a few thoughts about our beloved canine family members

He never came to me when I would call   Unless I had a tennis ball,   Or he felt like it,   But mostly he didn’t come at all.   When he was young He never learned to heel Or sit or stay,  He did things his way.   Discipline was not his bag But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.   He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me, And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.   He bit lots of folks from day to day, The delivery boy was his favorite prey.   The gas man wouldn’t read our meter, He said we owned a real man-eater.  He set the house on fire But the story’s long to tell.   Suffice it to say that he survived   And the house survived as well.   On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,   He was always first out the door.   The Old One and I brought up the rear Because our bones were sore.   He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on, What a beautiful pair they were!   And if it was still light and the tourists were out, They created a bit of a stir.   But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks And with a frown on his face look around.   It was just to make sure that the Old One was there And would follow him where he was bound.   We are early-to-bedders at our house — I guess I’m the first to retire.   And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me And get up from his place by the fire.   He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs, And I’d give him one for a while.   He would push it under the bed with his nose And I’d fish it out with a smile.   And before very long He’d tire of the ball And be asleep in his corner In no time at all.   And there were nights when I’d feel him Climb upon our bed And lie between us, And I’d pat his head.   And there were nights when I’d feel this stare And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.   And sometimes I’d feel him sigh and I think I know the reason why.   He would wake up at night And he would have this fear Of the dark, of life, of lots of things, And he’d be glad to have me near.   And now he’s dead.   And there are nights when I think I feel him Climb upon our bed and lie between us, And I pat his head.   And there are nights when I think I feel that stare And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair, But he’s not there.   Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so, I’ll always love a dog named Beau.

 A book titled “Why We Love the Dogs We Do: How to Find the Dog That Matches Your Personality” published in 2000 contains some information on what happened to Beau, Stewart’s beloved dog. Sadly, the poem isn’t fiction. Wikipedia summarizes it:
“While shooting a movie in Arizona, Stewart received a phone call from Dr. Keagy, his veterinarian, who informed him that Beau was terminally ill, & that Gloria sought his permission to perform euthanasia. Stewart declined to give a reply over the phone, & told Keagy to ‘keep him alive & I’ll be there.’ Stewart requested several days’ leave, which allowed him to spend some time with Beau before granting the doctor permission to euthanize the sick dog. Following the procedure, Stewart sat in his car for ten minutes to clear his eyes of tears. Stewart later remembered: ‘After [Beau] died there were a lot of nights when I was certain that I could feel him get into bed beside me, & I would reach out & pat his head. The feeling was so real that I wrote a poem about it & how much it hurt to realize that he wasn’t going to be there any more.’”

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