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Saturday, May 15, 2010

A very old dog

It has been a week since we said good-bye to Alfi, and in that time I have been thinking a lot about old dogs. I think that a picture of the oldest dachshund I personally knew is the one of Gustav von Moosbach. Gustav was bred by John, and he was born on June 11, 1980. I am not sure how old he was when I took this picture - he was either 16 or 18. I am pretty sure that I took it on May 5, 1996 at Pine Plains, NY at the PRA clinic, but then for some reason the picture on my computer is labelled with the 1998 date. Unfortunately, I am not able to confirm the date with Gustav's owner.

So here it is Gustav von Moosbach, a wirehaired dachshund, at the age of 16 or 18.

The Power of the Dog

"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,
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 to 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 that 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-term 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?"

Rudyard Kipling 

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