A dog's life
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
August 28, 2021
Many people realized during the long year of COVID isolation in 2020, that pets are a great source of love and contentment in our lives.
After a few months home, singles and families flocked in search of fur companions. And those who already had a pet, held them all the more dear. For whether one has a dog, cat, bunny or hamster (birds, turtles and snakes count, too, but are not nearly as cuddly), lending a long suffering ear while listening to your woes and a snuggle soft body to warm a cold bed are priceless gifts.
Dogs helped their humans get out of the house and walk in the fresh air while isolation prevailed, and though many people turned to extreme exercise regimes or baking copious amounts of bread, any activity is much more fun even if the only acknowledgement in the room is a sigh and lazy nod of a dog’s head or a strongly disapproving cat stare. Humans need companionship.
I live where pet fees are expensive. So instead of getting a dog or cat or even a bird, I gathered all the stuffed animals family and friends have bestowed on me through the years and arranged them in a set of stackable plant containers in the corner of my living room. I called it my “fur tree.” I won’t admit to speaking to them aloud at certain emotional times (end of a good movie, a great hit in a ballgame) but I do admit to this: I thought of my last companion dog fondly and have missed him so much more everyday. He knew me. He got me. He helped me. He snuggled good and left me with a gaping hole in my heart when he left me.
So, it isn’t surprising when Susie Basanda’s book “Lifetimes Together” found its way out of a large stack of books waiting for my time. I was drawn to the story of how she, with intuitive gifts and a heart’s desire, has met and lived again and again with her beloved dogs, in a succession of new and old life experiences.
Susie loves dachshunds. As she traveled back and forth in her life, from big cities to small, her dogs were her constant companions that brought extreme joy to her life and the lives of the people around her. Reading her story “Lifetimes Together” gives you the details. Whether you believe in reincarnation or continuation of life after death, Basanda writes a convincing and compassionate case. Her dogs have followed her in different bodies, but same spirit for decades. She hears them and they teach her life’s truths along the way. A dog whisperer? Cats, too? Other animals? She is connected to the animal world in a way that many of us wish we were. Most days I yearn for my dog companion, COVID isolation or not, and would love to see him again or know he is nearby.
Which leads me to Jimmy Stewart. Yes, that Jimmy Stewart . As well as being a globally known actor, he was and is to some still known as a poet, as well. In his book “Jimmy Stewart and His Poems,” published by Crown, you will find his poem “I’ll Never Forget a Dog Named Beau.”
Many years ago, on Johnny Carson’s show, Stewart read this poem. And in a laughing to weeping audience, he even brought Johnny Carson to tears. Because Stewart loved his dog Beau with all his heart. And after Beau passed, he wrote a poem that memorialized their bond.
Here is a little taste of the poem, “I’ll Never Forget a Dog Named Beau:”
“He never came to me when I called
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or if he felt like it,
But mostly he didn’t come at all.
When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way ...
And there are nights when I think I feel that stare And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he’s not there.
Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,
I’ll always love a dog named Beau.”
The whole poem can be found in his book, as well as online. I like reading it in my head with Jimmy Stewart’s voice. But you can also go on YouTube and watch the Carson segment and hear for yourself that gravelly halting voice once again. Priceless.
COVID isolation may have helped us focus more on home and family and beloved pets, remembering that they are all precious gifts in life. May you hug your fur friends close and they hug back. And if they have passed, may they pass through your lives again. For what matters is not the busyness we fill everyday with, but the ones who live deeply in our hearts everyday and forever after.
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.