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E.B. White on Dogs

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The late E.B. White, the children’s author and essayist, wrote on a great number of topics, and he was, among other things, a perceptive observer of dogs.  E.B. White on Dogs is a new collection of White’s best prose and poetry on canines.  White’s granddaughter, Martha White, assembled these writings from White’s essays, poems and letters, which also includes some family photos of the author and his dogs.

Below are ten E.B. White quotes on man’s best friend.  I love the #4 quote below.  Enjoy!

1. Discipline – “I like to read books on dog training.  Being the owner of dachshunds, to me a book on dog discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor.  Every sentence is a riot.”

2. Passing of time – “The possession of a dog today is a different thing from the possession of a dog at the turn of the century, when one’s dog was fed on mashed potato and brown gravy and lived in a doghouse with an arched portal.  Today a dog is fed on scraped beef and Vitamin B1 and lives in bed with you.”

3. Breed Production – “Dogs used to mate with other dogs rather casually in my day, and the results were discouraging to the American Kennel Club but entirely satisfactory to small boys who liked puppies.”

4. Perfect Dog – “A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature.  You can’t get it by breeding for it, and you can’t buy it with money.  It just happens along.”

5. The Russians and the moon – “The Russians, we understand, are planning to send a dog into space.  The reason is plain enough: The little moon is incomplete without a dog to bay at it.”

6. Canine Loyalty – “My Norwich Terrier will be seven in May…. He is a neurotic…. But he and I are enough alike so that we get on well, and I can’t help being touched by his loyalty – which I think in his case is simply insecurity.  He would never take a prize at a show.  Neither would I, come to think of it.”

7. ‘Sensible’ dog – “I bought a puppy last week in the outskirts of Boston and drove him to Maine in a rented Ford that looked like a sculpin.  There had been talk in our family of getting a ‘sensible dog’ this time, and my wife and I had gone over the list of sensible dogs, and had even ventured once or twice into the company of sensible dogs… But after a period of uncertainty and wasted motion my wife suddenly exclaimed one evening, ‘Oh, let’s just get a dachshund!’”

8. Good Christmas – “My Christmas will be a whole lot wetter and merrier/If somebody sends me a six-weeks-old Boston terrier.”

9. Boundless Energy – “I don’t think a dog’s nervous system resembles my own in the least.  A dog’s nervous system is in a class by itself.  If it resembles anything at all, it resembles the Consolidated Edison Company’s power plant.”

10. Dogs find E.B. White – “It is not so much that I acquire dogs as it is that dogs acquire me.  Maybe they even shop for me, I don’t know.  If they do I assume they have many problems, because they certainly always arrive with plenty, which they then turn over to me.”

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