Something I read today reminded me of how I enjoy the poetry of Ogden Nash (1902-1971). I browsed a bit until I found a site which had 119 of his poems available. Being the owner of two dogs, this one particularly had me in stitches.
Two Dogs Have I
By Ogden Nash
For years we’ve had a little dog,
Last year we acquired a big dog;
He wasn’t big when we got him,
He was littler than the dog we had.
We thought our little dog would love him,
Would help him to become a trig dog,
But the new little dog got bigger,
And the old little dog got mad.
Now the big dog loves the little dog,
But the little dog hates the big dog,
The little dog is eleven years old,
And the big dog only one;
The little dog calls him Schweinhund,
The little dog calls him Pig-dog,
She grumbles broken curses
As she dreams in the August sun.
The big dog’s teeth are terrible,
But he wouldn’t bite the little dog;
The little dog wants to grind his bones,
But the little dog has no teeth;
The big dog is acrobatic,
The little dog is a brittle dog;
She leaps to grip his jugular,
And passes underneath.
The big dog clings to the little dog
Like glue and cement and mortar;
The little dog is his own true love;
But the big dog is to her
Like a scarlet rag to a Longhorn,
Or a suitcase to a porter;
The day he sat on the hornet
I distinctly heard her purr.
Well, how can you blame the little dog,
Who was once the household darling?
He romps like a young Adonis,
She droops like an old mustache;
No wonder she steals his corner,
No wonder she comes out snarling,
No wonder she calls him Cochon
And even Espèce de vache.*
Yet once I wanted a sandwich,
Either caviar or cucumber,
When the sun had not yet risen
And the moon had not yet sank;
As I tiptoed through the hallway
The big dog lay in slumber,
And the little dog slept by the big dog,
And her head was on his flank.
* I had to look these up! Cochon is French for “pig” and Espèce de vache is French for “cow”.
Our dogs get along much better than his little dog did with the newcomer, but Sarah has her limits with Emma. Sarah’s happy to curl up by herself, but Emma wants to be right there with her. Sometimes Sarah puts up with this, but other times, she skulks away and turns hermit. Emma has a wonderful playmate in my mother-in-law’s little beagle/dachshund mix, Hannah. They play roughly and loudly, running and tumbling, and locking their jaws on rope toys in tug-o-war. Since Emma is about 3 times the height of Hannah, their tug-o-war matches are really funny to watch; Hannah hunkers down on those stubby legs of hers, while Emma’s long legs splay out so she can be down at Hannah’s level.
Sarah wants no part of this mayhem at all. She’s agitated by the behavior of these young upstarts, casting worried glances toward them and curling her lip if they come too close. Mostly, she just retreats up on Nancy’s lap or escapes completely by heading back upstairs to Howie’s and my living quarters. But what do we expect? She’s earned every one of those gray hairs on her face and deserves some peace and quiet.
At the end of the day, she and Emma still curl up together in their crate and sleep. Emma probably dreaming of room to run and stretch her legs, while Sarah dreams of a sunny spot on the green grass where she can sit and contemplate life as she knows it. I’ve never seen a dog who seems to take so much into account.