07 July 2010

Rethinking Puppy Love

The same week Dog House, Carol Prisant's charming tale of "One Love, Ten Dogs, and a Forty-Two-Year Marriage" landed on my reading table, the article "What pets can teach us about marriage" arrived in my inbox courtesy of Mr. EEE. Clearly forces greater than I - forces that maybe had overheard me telling friends that I needed to get home to my little furry guys, and, oh yeah, my husband - were at work.

As the article pointed out, I am indeed more likely to forgive Gus in a heartbeat when he breaks heirloom porcelain boxes or Stubby when he shreds the velvet sofa, than a human - or, more specifically, the one I've pledged to honor in sickness and in health until death. This illuminating insight reminded me of how it's all too easy to take our most beloved for granted.

Ms. Prisant's book which examines love and loss with humor, tenderness and a disarming candor reinforced this a thousand fold. While Jack Russells, lurchers, and greyhounds come, go, and stay, Dog House is the story of how she and her husband Millard pursued their life together full of dogs (naturally), restoring old houses, nurturing rose bushes, and ultimately how they faced her husband's cancer to which he succumbed in 2000. Prisant bravely lets us in to her grief and gradual healing, an inspiring reminder of how resilient the human spirit is.

The author and her two dogs

If "'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all" as Tennyson wrote, than it is also better to appreciate and delight in love's presence as much as one will lament its absence. Prisant's Dog House glows with warmth, laughter and sweetness - which is exactly how every home - dog, cat, or bird - should be.

Top photo: Mona Williams with her terrier, captured by Cecil Beaton


little augury said...

It is so true, one can forgive a dog anything- anything. Dogs can only enrich a home (even without a hubby) This image is so reminiscent of Nora Charles and Asta, even better that it is Mona and her little one. So look forward to meeting you next week! Gaye

Square with Flair said...

I'm so glad you mentioned birds as well. Our parrot is as smart and amusing as any dog, and is a constant, affectionate companion. An appreciation of animals and pets makes us more sensitive to the issues facing the environment and extinction of species nowadays. Great post!

Christa Pirl said...

Great article...its so true and good food for thought, although its definately hard to be as nice to the hubby as the puppy!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I simply cannot imagine life without dogs.
The book sounds delightful.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I simply cannot imagine life without dogs.
The book sounds delightful.

Janet said...

I think I need to give a copy to my condo board (ahem). Someone is leaving behind his pooch to be with me, and it breaks my heart.

On a separate note, AD and I enjoyed a bottle of Albemarle rosé on the roof last night, dishing about the mysteries of life. Wish you could ahve been there. xo

Dovecote Decor said...

We have to forgive our dogs...we train or do not train them. They remind us everyday of unconditional love and devotion. They instruct us in how to live in the present, and help us forgive ourselves for distraction, as they are all ADD!