On Dogs

Yes it’s oft quoted but I think still delightful, from Beston and his “The Outermost House.” It’s for Rina, whom I’m glad to hear is doing well:

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the Earth.

It reminds me of McCarthy’s style.

1 thought on “On Dogs

  1. rsj


    God summoned a beast from the fields and He said, “Behold people created in my image. Therefore, adore them. You shall protect them in the wilderness, shepherd their flocks, watch over their children, accompany them wherever they may go–even into civilization. You shall be a companion, an ally, a slave.

    “To do these things,” God said, “I endow you with instincts uncommon to other beasts: faithfulness, devotion and understanding surpassing that of people. Lest it impair your courage, you shall never foresee your death. Lest it impair your loyalty, you shall be blind to the faults of people. Lest it impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words. Let no fault of language cleave an accord beyond that of people with any other beast–or even people with other people.

    “Walk by their sides; sleep in their doorways; forage for them; ward off their enemies; carry their burdens; share their afflictions; love them and comfort them. And in return for this, people will fulfill your needs and wants–which shall be food, shelter and affection.

    “So be silent, and be a friend to people. Guide them along the way to this land that I have promised them. This shall be your destiny and your immortality.” So spoke the Lord.

    And the dog heard and was content.

    Author Unknown.

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