Pure, unconditional love.

Giving from the heart; in this case a dog’s heart.

As many readers know we have nine dogs here at home, divided into the ‘kitchen’ group (Paloma, Casey and Ruby) and the ‘bedroom’ group (Pharaoh, Brandy, Cleo, Sweeny, Pedy and Oliver). Inevitably the latter group are closer to us because they share the bulk of the home with Jeannie and me, and sleep in our bedroom. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the kitchen group are any less affectionate than the bedroom group it’s just that, for me especially, I am able to be emotionally and physically closer to our bedroom group because for most of the hours of each day they are close to me.

Brandy, Cleo and Oliver seem to be incredibly sensitive to Jeannie’s and my feelings. If something makes me cry then one of them will be next to me in seconds. When Jeannie and I hug, Oliver will stand on his rear legs, place his front legs on our bodies above our waists and act as if he is hugging us. Even the mention of the word “out” has Cleo running to the front door.

So many more examples but you get the drift!

Last Friday The Washington Post published a heart-breaking story. It concerned a young man, just 33-years-old, who was dying from a brain hemorrhage. Here’s an extract from that story:

Ryan Thomas Jessen had gone to the hospital for what he thought was a migraine, but it turned out to be a brain hemorrhage, his sister, Michelle Jessen, wrote on Facebook earlier this month.

The hemorrhage, which doctors believe may have been brought on by high blood pressure, would prove fatal.

But before Jessen died, the 33-year-old Californian’s family wanted to let his dog, Mollie, see him one last time.

Michelle Jessen filmed that last visit by Mollie and, as one might expect, the video has been shared right across the world.

So very often words come so difficult when one wants to reflect on what we have just watched.

Which is why I’m allowing Jimmy Stewart to make it easier.

He never came to me when I would call

Unless I had a tennis ball,

Or he felt like it,

But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young

He never learned to heel

Or sit or stay,

He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag

But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.

He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,

And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,

The delivery boy was his favorite prey.

The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,

He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire

But the story’s long to tell.

Suffice it to say that he survived

And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,

He was always first out the door.

The Old One and I brought up the rear

Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,

What a beautiful pair they were!

And if it was still light and the tourists were out,

They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks

And with a frown on his face look around.

It was just to make sure that the Old One was there

And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house — I guess I’m the first to retire.

And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me

And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,

And I’d give him one for a while.

He would push it under the bed with his nose

And I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before very long He’d tire of the ball

And be asleep in his corner In no time at all.

And there were nights when I’d feel him Climb upon our bed

And lie between us,

And I’d pat his head.

And there were nights when I’d feel this stare

And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there

And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.

And sometimes I’d feel him sigh and I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night

And he would have this fear

Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,

And he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead.

And there are nights when I think I feel him

Climb upon our bed and lie between us,

And I pat his head.

And there are nights when I think I feel that stare

And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,

But he’s not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,

I’ll always love a dog named Beau.

There is no love without pain,

But to have lived without the love of a dog in one’s life would be not to have lived at all.

Our dear, dear dogs!

9 thoughts on “Pure, unconditional love.

  1. I remember seeing the original broadcast of one of my favorite classic actors, Jimmy Stewart reading this poem. Even though I was a teen at the time, I was touched and I remember welling up. Maggie is getting up in years now and the stars haven’t aligned yet for us to get her a playmate. She is still youthful and vibrant but I would like to keep her around for many years to come. You are right Paul. Our dear, dear dogs!

  2. I urge everyone to click on the link to hear Jimmy Stewart read the poem himself. His phrasing and emotion are spot on! What a great actor and animal lover he was.

  3. Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch the first video, the one of Ryan with his dog Mollie, it said it had been removed by the owner but the other video of Jimmy Stewart came through fine. I’ve seen this one before; it touched my heart then and again now because as you know, my little shih-tzu Poppy is now a grand old dame of 17, blind, deaf and arthritic hips but still happy and eating well. I am dreading the day, and Jimmy Stewart nailed it.

    1. Yes, I had noticed that issue with the video. That is a wonderful age for Poppy. Pharaoh is in a similar condition and, likewise, dreading the day when it’s the end for him.

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