Wednesday

Dogs and Death

I attended a funeral yesterday. Because I spend time with some people as they begin their transitions from this life to their next, their families ask if I can come to the funeral. This means a great deal to me, especially if the person who died had a dog of their own. D is pleased to take me and I often sit with the grandchildren of the person who has died.

I want to say something that’s extremely important. If you have a close relationship with Dog and you’re a dog lover as well, then you may already know this: In my own way, I understand what dying means. It doesn’t mean that I dwell on it like you humans, but it does mean that I can accept that life is finite.

What I don’t understand and what hurts more than I could ever convey, in my limited vocabulary, is desertion. I don’t understand when you just go away, or someone takes you away from me.

So please, I beg of you, if you’re a family member of someone who has died and they had a dog, it’s very important to take the dog to the funeral director’s to see their carer, so the dog will understand what has happened. It’s not as much visual as it is through other senses, such as smell, and some other senses you humans still don’t quite understand.

My fellow dogs will understand. Of course they will be sad, but at least they will know that they weren’t just taken from the human that they have loved and cared for so many years. Just imagine how you might feel!

If your funeral director challenges you or suggests you can’t, for whatever pathetic reason they might make up, then tell them you’ve arranged for another funeral director to come collect your loved one and be firm about it! I promise you, they will be miraculously swayed to your point of view! There are too many funeral directors who are awful and all they want is your money! Some are honest and caring and there are even a few who have a genuine understanding of their spiritual responsibilities. But the truth is they can be far and few between!

Enuff said! But this deserves several woofs on the woof meter! So please don’t forget! I’m counting on you!

Mr Piddles

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Why I Wear A Dog Collar

I was really honoured when a news reporter asked if he could interview me. It’s not often that we insignificant mutts are ever listened to. But as with all interviews, sometimes the most important things can get missed or at least misinterpreted.

I cannot stress enough the important role my fellow canines play in the relationships with humans, especially those who are lonely and in need. Perhaps you have a mongrel mutt who also loves people, has the patience of Job, and is acutely aware of your emotions. If you do, have a chat together and see whether there’s someone you could work with to find ways for the two of you to volunteer at a Nursing Home. Volunteering is such a rewarding thing and our communities are in desperate need of people (and dogs) who can extend a caring paw (hand).

Has anyone ever told you why clergy wear ‘dog collars?’ One of the reasons is to signify their approachability. That’s the only reason I wear mine. Actually, it started as a joke, when a certain Rural Dean was complaining about those awful american internet places where you can ‘ordain’ yourself and learn about colonics at the same time. It was quite funny because he was ranting so much about it, saying that he had just ordained his cat. So D decided to put a collar on me – just to show I’m approachable…as if you couldn’t tell! Some people say I work harder than D does, but I would never suggest that to him!

I’m honoured to have been thought of enough to be mentioned in the papers. But there’s an important reason behind it. Hopefully, it will encourage you to find ways to invest yourself in volunteering.

Reach out to someone today. You’ll feel better for it and so will they!

Three wags and a woof!

Mr P

Dog Saves Cats

Credit where credit’s due! I’m certainly not blowing my horn for the species (well, maybe I am!), but there’s a down-under doggie named Leo who deserves a jolly large chicken dinner with all the trimmings!

Seems Leo the dog (sad about the name though), was doing precisely what we were made to do – protecting the underdog …and I can’t imagine anything more under than being a cat! Well anyhoo, Leo became caught up in a frightfully nasty fire at his home.

But rather than getting the heck out of there like everyone else did, Leo headed upstairs to size up how he was going to protect a box of newborn kittens.

When the firefighters arrived on the scene, they were amazed to discover Leo amidst the inferno, standing over the kittens, protecting them with everything he had! Well done Leo!

Hollywood couldn’t have written a more touching script; After the firefighters rescued Leo and the kittens, Leo collapsed from smoke inhalation. The firefighters had to administer heart massage and oxygen to resuscitate the marvellous little mutt!

With no smoke alarms in the house, it’s a miracle that no one died or fried.

Is this blog-note a shameless self-serving advocacy for dogs?

You betcha! Wag Wag Woof Woof!

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Friday

Finding Dog in Christmas

Well, I’m absolutely mortified! Look what Mary has done to me! No one’s going to believe that I’m Father Christmas? (Well, maybe that dopey pink poodle who keeps chasing me on the sea front may…she’d believe anything!)

Mary thought it would be nice to dress me up for when D takes me to visit people. I think it’s a dumb idea. Isn’t my warm smile and waggy tail good enough? But it’s the season of Advent and maybe D will eventually come to his senses before Christmas day and take it off of me! I look like a flippin Ho-Ho ho...if you get my drift!

The poet John Betjeman wrote a wonderful poem about Christmas. I thought you might like to see it. Also, I see that D has written about it in his diary:


The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?

And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

That was lovely. And now I know why D likes the poem so much. Mr Betjeman is as barking as D is!

Doggone it!

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Wednesday

Death is Nothing at All - A Poem About Life

Canon Henry Scott Holland was the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London when he wrote the highly emotive and memorable poem or elegy "Death is Nothing at All." D often comments on his amazement at how many permutations there are of the poem and in some cases I've heard him express his disappointment at how often people modify it. 'Perhaps it's because they don't fully understand all of the words, or the amazing history behind the elegy,' D says to me. But I do know that each time he shares these lovely thoughts, people are deeply moved. D says there's a passion behind the elegy and there's a powerful conviction that transcends all other poems about God's promise.

I'm pleased to share it with you. I've set it out in my doggy blog just the way D reads it. I hope it touches you the same way it touches him.

Death is nothing at all,
it does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.

I am I and you are you,
And the old life we lived so fondly together
Is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other; that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way, which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed,
at the little jokes that we shared together.
Play, smile, think of me; pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.

There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
simply because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment
and all will be as it was before.

And oh how we shall laugh at the trouble of parting
when we meet again!

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Sunday

Poems For a Funeral

Are you looking for a poem to read at a funeral for your mother or father? Or are you trying to find a poem that you can read yourself for your own comfort? Many people prefer to read a poem instead of a Biblical passage.

I listen to D read poems at funerals often. They are comforting to families and they can help create memories.

I realise that I'm just a dog, but I thought I'd share a few that I enjoy most. Choose for yourself, but these are some of my favourites.


HE IS GONE

You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.

Your heart can be empty, because you can't see him
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow, and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow, because of yesterday.

You can remember him, and only that he's gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he'd want:
smile
open your eyes
love
and go on.



Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken
In the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my coffin and cry
I am not there, I did not die.



God Saw You Getting Tired

God saw you getting tired
when a cure was not to be
so He wrapped His arms around you
and whispered come to me

You didn’t deserve what you went through
so Our Lord, He gave you rest
Gods garden must be beautiful
He only takes the best

And when I heard you were sleeping
so peacefully and free from pain
I could not wish you back
to suffer that again



In Your Thoughts

To the living, I am gone
To the sorrowful, I will never return
To the angry, I was cheated
But to the happy, I am at peace
And to the faithful, I have never left
I cannot speak, but I can listen
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard
So as you stand upon the shore
Gazing at the beautiful sea, remember me
As you look in awe at a mighty forest
And its grand majesty, remember me
Remember me in your hearts,
In your thoughts, and the memories of the
Times we loved, the times we cried, the
Battle we fought and the times we laughed
For if you always think of me, I will
Have never gone.