Most of us have had pets we loved with all the intensity one can muster for a fellow creature. They are loving, each in their own way, and quite patient with their human companions. When they pass, the light is a bit dimmer, there is a little less joy in the places they left behind.
No one who has ever lost a beloved dog or cat will ever forget that moment, just after you realize that they are gone. The world stops for a moment, the sadness is nearly unbearable, then you start remembering the times you had together.
The pain never goes away, but it lessens with time. The memories of the time together last forever. And ever.
Epitaph to a Dog
Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.
This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG,
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808.
When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below:
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonour’d falls, unnotic’d all his worth,
Deny’d in heaven the Soul he held on earth:
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.
Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debas’d by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye! who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on, it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one—and here he lies.
Note: One thing I will say in contradiction to this wonderful poem, we will see our beloved four-legged friends again someday. I cannot believe that Our Lord, who loves us so, would let us be separated long from our faithful companions.