27 Aug 2015

The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog
Rudyard Kipling

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.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--
But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long--
So why in--Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear? 

Flemington Tan, 7 Nov 2000 - 26 Aug 2015


  1. Luke Tan9:00 am

    Flemington gone? So sad...RIP Flemington

  2. So sorry Arthur to hear the news in prose, but again surprised to find another hidden talent in you. In your narrations, Flemington has related like a member of the family, and this has made the separation that more painful. He has lived to a ripe old age - 14 x 7 =98 years?

    1. He was indeed a member of the family. That poem by Kipling I find to be most apt.

  3. Share the sadness with you, if I read you correctly. After losing three cats to passing traffic we could not bear the pain anymore, so decided not to have another. KM

    1. Thanks, KM.

      Yes, I think it'll be hard to have another dog. Even watching them grow old is painful.

  4. Oh dear! So sad to hear the news. True to Kipling's words in his lovely poem, like a cousin of mine, when his dog passed on, he cried like a baby...though he was a grown man by then.

    1. So did we. Dogs are such wonderful creatures. Watch this Japanese movie of the famous true story of Hachiko: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tY7eEIvip5s

  5. I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your dog. I cried, even though I've not met him before. As Ton Ton approaches his 10th birthday, I know that we may not have that many years left together. I love him with my heart & soul that I don't think any other dog will ever take his place in my heart. For all the dogs living in shelters or horrible households, know that Flem led a good & fulfilling life with you. Even though it's of little comfort, he left this world well loved & that is all that's important to him.

    1. Thank you very much for caring. Your words are much appreciated.

  6. Hi Arthur,
    So sorry to hear Flem has left. He was such a smart n sometimes crafty character. I know you n Cheryl will miss him terribly . Take solace that he had been loved and had a good life. Living on this earth we all have to go through the stages of life and we all must depart, sooner or later. He has done his journey here n moved on, so remember the joys we all had with him and move on too.

    1. Thank you Poochin. Yes he was very intelligent and such a source of joy for us and will be sadly missed.