Yesterday turned out to be a suck ass day because Skatter’s dog, this really cute little black Toy Pom with blue eyes called Gummy, and my aunt’s colossal ridgeback Dusty both died.
With Skatter it was pretty bad, the poor little guy fell down the stairs and cracked his skull, Skatter found him when he came home from work, but it was too late to save him.
Dusty on the other hand had cancer that spread like wildfire inside him. They tried everything they could to save him, but in the end had to put him down.
My aunt is devastated, Dusty was an incredible dog. He was about the size of a small pony, no shit. This dog was MASSIVE and smart as all hell. He used to have long conversations with my aunt about all kinds of stuff, her speaking English and him barking out dogese loud enough to deafen a small child.
I saw a pic of Gummy that Skatter sent his brother Wopna’s phone. The little dude was one of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen. I never met him, but I’ll bet he was rad.
Animals are our friends, we were put on this earth to look after them and in return they enrich our lives and teach us about our own nature.
Ghandi really nailed it when he said that “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
J-Rab loves and understands animals better than anyone I’ve ever met and though I’ve always felt there are striking similarities between humans and animals, especially when it comes to our personalities, she’s the one that has really confirmed it for me.
She’s hand reared Servals, Caracals, Jackals, Lemurs, Owls, Ocelots and most impressive of all, Tigers.
I had the privilege of going into a Tiger enclosure at the Zoo where J-Rab works when the tigers were still young (10 months old). They used to take people in groups of 5 to spend time with the young Tigers, so I went with some of my buddies when J-Rab first started working there.
Thing is, at 10 months, they are still pretty huge. They weigh in at about 85kgs (same as my weight) and have big paws that could take your entire face off with one swipe.
So we were a little nervous going in there, but the Tigers were chilled out and seemed interested to meet us and play with us.
It’s uncanny touching them like that, being so close to them and knowing all the time that they could kill you with the same effort it would take the average human to open a pickle jar.
But more than anything, it’s the intelligence in their eyes that catches you off guard. These are beings who are self-aware, who have memories, who are capable of logical thought, who go to sleep at night and dream secret Tiger-dreams. They are creatures who display very clear emotions and form emotional attachments to other animals and to the people who look after them.
So when you go home today, back to your pets if you have any, think about how lucky we are that we get to share this world with creatures as amazing as animals because for a lot of us, like my aunt who lives by herself, the world is a lonely place without them.
I don’t write a lot of poetry, but I wrote this poem about dogs two years ago and I really like it.
Three Parts Dog
Throughout my life I’ve always loved the loyalty of dogs
It’s a reflection of my character that I’ve always found it easier
To love a being that never pouts, or sulks or shies away from me
That greets me with a wagging tail, with eyes that shine and never fail
To coax a smile, to lift my mood, to remind me in this world of hurt
That in dogs, at least, there still is good.
When I was born my mother’s dog, a spaniel daschund cross called Onyx,
Used to guard me in my sleep and, behaving like any gentle creature would,
Didn’t bark or snap at me when I pulled his ears or ate his food.
Onyx watched me grow up fast while I watched his jet black coat turn grey,
He slowed with age, started losing his sight and returning after a holiday
I asked the maid where Onyx was, but she just winced and looked away.
That day I learned that fate is cruel and it tore me up that I wasn’t there
There was nothing to find by the time we arrived,
Just a pool filter clogged with his matted grey hair.
I guess the thing with dogs is that they know the loneliness of life
They know how bad it sometimes gets but unlike us they can’t pretend
That everything is going swell when darkness is your only friend.
I think the thing with dogs is that they love us for the strays we are
They’ve shared the pain we clutch inside as surely as they’ve shared our fires
Across the dusty plains of life, through frozen lands and torpid mires.
But for me the thing with dogs is that I see myself in years to come
Cutting all my human ties, scratching the itch in my rambler’s bones,
Defying your consumer gods; one part man
Three parts Dog.