some words for the heart

After Death
As You Hold Me Close In Memory
Do Not Stand at My Grave
A Dog's Prayer
Eulogy to the Dog
From Friend to Friend
The Greyhound Owner's Prayer
The House Dog's Grave
I Am With You
I Only Wanted You
The Last Battle
A Loan From God
A Message From Max
Native American Prayer
No Wonder He Wags His Tail
Oh God, My Master...
Old Dog
Special Place
Where to Bury a Dog

The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog
update 7/30/2004

A Dog's Prayer

by Beth Norman Harris

Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest-- and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

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After Death

by Edwin Arnold

"Farewell Master, yet not Farewell
Where I go, you to, shall dwell.
I am gone, before your face.
A moment's time, a little space.
When you come where I have steped.
You will wonder why you wept."

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Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on the snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain

When you awake in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft star that shines at night

Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.


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Eulogy to the Dog

Senator George Graham Vest

"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous . . . . . is his dog.

A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness.

He will sleep on the cold ground where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side.

He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world.

He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.

When all other friends desert he remains.

When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If misfortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies."

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The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill

I, SILVERDENE EMBLEM O'NEILL (familiarly known to my family, friends, and acquaintances as Blemie), because the burden of my years and infirmities is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my life is near, do hereby bury my last will and testament in the mind of my Master. He will not know it is there until after I am dead. Then, remembering me in his loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask him then to inscribe it as a memorial to me.

I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their days hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and my faith. These I leave to all those who have loved me, to my Master and Mistress, who I know will mourn me most, to Freeman who has been so good to me, to Cyn and Roy and Willie and Naomi and -- But if I should list all those who have loved me, it would force my Master to write a book. Perhaps it is vain of me to boast when I am so near death, which returns all beasts and vanities to dust, but I have always been an extremely lovable dog.

I ask my Master and Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life I have tried to be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain. Let them remember that while no dog has ever had a happier life (and this I owe to their love and care for me), now that I have grown blind and deaf and lame, and even my sense of smell fails me so that a rabbit could be right under my nose and I might not know, my pride has sunk to a sick, bewildered humiliation. I feel life is taunting me with having over-lingered my welcome. It is time I said good-bye, before I become too sick a burden on myself and on those who love me. It will be sorrow to leave them, but not a sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We accept it as part of life, not as something alien and terrible which destroys life. What may come after death, who knows? I would like to believe with those my fellow Dalmatians who are devote Mohammedans, that there is a Paradise where one is always young and full-bladdered; where all the day one dillies and dallies with an amorous multitude of houris [lovely nymphs], beautifully spotted; where jack rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the houris) are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning, and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth, and the love of one's Master and Mistress.

I am afraid this is too much for even such a dog as I am to expect. But peace, at least, is certain. Peace and long rest for weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleep in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all, this is best.

One last request I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, "When Blemie dies we must never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another one." Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again. What I would like to feel is that, having once had me in the family, now she cannot live without a dog! I have never had a narrow jealous spirit. I have always held that most dogs are good (and one cat, the black one I have permitted to share the living room rug during the evenings, whose affection I have tolerated in a kindly spirit, and in rare sentimental moods, even reciprocated a trifle). Some dogs, of course, are better than others. Dalmatians, naturally, as everyone knows, are best. So I suggest a Dalmatian as my successor. He can hardly be as well bred or as well mannered or as distinguished and handsome as I was in my prime. My Master and Mistress must not ask the impossible. But he will do his best, I am sure, and even his inevitable defects will help by comparison to keep my memory green. To him I bequeath my collar and leash and my overcoat and raincoat, made to order in 1929 at Hermes in Paris. He can never wear them with the distinction I did, walking around the Place Vendome, or later along Park Avenue, all eyes fixed on me in admiration; but again I am sure he will do his utmost not to appear a mere gauche provincial dog. Here on the ranch, he may prove himself quite worthy of comparison, in some respects. He will, I presume, come closer to jack rabbits than I have been able to in recent years.

And for all his faults, I hereby wish him the happiness I know will be his in my old home.

One last word of farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: "Here lies one who loved us and whom we loved". No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.

O'Neill wrote Blemie's will as a comfort to Carlotta just before the dog died in its old age in December 1940

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Links to other collection sites

Other people have done much better jobs at gathering together words of comfort. Below are a few of these sites, randomly found while browsing the internet, in no particular order. They range from amateur personal sites to very polished and professional rescue sites. They cover all breeds. Some are intended as a dedication to a missed pet.

Healing and Inspirational Poetry
Our Story Corner
In Memory Of Pets
Dog Poems (at Dick's Pages)
Sue Burkhard's Links to Greyt Poems & Stories
Cats and Dogs

I apologize in advance if any of these links prove to be broken. People take down and/or move their web pages which will break the link. If you happen across a broken link and you wish you may let me know.

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The Last Battle

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
For this -- the last battle -- can't be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't wnat me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We've been so close -- we two -- these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.


