Megan McArdle’s dog, Finnegan, contracted an infection and had to be put to sleep. She posted about it. I thought: soon, some gobshite will show up in the comments, deriding the way she felt at four in the morning the night her dog died. And sure enough. Gotta love the intertubes.
Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell has died, too. In terms of net good brought into the world during their respective lives, Megan’s dog is probably ahead of Falwell. The conjunction of events reminded me of Oliver Goldsmith on morality, dogs and men.
Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog
Good people all, of every sort,
Give ear unto my song;
And if you find it wondrous short,
It cannot hold you long.
In Islington there was a man,
Of whom the world might say
That still a godly race he ran,
Whene’er he went to pray.
A kind and gentle heart he had,
To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad,
When he put on his clothes.
And in that town a dog was found,
As many dogs there be,
Both mongrel, puppy, whelp and hound,
And curs of low degree.
This dog and man at first were friends;
But when a pique began,
The dog, to gain some private ends,
Went mad and bit the man.
Around from all the neighbouring streets
The wondering neighbours ran,
And swore the dog had lost his wits,
To bite so good a man.
The wound it seemed both sore and sad
To every Christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad,
They swore the man would die.
But soon a wonder came to light,
That showed the rogues they lied:
The man recovered of the bite,
The dog it was that died.