An adolescent Charles Bukowski once baptized a stray dog inside a Catholic church. He sneaked the dog past a priest and sprinkled holy water on its forehead. “He deserves a chance to go to heaven,” said Charles.
In his collection of essays, Frank Conroy writes, “Dog as human observer. I’ve got no problem with that.” He also speculates what the proverb, “Dogs bark, but the caravan rolls on,” possibly Arabian or Proustian in origin, means. Obviously, dogs are stand-ins for humans. According to Conroy, humans love to bark and more humans bark in anger than dogs, (and this was written before social media) but human barkers are soon forgotten and the caravan of life, if a person has one, moves on. My caravan is moving again, thanks to dogs and humans who don’t bark. Aren’t we all tired of barking in our culture?
The television documentary that broke my heart is about American servicemen who trained and handled dogs in the Vietnam War. Once their tour of duty ended, soldiers weren’t allowed to bring their dogs home and had to have them destroyed. Many servicemen were destroyed by this. You can see it on camera when they talk about their dogs and how many lives they saved.