GOODBYE OLD DOG
He started out as a show dog, flying about the country, till one trip--when they put him down in that place where dogs have to fly, and the lock on his cage rattled the whole flight. When they found him it was too late--he was scared to death, his show career over, in need of a new home. It took years for him to be brave again, but if his heart was scared, it was also the biggest love machine ever. Babies could poke him, climb on his back, pull his tail. It didn't matter, he would just give them that soft look, wag his great, feathery tail and smile. He knew when people were sad and would sit right beside them, his head on their knee, just loving them. As it will do, even when we don't want it to, time passed, the kids grew up and he grew old, his golden face white now and those big, clumsy paws that never did learn how to navigate the slippery kitchen floor grew even more awkward. His beautiful, strong legs began to fail, his eyesight grew dim, the floppy ears didn't work so well. But still, there was grass to roll in and, of course, the house to guard and snausages for treats and, always, his people, who couldn't let him go and so he knew, finally, he'd have to help them. On a hot summer day, when they had gone and the house wrapped its cool quiet around his old body, he knew it was time. I don't know this for sure, but maybe his last thought was of them and he might have smiled and thumped that tail once more on the shiny, slippery, kitchen floor.
~ Sharon Auberle