Over on The Dish, Andrew Sullivan has had a huge (even by his standards) response to this post about the dying days of beloved dogs, the moral and emotional challenges they can pose. I'm no dog lover (in a general sense), but I know how strong the bond between human and dog can be, that it's not merely fanciful to call it Love, and that the grief of a dog's death can be very real and intense. And it is largely unrecognised as a serious phenomenon - after all, a dog is 'only a dog', to grieve for one is on the face of it absurd, and it's a subject that's hard to talk about without lapsing into sentimentality or being thought a bit mad. Hence, perhaps, the huge response to Sullivan's honest and open piece - there's a deep well of repressed grief out there.
Probably the best thing written on the subject is Mark Doty's Dog Years - a book to make a dog lover of anyone - which I read recently and was utterly beguiled by the two dogs and genuinely moved by their dying. Doty would surely agree with Sullivan that 'dogs know how to live better than we do. Why would they not know better how to die?'