In Memory of Baby


His Apologies

MASTER, this is Thy Servant. He is rising eight weeks old. He is mainly Head and Tummy. His legs are uncontrolled. But Thou hast forgiven his ugliness, and settled him on Thy knee . . . Art Thou content with Thy Servant? He is very comfy with Thee.

Master, behold a Sinner? He hath done grievous wrong. He hath defiled Thy Premises through being kept in too long. Wherefore his nose has been rubbed in the dirt, and his self-respect has been bruiséd. Master, pardon Thy Sinner, and see he is properly looséd.

Master — again Thy Sinner! This that was once Thy Shoe, He hath found and taken and carried aside, as fitting matter to chew. Now there is neither blacking nor tongue, and the Housemaid has us in tow. Master, remember Thy Servant is young, and tell her to let him go!

Master, extol Thy Servant! He hath met a most Worthy Foe! There has been fighting all over the Shop — and into the Shop also! Till cruel umbrellas parted the strife (or I might have been choking him yet). But Thy Servant has had the Time of his Life — and now shall we call on the vet?

Master, behold Thy Servant! Strange children came to play, And because they fought to caress him, Thy Servant wentedst away. But now that the Little Beasts have gone, he has returned to see (Brushed — with his Sunday collar on —) what they left over from tea. . .  . . .

Master, pity Thy Servant! He is deaf and three parts blind, He cannot catch Thy Commandments. He cannot read Thy Mind. Oh, leave him not in his loneliness; nor make him that kitten’s scorn. He has had none other God than Thee since the year that he was born!

Lord, look down on Thy Servant! Bad things have come to pass, There is no heat in the midday sun nor health in the wayside grass. His bones are full of an old disease — his torments run and increase. Lord, make haste with Thy Lightnings and grant him a quick release!

Rudyard Kipling

My dog Baby, a terrier poodle mix, passed away over night, after a mercifully brief illness.  She had been in decent health until recently.  We brought her home from an animal shelter 13 years ago.  She was so eager to make a good impression on us that she didn’t bark for three days!  She was the companion of our children when they were young and the solace of my bride and I as our fledglings left the nest.  For years I would take her for a pre-dawn stroll which she loved and was the high point of her day.  I was also always the easiest touch for treats and hand outs, and she would always beg from me whenever I ate, although otherwise she was a mommy dog.  I would feed her chocolate occasionally although I was warned that the black sweetness was bad for dogs.  I replied that at least she would die with a smile on her snout!  She was a grand dog and led a grand life, bringing us love and companionship every day that she was with us, from her first to her last.  We will miss her, which is not a bad epitaph for man or beast.

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  1. I am so sorry your family has lost your precious Baby. You’ve all had a rough week. I grieve just thinking about losing my four-legged companion.

  2. Mr. McClarey, My condolences to you and your family. Your little pup looks like she is smiling in the picture. And your son Larry now has a loving companion. May Baby rest well.

  3. My condolences Mr. McClarey. 🙁

    Our pets reflect the love or in some cases angst of the owners. Your Baby looks like a dog that loved, much. 🙂

    Our cat Adrian was 23 years old. We were devastated but grateful in the same breath, when she fell asleep. The unconditional love of our four legged friends is amazing. Best wishes for this holiday weekend.

  4. That poem is the truth. Animals just have the way to return love given and to see it with their eyes, as well as let it be found there. Small coincidence with names: a long gone 80 lb. retriever named Puppy, who sacrificed life with me to accompany my father in his last years. They once took a ride to get donuts and papers. While my father went into the newsroom, Puppy opened a waxed bag and ate the dozen jelly donuts, then reportedly slept for two days as he began to gain weight. His eyes still saw and showed love. T. Shaw has the message.

  5. Condolences Don.
    Pets generally and IMO dogs in particular become a loved member of the family, and their passing is certainly the loss of a loved one.
    I have owned four dogs in my life – 2 were purely pets for the kids, the other two were my dogs – used for hunting, and companionship on the job when I worked a lot on my own. The love and dedication they show is matched by none bar the closest of your family – but they never answer back 🙂
    R.I.P Baby.

  6. “For years I would take her for a pre-dawn stroll which she loved and was the high point of her day.”

    My collies like nothing better than to come along when I hack out, two or three miles before breakfast. Then, when the youngsters take the other horses out, they will join them, too. I wonder what it would take to tire a dog out!

  7. Sorry to hear about this Don… Baby was a very beautiful dog, and obviously forever grateful for the love and care she received.

  8. When my older son was in seventh grade, he became depressed and asked for an “action dog” so we bought a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy and named him Sampson. After my son left for college, Sampson became my devoted dog; it was strange but we could really communicate. Eleven years later in early December my father entered a killed nursing center. I was able to bring Sam into the facility and my dad would throw the ball to Sam in the sunroom or just sit with him. My dad would retell stories from his boyhood about his dogs, Bonzo and Scaramouche. Late Christmas night Sam was at the Vet ER with a mass cell tumor reaction. On the 26th Sam had emergency surgery and my dad was transferred to hospice; five days later my dad died. I spent way too much money on Sam with the surgery and radiation. I couldn’t prolong my dad’s life, but I could Sampson’s. One year after my dad died to the day, Sam died. Both died from liver cancer. In the following months my husband, who was raised without a dog, would say to me, “It’s just a dog, Cynthia.” I think I took it so hard because I was grieving for my beloved father and the dog, both of whom gave unconditional love and support to my sons (and to me) during the boys’ tumultuous teen years.
    So, Don, without meaning to be presumptuous, I understand your grief losing Baby and so close to the anniversary of Larry’s passing. You and your family are in my prayers. -CAM

  9. Thank you CAM. Dogs become like a member of the family. Whenever I am eating I still absent-mindedly set aside a piece for Baby and then I realize that she is no longer there to enliven my meals with her begging. Dogs give us their love and loyalty and I would wonder about myself if I did not feel her loss.

  10. I note in Baby’s portrait that she is smiling. Studies have shown that dogs and puppies do smile and even laugh. Baby was a happy animal from a happy home.

    Re the typo in the comment on my father’s last days of his life – he had wonderful care at the “skilled” vice “killed” nursing center. Killed nursing centers will become a reality after Obamacare has been fully implemented.

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