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They Called Him Rags

Home - by - February 16, 2013 - 00:45 America/New_York - 24 Comments


by Edmund Vance Cooke


They called him Rags, he was just a cur
But twice on the Western Line,
That little old bunch of faithful fur
Had offered his life for mine.
And all he got was bones and bread
And the leaving of soldiers’ grub,
But he’d give his heart for a pat on the head,
A friendly tickle or rub.
And Rags got home with the regiment,
And then, in the breaking away–,
Well, whether they stole him, or whether he went,
I am not prepared to say.
But we mustered out, some to beer and gruel,
And some to sherry and shad,
And I went back to the Sawbones School,
Where I was an undergrad.
One day they took us budding M.D.’s
To one of those institutes
Where they demonstrate every new disease
By means of bisected brutes.
They had one animal tacked and tied
And slit like a full-dressed fish,
With his vitals pumping away inside
As pleasant as one might wish.
I stopped to look like the rest, of course,
And the beast’s eyes leveled mine;
His short tail thumped with a feeble force,
And he uttered a tender whine.
It was Rags, yes, Rags! who was martyred there,
Who was quartered and crucified,
And he whined that whine which is doggish prayer
And he licked my hand–and died.
And I was no better in part nor whole
Than the gang I was found among,
And his innocent blood was on the soul
Which he blessed with his dying tongue.
Well! I’ve seen men go to courageous death
In the air, on sea, on land!
But only a dog would spend his breath
In a kiss for his murderer’s hand.
And if there’s no heaven for love like that,
For such four-legged fealtly–well!
If I have any choice, I tell you flat,
I’ll take my chance in hell.
via- lady in red

» 24 Comments

  1. Snowball the Sourpuss

    February 16th, 2013

    That touched my soul.

    Thumb up +6

     
  2. Boobie the Rocket Dog

    February 16th, 2013

    Wanna see a grown man cry? Thanks, Fur, L.I.R.

    Thumb up +6

     
  3. Corky

    February 16th, 2013

    I spent an hour Friday evening calming my sobbing mentally disabled son who just found out our neighbor’s Golden has two months to live. Now I read this–guess who is sobbing now?

    Thumb up +8

     
  4. Chinquapin

    February 16th, 2013

    The unwavering, unconditional love of a faithful dog outweighs the heart-wrenching pain of the inevitable loss. Just don’t say that to somebody who just lost one.

    Thumb up +5

     
  5. Chinquapin

    February 16th, 2013

    Is there a way that I can un-read this? Damn.

    Thumb up +9

     
  6. Aidan

    February 16th, 2013

    Jesus.

    Thumb up +4

     
  7. John Cooper

    February 16th, 2013

    What a horrible poem.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +10

     
  8. persecutor

    February 16th, 2013

    Not what I needed at this hour of the morning.

    Thumb up +6

     
  9. Dr. Tar

    February 16th, 2013

    Wait, so the hero dog runs off, is picked up and sold to a medical school so they can do anatomy lessons on it, while its still alive? God that’s horrible.

    I had to reassure myself they don’t do that today and sure enough this guy has been dead for 80 years (1866 – 1932).

    Thumb up +3

     
  10. RosalindJ

    February 16th, 2013

    I love my dog. That’s grotesque.

    Thumb up +3

     
  11. Bayouwulf

    February 16th, 2013

    Now I will start my day with a heavy heart.

    Gonna go kiss my 16 year old Chihuahua mix on her ears while she is sleeping on my bed and thank the Lord that I’ve had her in my life for so long.

    Thumb up +2

     
  12. Claudia

    February 16th, 2013

    I hated that. Too raw for me just after loosing Ivan. Hell, I would have hated it anyway. Damn.

    Thumb up +7

     
  13. B. Hussein Obama

    February 16th, 2013

    Hmmmm. That would have made a tasty treat …

    Thumb up 0

     
  14. Billy Fuster

    February 16th, 2013

    Fact or fiction?

    Thumb up 0

     
  15. bubba

    February 16th, 2013

    bubba did not want to start his day like this. His eyes are leaking.

    Thumb up +4

     
  16. I Luv Bacon

    February 16th, 2013

    Good Gawd, how incredibly dark and gruesome!

    From the horrors or war to medical research.

    Poor doggy.

    He defnitely went to heaven.

    Thumb up +3

     
  17. mickey_moussaoui

    February 16th, 2013

    Dog.

    God’s gift to man.

    Thumb up +4

     
  18. Pearl Clutcher

    February 16th, 2013

    Billy unfortunately this is true it did occur and there was an actual statue reserected to honor the dogs that were treated as we read in the poem. My grandma told me about this probably 20+ years ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brown_Dog_statue,_Battersea,_London.jpg

    Thumb up 0

     
  19. Pearl Clutcher

    February 16th, 2013

    I should have stated I do not know if the actual poem is true but the practice described was.

    Thumb up 0

     
  20. RosalindJ

    February 16th, 2013

    This poem is one of those febrile peeks at horror so popular in the Victorian era to elicit an outrage against a cause.

    And the poem is a grotesquerie (I can’t find a better word) as close as could be had porn, since obvious porn was not permitted.

    The controversy was triggered by allegations that, in February 1903, William Bayliss of the Department of Physiology at University College London had performed an illegal dissection before an audience of 60 medical students on a brown terrier dog – adequately anaesthetized, according to Bayliss and his team; conscious and struggling, according to the Swedish activists. The procedure was condemned as cruel and unlawful by the National Anti-Vivisection Society. Bayliss, whose research on dogs led to the discovery of hormones, was outraged by the assault on his reputation. He sued for libel and won.

    Thumb up 0

     
  21. BigFurHat

    February 16th, 2013

    I just wanted to share one of the lovely e-mails I get from LIR.

    Thumb up +3

     
  22. RosalindJ

    February 16th, 2013

    That explains things. Blech on that one.

    Thumb up +2

     
  23. Claudia

    February 16th, 2013

    Poor Fur. I don’t envy you.

    Thumb up 0

     
  24. Carlos The Jackal

    February 17th, 2013

    About what you’d expect from an abortion fan.

    Thumb up +2