Happy Dog Day

It seems every day of the year is "National Something or Other Day."

While most of those made-up holidays and commemorations are allowed to go unnoticed and unheralded, we are making an exception in this case because the subject being honored is most worthy of having a special day.

Today, Aug. 26, is National Dog Day. It coincidentally falls in the "dog days of summer," but the date was selected because it was the day the event's founder got her first dog.

While we could certainly "wax poetic" on the admirable qualities of man's best friend, we'll look at the poetic words written about the death of a real poet's beloved dog -- Lord Byron's 5-year-old Newfoundland, Boatswain (pronounced BO-sun). The big dog died of rabies in 1808.

The preface to Byron's "Epitaph to a Dog" reads:

"Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices.
"This praise, which would be unmeaning flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the memory of Boatswain, a dog ..."

Byron closes his poem with these poignant words:

"To mark a friend's remains these stones arise. I never knew but one -- and here he lies."

Sorry if we made you cry. Dogs evoke a lot of emotions.

Happy Dog Day.

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