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by Mike Gaddis | Sep 30, 2020 | GUNDOGS, HUNTING
Dog Eyes: Windows to the Soul

Gaze into the eyes of a dog. When they are deep and clear, when they pulse for the hunt like bellowed coals and the reflections in them flash like lightning with the restless lights of life on fire.
And where do you find tranquility? A restoration of spirit, a calming of your soul? In a place so quietly unobtrusive, yet so deeply profound you will never find it so perfectly any other place on Earth? A reprieve of being that is so unwavering, so wholly completing, so expressively consoling, so utterly enthralling, so honestly and consummately emotional it finds no parallel in our universe. Loyalty that is devoid of betrayal, trust that is evergreen. An absolution of faults, a mirror of empathy when the world elsewhere seems not to care, an ever-present invitation of true friendship, a bottomless wellspring of adoration and devotion. The essence of sincerity. The purest of love. Each time, every time, the platinum-clad promise of always.

We search within ourselves, within others, the world over. Oftentimes hopelessly, and even when sometimes we think we have found it, are fraught sooner or later with disappointment, never to find something that will faithfully last.
While constantly, only are we to remember, it bides by our side.

Gaze into the eyes of a dog.

How do you rekindle the white-hot flames of your spirit, when like ashes, they have grown cool; how do you rediscover the very tap roots of gladness and joy? How do you find inspiration again, that grows lush as green clover under the caress of spring? How do you make tomorrow as new again as once it was yesterday?

Gaze into the eyes of a dog. One you can hold in your palm, a plump little butterball that gazes back at you demurely with ever-so-submissive baby blues, that gingerly ventures to beg your favor by licking you in the nose, and anoints you with the singular, sweet distillate of puppy breath. That gambols through the house on careening little feet that thump across the floor like hoof clatter, that bounces off the walls, then whirls and spins like a wind-up toy. That wanders through the yard with an insatiable wonder so infectious it becomes your own. That whimpers and twitches on your lap in dreams of contentment, in the cradle of your care. That follows on little, bouncing feet wherever you may go. That growls and grabs at your pant cuffs until you acknowledge he’s along. That cries with your absence, and leaps joyously at your return.

One that a year later stands on tiptoes, lithe and lean, high and clean, incensed with the lust for life. For a completion of destiny he asks that you join, that, please, not be denied. One in which the flames of desire blaze like wildfires, in which ambition rages as wind-tossed seas. One that bestows thrills like Christmas wishes, and paints in animated beauty a poetic signature against the canvas of the horizon. That lives for discovery, that ever smolders for the next moment of adventure as if it were the last. One that dares you, now, to do the same.

Would you know a season of life that can only be heaven-sent, a window of perfection through which you can see the elements of a faultless world, scattered like so many golden coins about your feet?

Gaze into the eyes of a dog. When they are deep and clear, when they pulse for the hunt like bellowed coals, and the reflections in them flash like lightning with the restless lights of life on fire. When you are entranced by the simple flawless wonder of him, when every hair is perfect and glistening, every muscle is sculpted as if cut from stone, and the tariffs of time are — for a magnificent, golden while — locked at bay.

When he is in the prime of his years and powers, iron hard, blade keen and leather tough. When his strength is without waver, his heart is bottomless and his spirit knows no quit. When his courage is reckless, and his resolve is beyond measure. When his unquenchable desire has been honed brilliantly to savvy and industry, and his every effort is perfect to purpose. When he paints artistry into his every motion, lifts your heart to your throat with his scintillating style, stretches the limits of your mind with feats untold. When he can carry you to heights you’ve never been, excite you to extremes unknown. When you will learn more from him now than ever he learned from you.

When he can make you wish that each day, every day, would never end, that together you could keep and hold them, as now, evermore. When he is so incredibly inspiring, his season is so seamless, the whole of your world is vibrant as well.

Would you know as nowhere other the bittersweet, molten mingle of amity and melancholy?

Gaze into the eyes of a dog. When he has reached the autumn of his years. When the toll of time and the river begins to appear like hoar frost on his muzzle, and you fight to push aside the onrushing suggestion of winter.

When together you have known the best seasons of your lives. When you have known matchless adventure, conquered all obstacles to triumph and shared the hot blood of conquest. When you have followed him handsome and bold, fleet and strong, across incomparable fields of beauty. When you have known rain, wind, sleet and snow, and bested their worst. When on many an evening now you rest together hearthside, heavy with fatigue and warmed by the glow of a day’s sweet memory, wrapped snugly within a golden history, beneath a blanket of mutual devotion. Even as shadows on the wall flicker like shivers of apprehension, whispering “the years pass too swiftly.”

While, pray God, there remains the time to savor together another few Octobers, other Novembers.

Gaze into his eyes now, and every time you do, they will speak to you from their soul, and with telepathic acuity — without question or contention — read the message from your own. In a way no one else ever will. For they know you now as nothing or no one else ever will.

Silently, they speak, but the words resound as thunder:
“I want only to abide with you, go with you, do tomorrow what we have done yesterday, the rest of my days. I will be here for you, never leave your side. Come what may. My heart is as your heart. They beat in the same rhythm. They sing the same song.”

Would you know a sadness more crippling than you have ever known? Would you know pain that is the most merciless you will ever feel, anguish that can never be mended? A visage that will haunt your being for the rest of your years?
Gaze into the eyes of a dog. When her face and muzzle are as snow, and it is not from the sky. When she is tottery, wasted, withered and worn. When she is approaching blindness and can no longer hear. When you look at her now, helpless, and your heart aches as never before. When you remember all the beautiful days of your years together, the happy little traits that endeared her alone, a time when she was young and sinuous, fleet and strong.

When still she pleads through the growing cataracts of time, wanting to go with you in spirit, but unable in flesh and bone. When you wish with all your being you could give back her years, but cannot.

When finally, your short, glorious days together are crashing to their end. While there burns faithfully yet the trust that has resided there all the years, expecting as always you will be there for her. To make things young again. When in her last days she pitifully moans and wails day and night, and it tears your heart out, and you wish desperately you could fully interpret and console the message of her lament. When at last you see the hurting there, and she asks for your help, and there is only the one horrible thing you have left to give.

Would you know the deepest meaning of life and living, the cruelest pangs of loss and parting?

Gaze deeply into the eyes of your dog.

When your tears spill as shamelessly as falling rain, as she looks at you — as only she can through the final misty moments of her life, a life, however humanely, you are being terribly coerced to end. A life as no other, that will never be again. As the light wanes, and, irretrievably, she is forever gone.

It is as close as you will ever come.
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