IN THE EYES
of OLD DOGS
When dogs are young and full of bark and roll, they
believe that someday, somehow, they will grow to be like their keepers.
They think the fur will fall from their hairy limbs and their paws
will sprout fingers. They expect to rise up on their hind legs and
prance about, their heavy tongues suddenly fluent in the clever and
polyphonic chatter of man-speech. Thus the adoration which shines
from their glance is not for you, dear master, but for the image they
hope to inhabit on some bright tomorrow.
Yet when the suns accumulate upon their backs and their coats begin
to fade, when the fleet grace of their loping stride turns cramped
and awkward with age, they at last comprehend the true order of the
world. They no longer believe that they will be transformed. You can
see it in the eyes of old dogs who sit next to men in rockers on the
porches of once-painted clapboard houses. They know that they will
always, always be nothing more than dogs.
And then death comes, and strips them even of this simple faith.
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