal at a hospice facility that cares for dying Basset hounds when they are beyond help at home.
I shall miss Boscoe. He liked me. When I visited, he insisted on sprawling across my lap for long and frequent naps. Boscoe was an extremely distinguished dog.
To be loved and trusted by a dog is no small form of flattery.
The flag comes down
I watched the South Carolina Confederate flag-lowering ceremony on TV. Done with dignity, it was a moving event, especially for Southerners.
I devoutly wished that the vestiges of racial prejudices could have come down with the flag. Let us fervently hope it will not take another 150 years or so for that to happen.
Don’t think we’ve seen the last of the flag. It will be flaunted here and there for years to come as a statement of defiance or as a piece of family history.
During the ceremony, I wondered how long it would take for someone to sneak back to the South Carolina capitol and plant another Confederate flag somewhere on the grounds.
A nation’s history, like that of an individual’s, cannot be changed by some act of courage or common sense years or even centuries after an event.
As Omar Khayyam said, “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
There is much speculation as to what woman’s face will be the first to grace a U.S. monetary bill.
J.C. Knowles, longtime friend and prominent Raleighite, has his choice.
“No, you did not ask me who I would put on the newly created bill, but I’ll tell you. My wife!” he writes. “She has kept a wonderful home for 63 years, raised two beautiful children, spoiled three grandchildren, prays and reads her Bible every day, votes every time the polls open, pays taxes without complaining, keeps a husband in line who many think is a ‘basket case,’ drives a 11-year old automobile, was a member of PTA for 15 years, would have voted for George Washington, but North Carolina was not in the Union at the time, did vote for ’give’em Hell, Harry!’”
Those males among us who have been fortunate enough also to have chosen a wonderful mate will “Amen!” J.C.’s sentiments.