Old Dog

Old Dog

While the Poetry Daily has previously sung the carol of the cats (or one specific one) that share our household, the old dog was wanting to get into the poetry act this morning. Our household currently is home to three cats and two dogs. But over the past thirty years there has been a procession of dogs. The first was a mongrel of indeterminate origin rescued from a house in Beeston with wallpaper saturated in chip fat. Poppet (aka St.Poppet) was our first dog, who taught us all about unconditional love and glued our partnership at times when ties were strained.

Murphy came next, a  bouncy sheepdog-Springer spaniel mix, who fell under the spell of his pure  bred sheltie pal Princess Pippin. Like Darby and Joan, those two were inseparable and died within six months of each other. Obe, a deaf terrier-spitz mix who had been ill-treated, came to us in New Year 2011, three weeks after Pippin’s sudden death and four days before my mother died. We were hospice for Sweetie for four months, during which she completely owned my heart. Then Cara and Ellie joined us when a relative could no longer look after them. Cara died between Christmas and New Year last year.

Dogs and cats both have valuable lessons to teach their human companions. Dogs teach us to receive. Cats teach us how to give. At least, that has been my experience



Old Dog

The old dog’s paw nails
clickety-clack on the floorboards.
She’s done this tap dance twice tonight.
She needs to go out…
again…
 
Night is tarry dark.
No crescent moon pierces darkness.
Cloud must be huddling close, low down.
Even the dog dreads
stepping outside without light.
She hesitates. Then goes forward.
She does what every dog must do.
Comes back.
 
She’s fifteen years old.
Dogs somehow always know the score.
They love. Look at life unflinching.
Right up to the end.
They sniff morning air.
Let the wind tell their nose stories.
They have the instinct when to
remove their collars,
let go of the leash.
Even though love always calls out
Stay!
 
Copyright © Bee Smith 2018

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