The poet Rainer Maria Rilke said he would not get a dog because it would interfere with his work. “You start by giving him a piece of a biscuit and you end by giving him all of your heart.” Rilke was right. You do end by giving him all of your heart. Rilke was wrong. No way it interferes with anything. These marvelous creatures spurt love continually as though from a powerful hose.

When my little black pug Pugh died seven years ago, I wrote some short children’s pieces about him that made the feeling of his absence drop away for a while. Just a respite, though; the pain kept returning. Part of me had gone too. One Sunday in late  December I went to a Buddhist Church service. I had passed the church on Riverside Drive many times before, but this day I went in. At the end of the service they asked newcomers to tell how they happened to come. I stood up and said that my dog died a few weeks ago and I was having a very difficult time coping with his death. And that I had come to this beautiful sanctuary seeking solace.   The smoke drifting up from the cauldron made me think of him and of the shortness and on-goingness of life. He seemed to me so very present in the upward drift of the curling smoke. Or in the park, it was him there in the twig lying on the frozen strand of earth and the green tennis ball that slowly came to rest against it.

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul.


About judyjablow123

In my youth I was a world class tournament golfer. I earned an MA in history at NYU, after which I knew I had had enough of academia. I have remained a student of history. I have a strongly personal - almost entirely negative- take on the contemporary pharmaceutical and mental health industries. That was the impetus for my Bluepolar blog, which will also include stuff on sports, history and anything else that strikes my interest.
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