Yesterday, a friend’s dog died. He was old and was being consumed by seizures. With no remedy in sight, his mom and dad, humanely, sent him on his final journey. I wrote this poem on Chebeague Island in 2013 to express my feelings for my three aging dogs. All three of the dogs written about in this piece have now passed. The last, my “Little Guy” died at 12:57 pm on June 21, 2017. Jasper, Spudley, and Splatter gave me so much. I will never forget them and will always miss them. So, today, I publish this poem again, for Charlie…
May 11, 2013: I wrote this last night after I tucked my “kids” into bed.
On Aging Dogs
My dog lies in his bed,
Licking his paw relentlessly,
Trying to wash away only what he can see or feel.
My other dog struggles to get up,
He stretches his leg,
Trying to somehow erase or ease the pain.
My third dog barks,
Calling for me to guide him,
His eyesight failing; he cannot find his way alone.
I, too, feel the pain,
My joints and muscles wishing longingly,
For the joys of youth.
Yet, when I walk with my big dog,
And a deer darts across our path,
He is a pup again, forgetting all that is wrong with his paw.
At the beach, my other dog,
Chases a stick into the water, swimming effortlessly,
Unmindful of the pain and stiffness in his hips and leg.
And my third dog,
Uses his sense of smell to find the birds,
And his tongue hangs out in delight as he chases them.
And I am happy to feel the road beneath my feet,
As I walk with these noble beasts,
Who want for nothing more than to be in my presence.
How could I ask for anything more?