Monday, September 7, 2009

The Labor Day Dachshund

labor day wirehair
It's Labor Day, 2009, relax! Today we honor the Working Dachshund. Whether you work hard to keep your yard free of vermin, or to keep your home free from intruders, or just to keep your bowl free of kibble, this is your day to kick back, take it easy, and spend some time with your beloved family.
Specifically, today we celebrate the Dachshund who works hard to do what a Dachshund was originally bred for - to hunt.
Below is prose and poetry demonstrating the tenacity of a Dachshund named 'Verity.' The word verity dates from the 14th century and means 'the quality or state of being true or real, especially a fundamentally and inevitably true value.' What a proud name befitting the best quality of a loyal Dachshund.
This was originally written as a letter to the editor of England's Wire-Haired Dachshund Quarterly Newsletter, circa 1965:

You may have seen in the dog papers that we had lost a Miniature Wirehaired hunting coypu!
[The coypu is a water rodent.]
She was a little hunter from the tip of her nose to the last hair on her tail, but we did sometimes debate should we make her stay in more, because though size meant nothing to her, we worried in case she tackled something which would be too much for her. But hunting was her life, and I said if she could speak she would say "Let me take my chance."
Well, the day came. After going over the evidence, it seems pretty clear she tackled one - or more - coypu. and paid with her life. The following day two of our other girls proudly presented me, one with a coypu as big as a kitten, the other, one as big as little Verity herself...I think Verity must have either tackled a big one, or found a nest and been attacked by the parents.
We both felt very badly about it, but somehow I had the feeling that little Verity would say "It was worth it!"
Thinking about her, these lines started going through my mind, and I jotted them down...a small tribute to a very gallant little lass.

Verity's Creed
by Dorothy Barnish

I am a hunter, let me go free,
The hearthrug is no place for me.
Oh, there's warmth inside, and comfort too,
A ball to chase, a bone to chew, but -
I am a hunter, t'would be death to me.

I am a hunter, let me go free,
In the sun, wind and rain, moving silently,
Learning a message from the breeze, the rustle of grass,
The sigh of the trees as I silently pass,
I am a hunter, this is life to me.

I am a hunter, let me go free,
By hole and burrow waiting patiently,
I track the mole in his underground lair,
I start a rabbit, or maybe a hare,
I am a hunter, this is life to me.

I am a hunter, let me go free,
The Coypu's claws hold not fear for me.
On the mean-faced rat I wait to pounce,
The wicked weasel, the timorous mouse.
I am a hunter, this is life to me.

I am a hunter, let me go free,
Indoors has no joy for me.
I know the flailing wing, the murderous beak
Of the mother wild duck as her brood I seek.
I am a hunter, this is life to me.

I am a hunter, let me go free,
Seek not to hold or restrain me.
I know as my prey I silently track
Death can also stand at my back, but -
I am a hunter, this is life to me.

I am a hunter, let me go free.
What if I hold my life in fee,
Weep not if I fall in my strength and my pride,
The life-draining teeth sunk deep in my side.
Rejoice! I was a hunter, and lived ere I died!

Image source: very early 1900s postcard

2 comments:

inc123 said...

My heart goes out to you on your loss.

I am lucky that Polly is both a huntress and a cuddlebug but all are not. You just make them something they are not and have them happy. Each one has it's own trail.

Kim said...

What a loving tribute to a fallen friend and so accurately describes the need to fulfill ones true destiny!

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