Ogden Nash – On A Good Dog (But Posted For A Cat)

A member of the skeptical community (if there is such a thing is a debate for another time) lost a friend today and even though this poem by Ogden Nash is clearly about a dog… vale Count Linkovich.

On a Good Dog

O, my little pup ten years ago
was arrogant and spry,
Her backbone was a bended bow
for arrows in her eye.
Her step was proud, her bark was loud,
her nose was in the sky,
But she was ten years younger then,
And so, by God, was I.

Small birds on stilts along the beach
rose up with piping cry.
And as they rose beyond her reach
I thought to see her fly.
If natural law refused her wings,
that law she would defy,
for she could do unheard-of things,
and so, at times, could I.

Ten years ago she split the air
to seize what she could spy;
Tonight she bumps against a chair,
betrayed by milky eye!
She seems to pant, Time up, time up!
My little dog must die,
And lie in dust with Hector’s pup;
So, presently, must I.

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • Cuttlefish

    There is a very good chance that this is my favorite poem of all time.

    Not always, but often. Very often. Perhaps the epitome of rhymed tetrameter-trimeter. A simple form, simple rhymes, and I can’t read it without crying.

    Thanks for this (even though it’s not for me, today).

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Well, it won’t be read by some, but I hope the sentiment is shared by many.

      • Cuttlefish

        The vast majority of all writing will not be read by the vast majority of all people.

        Odds are I have missed reading more moving verses than this, perhaps in languages I don’t speak. Sending messages via poems is a bit like sending messages in bottles. You may not reach the intended audience, but the person who finds the bottle may be fortunate indeed.

  • Samantha Vimes, Chalkboard Monitor

    Brings back more memories of a cat I will never forget. I’m sorry for your loss, too.

  • Samantha Vimes, Chalkboard Monitor

    Or rather, your friend’s loss.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      No worries, knew what you meant! Thanks and hope it helps in some way.

  • HP

    For I will consider my cat Jeoffrey” (c. 1799), perhaps my favorite poem by a schizophrenic with religious mania. Excerpt:

    For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
    For he is docile and can learn certain things.
    For he can set up with gravity which is patience upon approbation.
    For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
    For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.
    For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
    For he can jump from an eminence into his master’s bosom.
    For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
    For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
    For the former is afraid of detection.
    For the latter refuses the charge.

    I had a cat I loved very much who could spraggle upon waggle. It is not to be missed.


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