I found this just last night when I was searching in old computer files for something else. This beautiful member of our family died several years ago. I don't even remember writing this, it was a sad time as he was unexpectedly very sick and his death was shocking. We had two wonderful dogs, Moky and Emmy, both gone and missed. Moky was my daughter's best friend and he adored her. No dog has ever loved anyone more. It is the hardest thing about dogs, that their life span is so terribly short.
I thought about editing this piece and making it into more of a poem but then I thought, no, let it remain what it is, a heartfelt letter to our beloved boy.
I never knew how hard you worked
how extensive your job was
meeting each pair of feet as they climbed out of bed into the morning
already up, having made the rounds of the house,
sniffed each door and inspected the carpet
for any crumbs from the evening before.
I never knew how you followed my footsteps, unnoticed
as a shadow until I turned and tripped,
how you took my outbursts of temper without blame
or accusation, how you ran down the driveway to greet me
your whole body wriggling in joy just that I was home
You were so good at your work, it went largely unnoticed,
we focused more on your clowning skills, inadvertant though they were
the way you hid under the dining room table if you thought you had been bad,
rolling in the perfume ads that we pulled from magazines, the last time you did that
I thought I should film it for posterity, but I didn't because there would surely be a next time.
I thought you a lazy and loved, indulged even, type of dog the way you jumped in my lap
and snuggled in next to me, like I was letting you get away with something even though now
I realize how much comfort you gave with your presence. How every doorbell ring, every visitor, every rabbit in the yard, squirrels, birds, cats, got your fierce attention, how every thing was greeting with a mix of passion and friendliness and happiness. I never realized how much a part of your work was happiness, the carrier of it, the way you pulled everyone out of themselves or an iffy or bad day and made us focus on you, your canine joy, your bliss at the crisp autumn scented wind, the piles and drifts of snow taller than you, the way the slate walk warms in the spring sun, perfect for sleeping.
I find myself looking at the season approaching, the unfolding of summer, a good season for dogs, but how it all feels terrible without you, curled in the back garden, a flower folded without hope of sun, and I wish I knew how to tell you thank you for your enormous gift of a job well done, noticed in every moment now that there is no one who can take your place.