Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Dog's Life of Devotion by J.W. Hodge M.D. 1912

The Dog's Life of Devotion by J.W. Hodge M.D. 1912

It is a deep mystery, this animal world in which we live and of which we are an integral part.

Since the dawn of history the dog has distinguished himself for notable deeds of courage, devotion, fidelity and affection. No other animal on earth is so fond of man and so loyal to him. The dog's life is given up to the service of his master whom he looks up to and worships as if he regarded him a deity. The dog has a religion in which his human master is his god. The only heaven a dog knows is a welcome place in the heart of him whom he delights to serve. With that possession his happiness is complete.

Human friends may prove deceitful, false and treacherous, but the dog's friendship is unfailing and enduring. It is proof against all temptations. If every other friend in the world turns traitor to a man, his dog will stand by him and refuse to “turn him down." When dire misfortune overtakes the master, his dog is the one true friend who does not desert him in his extremity, but clings the closer to him. And at the end, that last sad scene that comes to all —friends, home and family gone—the loving and devoted companion of poverty, want and rags, the ever-faithful and loving dog, follows his master's lifeless body to an unmarked grave, and there, prone upon a cold damp mound of clay, he lays his head between his paws and mourns a requiem until he dies of grief.

The dog's sincere love, unswerving devotion and rare fidelity have shone in song and story since the dawn of civilization. There can be no reasonable doubt that we share a common nature and a common fate with our mute fellow-creatures around us, which we are pleased to call “lower animals," and it may be that our poor dumb relations share a common destiny with us.

The Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, who for nearly half a century represented the heart and brains of the Christian clergy of America, in the course of an eloquent sermon on “Men and Other Animals," declared: "Why, if horses and dogs have not souls to be saved, what in Heaven's name will become of their masters? For fidelity and devotion, for love and loyalty, many a two-legged animal is far below the dog and the horse. Happy would it be for thousands of people if they could stand at last before the Judgment seat of Christ and truthfully say, 'I have loved as truly, l have lived as decently as my dog.' And yet we speak of the dog as being ‘only a brute.’"

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