Neil Gaiman is a brilliant writer whose work has moved me in many ways for many years.
In this piece, Gaiman writes about the death of Cabal, his first dog ever. In reading his stunned grieving account, I recognize all too sadly those feelings that go with the first dog’s death.
I am many deaths from that sad initiation into losing a dog, but having also just lost my dog Ruby while I was not home, this hit me hard. Hawks Hunt’s Ruby Slippers left us while I was in Indiana, teaching at Wolf Park. An early morning phone call let me know she was crashing, that John was on his way to the vet. And then just a few minutes later, the next call to say she was gone. Nearly 13 years old, my princess without a crown was gone and there was nothing I could do.
Gaiman quotes the famous Power of A Dog by Rudyard Kipling, who was a true dog man. Only a true dog lover could have penned these words:
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
For all the recently departed remembered always with great love: Ruby, Crow, Baby, Timber, Sissy, Barry, Ruedi. We would gladly give your our hearts to tear again. Thank you for being.