"My Dog Is Dead" Written By Carole

Carole was devastated when her beloved Great Dane Donner passed away. She wrote the article "My Dog Is Dead" for the April 1944 issue of Motion Picture magazine ....

Donner is dead. Donner was my Great Dane and I loved him. O.O. McIntyre said something once, in his column, about the poignancy of "giving your heart to a dog to tear." I know what he meant. When Donner was a puppy, all paws and clumsiness, he used to frolic on the beach in front of our house with a little fox terrier friend of his. The terrier was full grown and very quick and agile. He liked to tease Donner with all kinds of canine acrobatics and Donner was a sucker. He always tried to do everything the terrier did, and he'd always fall over himself in the attempt. Mother and I used to laugh at him until the tears rolled down our faces, which sometimes sent him to a corner to mope, since he hated to be laughed at. But he never stayed there long. He couldn't resist that terrier. Mother and I used to laugh at Donner at mealtime, too, sitting there in the dining room a respectful distance from the table, drooling. "Donner", I'd tell him sometimes, "don't sit there drooling like a dope. It isn't the droolers who get along in this world. It's the what-the-hellers!" And he'd thump his tail on the carpet, "Sure, sure. But what about a piece of steak?" As he grew older Donner made me his special responsibility. He was always near me if he could manage it. I remember one night when my mother was away and I woke up feeling ill. I got out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen to make myself some hot lemonade. I felt so bad I didn't notice him at first, but pretty soon I caught site of Donner standing in the doorway, head cocked to one side, trying to understand this strange procedure. I went back to the bedroom for something and he came along. I returned to the kitchen and there he was, right at my heels. The house was very dark and still, and the fog hung heavy on the sea outside.

It came to me there, in the middle of the night, how good it was to have him with me, protective and companionable. And how beautiful, the simple unswerving devotion of a dog. Sometimes Donner was a great big baby. If anyone hurt his feelings, nothing would have it but he must sit on my lap. As he grew to big to accomplish this, he'd come and sort of stand across my knees, all four paws on the floor, and I'd have to comfort him as a child. I went overseas and was gone for five months. When I returned the man from the studio who met my plane brought Donner with him. But Donner didn't jump up on me, showering me with damp kisses as he always had after shorter separations. He just came and stood close to me and looked at me, whimpering. "It was terrible having you gone so long, Carole," he was saying. "Please don't do it again..." The tears smarted in my eyes and I promised him I wouldn't. Donner's first symptoms of illness was his sudden inability to keep food on his stomach. This made him very ashamed and he begged my pardon the only way he knew how - by thumping his tail on the floor anxiously. I suppose he thought he would be punished as he used to be when a puppy, for forgetting himself. I put my arms around him and tried to reassure him. "Donner is a good boy. Donner couldn't help it because he was sick. Donner is a good boy!" And I'm sure he understood me because he sort of relaxed, as if with relief, and dropped off to sleep. The next day he was dead. Now the house is very neat and quiet. Donner doesn't sneak smelly bones indoors anymore and lay them at my feet. "Just see how much I love you, Carole..." He doesn't race through the rooms, mussing up rugs and knocking over things. He doesn't leave hairs on the furniture.

He doesn't gobble his dinner, slopping much of it over the edge of his bowl onto mother's nice, clean kitchen floor. He doesn't track sand through the house so that we are forever having to vacuum after him. I wish he did. The extra work he made was nothing compared to the fun and happiness he gave us. I cried terribly when, toward the end, he tried to lick my hand and couldn't quite make it because he was so sick. and tried to wag his tail, but could only make it move the barest little bit to say "So long, Carole. It's me who's going away this time. I'm sorry, Carole. I'm sorry I'm making you cry..." As I left the vet's that day, I said I would never have another dog. I said I couldn't bear to have one and love him - and someday lose him. "It hurts too much," I said. But yesterday...well, yesterday I was walking along the boulevard and in a pet shop window was the most adorable cocker puppy. He was lying, head on paws, in a corner all alone and breaking his little heart over it. I went inside and picked him up. He was scared and shaking at first, but when I cuddled him in my arms, he put his little head on my shoulder and heaved a big sigh as if to say "This is it. This is what I've been waiting for." I put him down and almost ran out of there. I didn't want a dog. Oh, definitely, I didn't want a dog. But I found myself thinking of him all last night, poor little mite in that pet store window, lonesome and scared. And this morning I called up the man at the store and told him I would be in for my dog. "I was saving him for you, Miss Landis." he said. He knew even before I did that "Splash" was for me. Yes, I've already named him, and I'm going to Hollywood right now to get him and bring him home. So you see, I've done it again. I've given my heart once more "to a dog to tear."