Only God knows when the train will pull into the station. Yet we stand on the platform and look at the schedule and say, 'The train is late' or 'The train isn't coming.'
So it's not a matter of never giving up; it's learning to refrain from trying to play God with one's life. I think one of the best lessons to this effect is the life of Judy, who by human reckoning was supposed to die so many times it's not possible to make an accurate count.
No Better Friend
At one point in the telling the suspense got so awful that John Batchelor reassured the audience before a station break, "Don't worry; she survives."
"She" was Judy: shipwreck survivor, dowser, jungle guide, prisoner of war, savior, enemy of pirates and Japanese troops, decorated World War II veteran and barker at sharks.
That's not the half of it. She inspired many human prisoners to find the will to survive horrific conditions in Japanese internment camps because they saw Judy toughing it out.
They said, "If a dog can do it, so can I."
Judy, or "Gunboat Judy," as the British press dubbed her, was likely the most amazing purebred Pointer who couldn't point who ever lived.
As to how a dog became a POW -- an official POW -- instead of being shot by her captors, thereby hangs one of the tales of her exploits and those of the soldier she befriended.
It's all been told in a book, No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII and last night John Batchelor and the author, Robert Weintraub, sat around the campfire and told stories from the book.
John finished by suggesting, "Read this book to your dog."
Yes, and rent a hall and read it to everyone lucky enough to wander in. Read it to banish the doldrums cast by the day's news. Read it to be reminded of the incredible mettle that man and dog can muster.
And if you can't wait to read the book there's the podcast about some of Judy's adventures, well told by Batchelor and Weintraub. Many thanks to both raconteurs.
August 14, 2015
Judy and Frank after the war