About Walt Whitman & A Dog That Lives Forever

The Big Lug

Sometimes I feel badly for the family dog because I look at him and tell him stories about how things used to be with The Big Lug. It is not entirely fair because when I think about certain memories with him it is hard not to get choked up.

…last night he visited me in my dreams. We were both young. I was a twenty something year old kid at the park and he was about two. And in that dream we did what we can’t do together any more. We ran. He was always just ahead of me, but never so far that he was out of sight. He was headed towards traffic and I was yelling for him to stop, fearful that he would do something stupid and get hit by a car.

And then a few dogs started barking at me and he was at my side, tail pointed, deep bark warning them to stay away. At the same time I yelled at them too- told him not to worry that I would find a way out of it for us. But mostly I was secure in the knowledge that the big lug had my back because he always did. Who listened better to my stories than he did. He never got tired or them or acted judgmental- he just loved me.

Sometimes we would watch Gladiator together and I would tell him about how I could see us going into battle together just like they do in the clip below.

I would look at him and tell him that I expected him to jump through the flames but that he couldn’t leave my side because we had to look out for each other and we couldn’t do that unless he stayed close.

Sometimes he would wag his tail at me or come lay his giant head in my lap and I would get this feeling that there was nothing in the world we couldn’t overcome. And then he’d go climb on the counter and steal the steak I was defrosting or eat my wallet and I’d yell at him.

It was never for long because those dark eyes of his were powerful.

But it is not fair to the new guy who isn’t so new any more and is beloved by my children. It is not to say that I don’t love him too because I do, but it is a different sort of relationship.

How Do Writers Create Real People In their Stories?

I touched upon this here and have been thinking about what “real people” means. When I write fiction I don’t want my characters to be simply good or simply evil. I want them to be like us, human. I want you to read and relate to them. I want you to look at them and wonder how they could be so damn smart and so stupid.

Sometimes heroes fail and sometimes they succeed.

If you’ll indulge me I want to share something else from that post about the Big Lug and I.

My last blog post would be similar to this.

“I have lived, loved and laughed more than I have cried and complained. I have friends that I would die for and who die for me.
I am grateful for those who have walked with me on my journey and hope that they have learned from me as I have learned from them.
There will never be enough time for me to see all that I want to see, do all that I want to do and say all that I want to say.
So these few words shall have to suffice. It has been fun.

Remember the list of things I want to teach my children? Well those words above fit what I want for my kids. Two hundred years from now I want them to be able to say those words and mean them.

Thank You

It might sound silly and or ridiculous to you but the timing here couldn’t be better. I don’t know what made me think about the Big Lug. This post was going to be about technology issues but suddenly I thought about my buddy and I went a different way.

John Keating: We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?  (Dead Poet’s Society)

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14 Comments

  1. Natalie DeYoung March 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Love this! And I’d forgotten about the Dead Poet’s Society. I’ll need to rewatch it soon…

  2. Michael March 8, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Touching tribute Jack. I don’t know what I would do if I lost my current dog Reba. She is the sweetest 85lb lap-dog you’ve ever seen. Here’s to creating that bond with your new guy.

  3. Stacie March 8, 2014 at 4:52 am

    I had never had a dog until 3 years ago (and now I have two). I love my dogs so much, for loving us no matter what. Even if they did chew on furniture and my rug. I am glad the Big Lug lives on forever in your heart!

  4. Tam March 8, 2014 at 4:28 am

    You’ve pretty much summed up that special bond that humans and dogs sometimes share with:

    “Sometimes he would wag his tail at me or come lay his giant head in my lap and I would get this feeling that there was nothing in the world we couldn’t overcome. And then he’d go climb on the counter and steal the steak I was defrosting or eat my wallet and I’d yell at him.”

    It about says it all. 🙂 This is a lovely tribute.

  5. Daniel Nest March 8, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Touching tribute, sir. Sounds like The Big Lug was quite the man’s best friend indeed.

  6. Katherine James March 6, 2014 at 9:03 am

    *fist pumps* Gladiator! …

    Also, I wouldn’t feel to badly for your family dog… I am sure he knows you love him all the same… 🙂

  7. KristyV2 March 6, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Jack,
    Good one…and love the WW’s nickname “The Big Lug.” kv2

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