Saturday, 18 September 2021
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10 Canine Quotes for the Dog Days of Summer

A quote attributed to W.H. Auden says: “In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.” As we enter the time of year fancifully referred to as the Dog Days of summer (a reference to Sirius, the dog star), wagging might seem like it requires too much energy, but there’s still plenty we can learn from our dog friends in terms of loyalty, companionship, and forbearance. And if you think you’re hot, try taking a walk in a fur coat sometime!

The following is an assortment of quotes commenting on the very essence of canine-ness, from authors who observed enough animal behavior to draw parallels within our so-called human nature. Never forget: as dependent on us as dogs may be, we need them – along with the blessings and lessons that come with canine stewardship – far more than they could ever need us.

Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love, 1945
“Even if I take him out for three hours every day, and go and chat to him for another hour, that leaves twenty hours for him all alone with nothing to do. Oh, why can’t dogs read?”

John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog, 2005
“Dogs are great. Bad dogs, if you can really call them that, are perhaps the greatest of them all.”

Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog, 2009
“When you have dogs, you witness their uncomplaining acceptance of suffering, their bright desire to make the most of life in spite of the limitations of age and disease, their calm awareness of the approaching end when their final hours come. They accept death with a grace that I hope I will one day be brave enough to muster.”

Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca, 1938
“Why did dogs make one want to cry? There was something so quiet and hopeless about their sympathy. Jasper, knowing something was wrong, as dogs always do. Trunks being packed. Cars being brought to the door. Dogs standing with drooping tails, dejected eyes. Wandering back to their baskets in the hall when the sound of the car dies away.”

U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Military Working Dog Training Handbook, 2012
“Revenge and temper tantrums have absolutely no place in dog training — you must not let training turn into a spectacle of one dumb animal hurting another.”

Ursula K. Le Guin, Changing Planes, 2003
“There are talking dogs all over the place, unbelievably boring they are, on and on and on about sex and shit and smells, and smells and shit and sex, and do you love me, do you love me, do you love me.”

Pablo Neruda, from “A Dog Has Died” in Winter Garden, 1986
“Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.”

Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper, 2003
“Reason number 106 why dogs are smarter than humans,” I say. “Once you leave the litter, you sever contact with your mothers”

Ogden Nash, The Private Dining-room and Other Verses, 1964
“A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.”

Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, 2016
“I believed that Fufi was my dog, but of course that wasn’t true. Fufi was a dog. I was a boy. We got along well. She happened to live in my house. That experience shaped what I’ve felt about relationships for the rest of my life: You do not own the thing that you love. I was lucky to learn that lesson at such a young age. I have so many friends who still, as adults, wrestle with feelings of betrayal. They’ll come to me angry and crying and talking about how they’ve been cheated on and lied to, and I feel for them. I understand what they’re going through. I sit with them and buy them a drink and I say, ‘Friend, let me tell you the story of Fufi.’”


The Bark Box

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