Brine is a mixture of salt and various flavoring agents. It is used for tenderizing,  aging and mellowing, similar to the way salty tears work on a person’s heart. Without tears shed over the course of a lifetime, a person my age would have an obdurate rock in place of a tender heart.

I am well-seasoned, tender, and aged, full of the blessings of being loved by our wonderful dogs, each unique, each held in our memories: Southern Comfort’s Lady Maggie, Westmark’s No-Cut Contract, and Amanda Blackvelvet.

I am ready to accept and honor Maggie’s many loving lessons that have made me a better person, and walk in the sunshine once again. I’ve said many times that the only thing higher than the price of loving is the price of not loving.

Maggie with her ribbons auditions for adoption with us in 2003. She joined our family in May that year, when she retired from the Field Trial life in Alabama (where this photograph was made).
Maggie in her prime, in the black pick-up truck, waiting for Buck.

Southern Comfort’s Lady Maggie

August 3, 1999 – November 22, 2011

Epitaph to a Dog 

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18, 1808.

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown by Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one – and here he lies. — Lord Byron

5 thoughts on “Brine

  1. How glad Maggie was to findherself given the responsibility and honour of caring for you two. It is such a wonder tha our dog companions pass this skill on to us without fear or favour just unconditional infinite love. A dog is always a question answered and the answer is always love. May that waggy tail still be heard when you close your eyes and that delighted grin impell you forward when you doubt your next move.
    Gentle walks and journeying for you and Buck


  2. The only dog-wisdom I have is this, embroidered on a pillow in the vet’s office:
    Dear God, please let me be the person my dog thinks I am.

    I believe that you and Buck honored your Maggie by being every bit the people she thought you were.

    Hearts heal in their own time. Brine is good. Tears are good. Writing is very very good.

    Holding you in my heart.


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