Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the lives of dogs: goodbye is too final of a word

They await us in heaven, faithful still, forgiving of all our foibles. Bright eyes and wagging tails - our very best friends!
Assegai - Dog Lover

The Lives of Dogs

By manyfires/Danielle Hughson - on Flickr

I have known dogs -
bowlegged pups with rounded bellies,
the wrigglers and the yippers,
the velvety-muzzled and pointy-teethed nippers
all tumbling and bumbling
through their puppyhood lives.

I have known dogs in the prime of their lives -
the eager park goers,
the racers, the lopers,
the ones that leap stairs
in a single unflinching bound,
the fetchers and catchers,
the sturdy and sleek,
those invincible dogs,
dogs at their peak.

I have known dogs at the end of their days -
the fading old, the ones that slow
to catch their breaths and sink
to the ground. With bones that creak,
and hips and sway, their muzzles overtaken
with bristling grey.
The cloudy-eyed and muscle-wasted.
The ones with lumps and bumps,
and spines that hump, hard of hearing,
yet still they find a way to push
their cold noses into an empty hand,
and when at last they can no longer stand
and I am called to end their too-short lives,
it is never with permission. Their tails
still thump the floor. Soft whines
and begging eyes implore us still to play.

I have known dogs - the weight
of their heads in my lap.
Their hearts that beat and slow
and beat and slow and stop.
Their final sighs. The way we stroke
their heads to say goodbye.

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