Field and Stream

“And I Do Not Walk Alone”

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I’ve sat alone in a sad house and cursed my fortune while the dog curled at my feet had a faith in tomorrow I could not find. I’ve seen dogs break ice to retrieve a duck, stand on point with a thorn in a pad, go down a 70 percent grade to corral a sheep, chase a car cross-town to be part of a family outing, sniff out a warehouse while a policeman crouched outside with drawn pistol, lick a sick man’s feet, kiss a crying child’s cheek, stare beseeching­ly at a mother’s worried face, raise an arm of a dead-tired man who’d worked too hard to make ends meet. I’ve seen men bury their dogs and not be able to stand up to leave the grave. And I’ve seldom known a man to mention a dog’s parting. —Bill Tarrant, February 1974

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