in Memoriam: Winky Cosmos (June 2005)
It's difficult to describe the bonds between dog and human, or any pet and human, for they form in a peculiar space not entirely accessible to either human or animal. Each pet has a personality, just as distinct and unique as that of any human; and yet the very traits which make dogs endearing--so stalwartly affectionate, so ceaselessly glad to see you--are precisely what sets them apart from humans, who never cease to disappoint us.
A wonderful dog of my acquaintance died suddenly last week, and I want to honor his passing. Winky came to my good friends Steve and Clara Toma of Kalopa at a most propitious time eight years ago, when cancer had severely dampened their spirits. Winky was not a young dog even at that time, and so it was a given that his time on the planet would be even more limited than our own.
Yet in those eight years, he enriched their lives quite unlike any other being. His three feet (or perhaps more) vertical leaps, his boundless enthusiasm for walks, his clever tricks (rolling over and then back on even my minimal hand signals), his unwavering laser-beam-like focus on the can of treats placed out of his line of sight on the refrigerator, his rascal's visits to a neighboring "girlfriend"--all of these made him a companion for all times and all moods.
On occasion someone gets close to describing the true value of a pet, and perhaps especially that most symbiotic of human pets, our dogs; here is Tom Stienstra's heartfelt ode to his dog Rebel. (Stienstra is the Outdoors writer for the S.F. Chronicle.)
Although his fame rests on his plays, Eugene O'Neill wrote a poem to his longtime companion dog Blemie which expressed the tenderness and longing that he so obviously had difficulty feeling for his own children. It can be viewed at his home in the San Ramon Valley (just east of the S. F. Bay Area), Tao House, which is a National Park Service site.
Winky, you'll long be missed.
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copyright © 2005 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.
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