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Where to Bury a Dog

Ben Hur Lampman, writing in The Oregonian, September 11, 1925

A subscriber of the Ontario Argus has written to the editor of that fine weekly, propounding a certain question, which, so far as we know, yet remains unanswered. The question is this - "Where shall I bury my dog?" It is asked in advance of death. The Oregonian trusts the Argus will not be offended if this newspaper undertakes an answer, for surely such a question merits a reply, since the man who asked it, on the evidence of his letter, loves the dog. It distresses him to think of his favorite as dishonored in death, mere carrion in the winter rains. Within that sloping, canine skull, he must reflect when the dog is dead, were thoughts that dignified the dog and honored the master. The hand of the master and of the friend stroked often in affection this rough pathetic husk that was a dog.

We would say to the Ontario man that there are various places in which a dog may be buried. We are thinking now of a setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought. This setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an excellent place to bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorous bone, or lifted head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else. For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps at long and at last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked, and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land, where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost - if memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all.

If you bury him in this spot, the secret of which you must already have, he will come to you when you call - come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they shall not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he is yours and he belongs there. People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition, people who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing. The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.

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The Greyhound Owner's Prayer

Meg Bensen, May 3, 2002, Loved by Sheridan, Riley and Elliott

Lord, Grant unto me the strength to take care of this worthy creature
To attend to his daily needs with selfless devotion
Putting him not before me, but beside me
So that I may reap the rewards of his unconditional love.

Will unto me faith and understanding
That his is a simple life, requiring my continued patience
He does not do things out of malice or spite
His love is pure and without such human frailties

Share with me your eternal wisdom
For the moments of trial and crisis which come without warning
Let me make the best decisions from my head
Though my heart may be breaking, let me do what is best for my friend

For he hath given me such joy and happiness
Sometimes finding me at my darkest moments and showing me the light
The true path we were meant to walk on with these creatures
To learn life's lessons, together

And to wait for me under a Rainbow Bridge
As I once guided him to a better life on Earth,
So will he do for me in Heaven.

Please God, Grant unto me the strength to take care of this worthy creature
Bless me once more as you did the day he came into my life,
For his creation was truly a miracle.


©2002 Megan A. Bensen
Permission to repost with full credit granted.

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A Message From Max

By J.D.Ellis

My name is Max & I have a little something I'd like to whisper in your ear. I know you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise. It always seems like you're running here & there, often much to fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life. Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer. See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now, that comes with age. The grey hairs are beginning to ring my soft muzzle. You smile at me; I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit, a soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrongdoing for just a simple moment of your time?

That is all I ask. To slow down if even for a few minutes to be with me. So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind passing. Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes we age so slowly before your eyes that you do not even seem to know, until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes. Still the love is always there, even when we take that long sleep, to run free in distant lands.

I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the waters from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just "One more day" with me.

Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me. We have now, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor. And look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard & deep enough we will talk you & I, heart to heart. Come to me not as "alpha" or as a "trainer" or even a "Mom or Dad", come to me as a living soul & stroke my fur & let us look deep into one another's eyes & talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general. You decided to have me in your life (I hope) because you wanted a soul to share just such things with. Someone very different from you, and here I am. I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a "Dog on two feet" I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still. Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if even for only 15 minutes. Look deep in my eyes, and whisper to my ears. Speak with your heart, with your joy and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow, and life is oh so very short.

Love, Max (on behalf of all canines everywhere)


J.D.Ellis ©2001,
May be reposted and shared freely as long as this credit also appears

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I Am With You

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you, that I'm not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said "it's me."

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It's possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew ...
in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning and say
"goodnight, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out ... then come home to be with me.


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The House Dog's Grave

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope than when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.


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Oh God, my master, should I gain the grace
To see you face to face when life is ended,
Grant that a little dog, who once pretended
That I was God, may see me face to face.

Francis Jammes

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I Only Wanted You

They say memories are golden
well maybe that is true.
I never wanted memories,
I only wanted you.

A million times I needed you,
a million times I cried.
If love alone could have saved you
you never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place
no one could ever fill.

If tears could build a stairway
and heartache make a lane,
I'd walk the path to heaven
and bring you back again.

Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one,
the chain will link again.


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From Friend to Friend

You're giving me a special gift, so sorrowfully endowed,
And through these last few cherished days, your courage makes me proud.
But really, love is knowing when your best friend is in pain,
And understanding earthly acts will only be in vain.
So looking deep into your eyes, beyond into your soul,
I see in you the magic that will once more make me whole.

The strength that you possess why I look to you today,
To do this thing that must be done, for it's the only way.
That strength is why I've followed you and chose you as my friend, And
why I've loved you all these partner till the end.

Please understand just what this gift you're giving means to me,
It gives me back strength I've lost and all my dignity.
You take a stand on my behalf, for that is what friends do,
And know that what you do is right. For I believe it too.

So one last time I breathe your scent and through your hand I feel,
The courage that's within you to now grant me this appeal.
Cut the leash that holds me here, dear friend and let me run,
Once more a strong and steady dog, my pain and struggle done.

