Sleeping Dogs!

I recall fondly the encouragement I was given by a parishioner when I shared with her the desire of one of my sons to have a dog. Perhaps I was foolish to mention this to her, knowing her love of dogs and of how she had several round her at all times. Her comments were brief and simply put and I paraphrase “Of course you should have a dog. How else can you talk about the unending and never failing love of God without knowing the never ending and unfailing love of a dog?” Soon thereafter we did indeed welcome to our home a cocker spaniel who gave us unfailing and unending love for some 14 years!

The poet, Scott Cairns, writes about sleeping dogs. What is it they are thinking when they are sleeping? My guess is that all you dog owners would ask the same question and it would be wonderful to know your thoughts about the thoughts of your sleeping dog. For now I shall just let Scott tell you what he imagines. Remember let sleeping dogs lie!

Sleeping Dogs
I cannot help but wonder what they’re thinking as
they sleep. Is that a smile? They often seem to smile
in their sleep. I think that I have loved every dog
I have ever met, even Dana, the Great Dane of my beloved
cousins, who once and uncharacteristically
bit my face as I leaned in to kiss her head when
I was six years old. I do forgive her, of course,
and am pleased to remember how, thereafter, she
covered my face with kisses every time we met.
Forgiveness all around.
But back to sleeping dogs.
I wonder what they’re thinking- when they smile, or when
they whimper, or when they for all appearances,
must imagine that they run.
In my own dreams, I
have met again my several beloved dogs, have run
with them, embraced them, nuzzled their soft
and sharply wax-scented ears. I suppose that if
anyone were to watch me sleep, she would see me
smiling, running, nuzzling the pillow like a dog. Scott Cairns, Anaphora New Poems

And just for good measure I share another poem by Cairns
of his love of dogs

My Dog and My God
My dog Sophia sits this evening watching me,
attending to my every move.  I don’t move much.
She has been fed, and walked, and run, and now we sit,
amid my study’s clutter, within a sudden
stillness that obtains for us a momentary
meeting of the minds, quite like a conversation.

I love my dog, have loved my every dog, each being
his or her own, particular joy, and each,
by proving thus particular, becoming thus
beloved, has offered me a glimpse of how the God
may have deemed me loveable, if very often
disobedient, and very often reeking
of the death in which I’ve been inclined to roll

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life –
(Prayer of St. Francis- patron saint of animals and the envirnoment. The origin of this prayer is not known for certain, perhaps only dates back to 1912. Please use the link for more useful information of this association with
St Francis.

One thought on “Sleeping Dogs!

  1. Since our extremely exuberant and happy dog sleeps only at night, I imagine he thinks something like, “I’d better get a good night’s sleep so that tomorrow I won’t miss a dropped crumb, an opportunity to make someone laugh, a good round of fetch, a ride in the country, lots of belly rubs, chasing and being chased, barking at squirrels, staring at my parents and watching their every move”!

    I’ve always thought that the expression regarding sleeping dogs is wise advice in many areas of our lives and once read that it originally came from a Chaucer poem. I don’t know whether or not that is accurate but if so, it demonstrates that people have wondered about their dogs thoughts for a very long time throughout history!

    The prayer of St. Francis is one of great hope and I’ve always loved it.


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