OLD DOG

Marcia Schler

PYR/PRINT newsletter of the GPC of Puget Sound June/July 1994


When old dog had to die
After long years filled with love and honour
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 friends 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 the last the 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 moment, 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 gentle words
for 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 silent earth.


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