And don't despair my passing, for I won't be far away.
Forever here within your heart and memory I'll stay.
I'll be watching over you, your ever faithful friend,
And in your memories I'll run, a young dog once again.


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You have a special place Dear Lord
that I know you'll always keep
A special place reserved for dogs
when they quietly fall asleep
With large and airy kennels
and a yard for hiding bones
With maybe a little babbling creek
that chatters over stones
With wide green fields and flowers
for those who never knew
about running freely under
Your sky of perfect blue.
Lord, I know you keep this special place
And so to you I pray,
For one Special Dog of mine
Who quietly died today
She was full of strength and love
and so very,very wise
The puppy look she still had
It had not yet left her eyes.
She is dearly missed my Lord
This very good friend of mine.
She went to join her ancestors
To Your land that is Divine
So, speak to her softly please
and give her a warm hello.
She's a Special gift to you Dear Lord
From I, who loved her so.


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No Wonder He Wags His Tail

Printed in Grace magazine, Christchurch Dorset. Spring 1997. Author not known.

When God had made the Earth and sky,
The flowers and the trees.
He then made all the animals
And all the birds and bees.

And when his work was finished
Not one was quite the same,
He said "I'll walk this Earth of mine
And give each one a name".

And so he travelled land and sea
And everywhere he went,
A little creature followed him
Until it's strength was spent.

When all were named upon the Earth
And in the sky and sea,
The little creature said "Dear Lord,
There's not one left for me".

The Father smiled and softly said
"I've left you to the end,
I've turned my own name back to front
And called you DOG, my friend".

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A Loan From God

God promised at the birth of time
A special friend to give.
His time on earth is short, He said,
So love him while he lives.

It may be for 8 or 10 years,
Or only 2 or 3,
But will you , till I call him back
Take care of him for me?

A wagging tail and cold wet nose
And silken velvet ears,
A heart as big as all outdoors
To love you though the years.

His puppy ways will gladden you,
And antics bring a smile,
As guardian or friend he will
Be loyal all the while.

He'll bring his charms to grace
your life,
And though his stay be brief,
When he's gone the memories
Are solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But lessons only a dog can teach
I want you each to learn.

I've looked the whole world over
In search of guardians true,
And from the folk that crowd life's land,
I have chosen you.

Whatever love you give to him
Returns in triple measures.
Follow his lead and gain a life
Brim full of simple pleasures.

Enjoy each day as it comes,
Allow your heart to guide,
Be loyal and steadfast in love,
As the dog there by your side.

Now give him all your love,
Not think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call
to take him back again.

I fancy each of us would say,
"Dear Lord, thy will be done."
For all the joys this dog shall bring,
The risk of grief we'll run.

We'll shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known,
Forever grateful stay.

But should the angels call for him,
Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
And try to understand.

If by our love we've managed,
Gods wishes to achieve,
In memory of him that we lave loved,
And to help us while we grieve;

When our faithful bundle this world departs
This earthly world of strife,
We'll get yet another pup,
And love him all his life.


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Native American Prayer

I give you this,
one thought to keep,
I am with you still,
I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken
in the morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars
that shine at night.

Do not think of me as gone-
I am with you still,
in each new dawn.

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As you hold me close in memory,
even though we are apart,
my spirit will live on,
there within your heart....
I am with you always.

When you lean on trusted friends and
their caring hugs enfold you,
within their loving arms,
I'll be there to hold you.....
I am with you always.

And beyond the far horizon
when we'll finally be together,
where love will be eternal
and life will last forever....
I am with you always.


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Old Dog

When the old dog had to die after long years full with love and honor,
When the weight of time grew wearying and she was content to have it finished,
I brought my old dog to our friend.
Old dog lay soft against me, old eyes already closed, waiting.
Our friend's hand was gentle on the weary body, with its ragged fur
So gentle to find the frail small vein where death could enter.
Difficult, old blood runs sluggish, old veins slackly resisting.
So patient, our friend, his knowing hands, all I can see through silent tears
I watch capable strong hands lightly coaxing, and at last a small red
Flower blooms briefly in the crystal before he eases the plunger in.
Old dog only sighs very softly.
The weary heart slows and stops as the joyful spirit leaps free.
We wait a quiet minute, my tears dropping unheeded, into the soft fur.
Our friend withdraws, his gentle hands leaving old dog's cast-off body.
My head bowed over the weathered white mask for a moment
before I let her lie by herself and draw the blanket over her.
I wish the old dog had made it easier for him.
To bring even a kindly death brings sadness.
He asked how many years she had, and I heard more than that in his voice.
I wish I could thank him for keeping zest in her years,
for making a good end of them,
for his capable hands, for his gentle word and caring heart.
I took the old dog home, and laid her as if sleeping, wrapped in her worn
blanket and sheltered deep in the kindly earth.


This is to say thank you to the many compassionate Veterinarians who care for pets with their hearts as well as their skill.

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"the soul would know no rainbows if the eyes had no tears"