Very Sappy post but this has been on my mind for the last few weeks.
We have had dogs all of our lives. They have always been a part of our family. Our oldest boy, Chip, is now twelve years old. He still runs, all be it now on three good legs and one bad one. He lost his eye to a tumour earlier this year but he is still with us. He still has plenty of wag in his old tail and he still keeps the younger dogs in order. We adopted Chip when Adam was four years old and Chip was just short of a year old. He has always been Adams dog.
I have had old dogs before and each one of them has thought me something precious about dying with dignity. Animals in general, but particularly dogs seem to sense when their time has come. They rely on us, their human family to help them this one final time. On those occasions when I have been there, I have always felt both love and forgiveness from the friend who’s life was ending. I have always felt that they understood and were thankful for this last kindness we could bestow. When Chip’s time comes I hope I will be a good enough friend to ensure he leaves the world pain free and with dignity. And I hope he waits for his family to be with him before he crosses the Rainbow Bridge.
And old dog prepares to die.
Wet nose juts out and sniffs the chill, damp air
Then he turns about twice on the broken wicker chair
And settles down, happy to sleep again
Safely away from the wind and rain
Just an old dog now, who sits and waits
On the front porch or by the yard gates
With beating tail still. And a faithful heart
Waits for the grown boy, of who he is a part.
He dreams now of five thousand days gone by
Of sunny, summer mornings, warm and dry
And morning soaked, wet with autumn dew
And cold snow and frost in winter too
Early memories of sprinting through long grass
Playfully snatching at each thing they pass
Soaked through and alive, full of joy
Dashing and bright eyed. Both pup and boy
He remembers then, tracks across kitchen tiles
As he crept in with downcast mournful eyes
His head in shame held low to the ground
Such a sad and sorry wet young hound
But his boy never cursed him with harsh rebuff
Instead, treated him with care and love
And forged a bond as yet unbroken
An alliance full of words unspoken
He closes his eyes then and breathes a sigh
Just a worn out old dog ready to die
But he will wait ‘til his man is by his bed
To say goodbye and softly stroke his head