Friday, October 3, 2008

Just Gravy

All these funerals and obits and nothing has made me cry until I read the blog this morning of Grendel, the Misanthropic Dog.

I got to know Grendel because he is the friend of various Episcopal bloggers and Episcopal dogs and cats, including +Clumber, canine bishop of Pittsburgh.

Grendel is a sweet little guy whose profile reads in its entirety, "Hi, I'm Grendel. I like Gravy." He didn't blog very much but he had a very distinct and tail-waggy style, even in hard times, such as when his cat companion did not come home from the vet.

He also provided a great example of prayer and Christian charity: "Please, God, smile on Mr. Underwear and his Family and the Woman named Martha and all the people who are Under the Passes to keep them Safe and Warm and with Love. Bless him for the Hard Work that he Does, and make me grateful for all the Gravy and Warmth and Love I have. Amen."

He was also very food-focused, which is a good thing in a dog. In this post, he provides a Public Service: "I like Chinese food very much. (In China, they just call it Food.) Natalia didn't know that It Is Okay to give dogs Treats from Plates. I informed her. Now she is More Aware. I feel this is a Good Public Service."

And then all of a sudden, reading one of the other blogs today, I learned that Grendel had died. I went to his blog and it appears it was very, very sudden; the limp that was thought to be arthritis was instead a tumor on the spine. And that was that.

Hearing about Grendel's death made me cry harder than anything has in a long time. I'm not alone. The Mad Priest felt the same, and Father Christian Troll actually admitted he didn't know everything because of Grendel. As crazy as it is, this little dog, whose guardians channeled his personality through a blog, touched a whole lot of people. That's not a bad thing for a little dog.

Here's hoping that we can each touch others to a small degree, that we can do as much simple good as Grendel, and that we can live and die with as much dignity, silliness, and joy.

And give the special dog in your life some Gravy today.

1 comment:

qoe said...

Or cat. Cats like gravy, too. Just so you are More Informed in a Petdom kind of way. My going on 23 year old cat enjoys it Quite A Lot.

Yes, I read in our local paper about the Coast Guard hero Hawk, a beautiful Lab. Hawk was being, at age 6, awarded a citation for outstanding achievement in his work. Among other things, Hawk provided relief and comfort to workers during the aftermath of Hurricane's Katrina and Rita. Hawk was trained at sniffing out bombs and drugs and that sort of thing, which he did Extremely Well, but it was his relationships with people that he proved to be a Hero of the Highest Order.

Hawk was being retired from duty and his people, particularly his Boatswain handler, were throwing a party for him. Hawk had developed an inoperable brain tumor, and he was to be euthanized the next day, as his quality of life was beginning to deteriorate.

In these days of railing about one group of people over another group of people, of singling out a person for scrutiny and criticism, it is such a startling contrast to see a group of Serious Professional Adults stand together to express grief over a service dog. Reading this story, I cried.

We get so much from the animals in our lives, whether they are our pets, service animals, the errant squirrel flitting across the street and up a tree. We get more from the animal (and plant) kingdom(s) than we can ever truly acknowledge or appreciate. Oft the question through time: do animals have souls? Well, of course they do, for heaven's sake.

The people who knew Hawk know that instinctively. Just as the people who Grendel touched (in person or over the cybersphere) know.

On this weekend when we celebrate the life of St. Francis, let us remember our dear pets, and all animals (and plant life, too). They sustain is in more ways than we can ever count or repay.

V'imeru (and let us say), AMEN.