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Still Yours

A Mutual Rescue Tribute Film, 2018

From Our Beloved Dogs

© Christopher Briscoe

Grieving for his English bulldog, Haig, poet Robinson Jeffers wrote a timeless message of comfort in Haig's voice. Watch Mutual Rescue's interpretation.

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Sponsor

Kathy & Dan McCranie

Silent Paws

A Mutual Rescue Tribute Film, 2018

From Our Beloved Cats

© Arden Costello

Gabriel Spera's poem "Silent Paws" imagines what a cat might want to tell us from the spirit world. Watch Mutual Rescue's interpretation.

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About the Tributes

To those who have loved and lost an animal companion, Mutual Rescue offers two new timeless messages from the spirits of a dog (“Still Yours”) and cat (“Silent Paws”).

Through photography, poetry and music, these tributes illustrate the enduring bonds between animals and people and celebrate the power of love. To create these memorial montages, Mutual Rescue collaborated with more than 40 respected artists who understand the emotional impact that losing a beloved cat or dog companion can have.

Still Yours was inspired by Robinson Jeffers’ hauntingly beautiful poem “The House-Dog’s Grave (Haig, an English bulldog).”

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.

I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures

To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,

I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

For Silent Paws contemporary poet Gabriel Spera (The Standing Wave, The Rigid Body) wrote from the perspective of a cat spirit comforting people in mourning, concluding with this:

… savor your small expanse

of sun before it melts away in its travels

across the rug. And if a ball of joy should dance

across your path—pounce, before it all unravels.

The Artists

Acclaimed photography editor Karen Mullarkey (Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated) sourced and selected the images from noted photographers nationwide, including Christopher Briscoe, Seth Casteel, Carol Guzy (four-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize), Theron Humphrey, and Kristi Johnson, among many others.

Christopher Tin is a two-time Grammy-winning composer of concert and media music. His output is strikingly diverse, ranging from lush symphonic works to world-music infused choral anthems to electro-acoustic hybrid film and video game scores. His music has been performed and premiered in many of the world's most prestigious venues. His song "Baba Yetu," a Swahili setting of The Lord's Prayer, is a modern choral standard. He works out of his own custom-built studio at the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, where he's resident composer.

Alex Williamson is a composer, producer, and arranger for film, advertising, TV, and games. He recently scored the political documentary Freedom for the Wolf. His work for advertising has been featured in campaigns for Coca-Cola, Ford, Bud Light, and Blue Apron, as well as in a Super Bowl spot for LG. As a frequent collaborator with fellow Stanford graduate Christopher Tin, he has composed and arranged for a variety of films and games, including "Still Yours" and "Silent Paws" and the blockbuster Civilization VI.

Robinson Jeffers was a major American poet and environmentalist of the 20th century who lived most of his life on the central California coast. His moving poem "The House-Dog's Grave," published in 1941, was written from the perspective of Haig, his beloved English bulldog who had died, to the grieving poet. Excerpts of that poem appear in Mutual Rescue's film "Still Yours" with the permission of Stanford University Press and the Jeffers Literary Properties.

Gabriel Spera has published two award-winning books of poetry. The first, The Standing Wave, was a National Poetry Series selection and also received the Literary Book Award in Poetry from PEN-USA West. The second, The Rigid Body, received the Richard Snyder Prize. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Los Angeles. His work appears widely, in print and online, and was featured on American Life in Poetry.

Please share “Still Yours” and “Silent Paws” with anyone who has loved and lost their animal companion. And please reach out to your local animal shelters and rescue groups to adopt, volunteer or donate.

The House-Dog's Grave

(Haig, an English bulldog)

by Robinson Jeffers (1887 - 1962)

I’ve changed my ways a little: I cannot now

Run with you in the evenings along the shore,

Except in a kind of dream: and you, if you dream a moment,

You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door

Where I used to scratch to go out or in,

And you’d soon open; leave on the kitchen floor

The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do

On the warm stone,

Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the nights through

I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet

Outside your window where firelight so often plays,

And where you sit to read—and I fear often grieving for me—

Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard

To think of you ever dying.

A little dog would get tired living so long.

I hope that when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear

As good and joyful as mine.

No, dears, that’s too much hope: you are not so well cared for

As I have been,

And never have known the passionate undivided

Fidelities that I knew.

Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided....

But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.

I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures

To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,

I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

Silent Paws

by Gabriel Spera

I know how you feel—like someone rearranged

all the pictures on the wall, or slid the ring

from your finger. It’s awkward. Unsettling. Strange

Just remember what I taught you, and everything

will be alright. You’ll stand with your habitual

optimism at the back door, calling my name.

I won’t come, of course, but that’ll make the whole ritual

seem normal, familiar, as ever all the same.

And in that moment, you’ll glance down, unsure whether

to feel relieved or sad to find no gift, small but

thoughtful, on the mat. And it will take forever

till you can open a can of anything and not

feel the press of my flanks, like a phantom limb,

against your shins. Until then, you’ll get no rest

listening for the catch and shred, at 2 a.m.,

of claws on the scratching post. When you do, at last,

dream again, you’ll see me in my favorite spot—

curled up on the couch I often let you share,

blissful in repose. Take this to heart: no matter what

you’re doing or not doing, no matter where

you’ve opted not to be, savor your small expanse

of sun before it melts away in its travels

across the rug. And if a ball of joy should dance

across your path—pounce, before it all unravels.

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