Missing my dog.

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 10:44 pm by admin

Today a member of my poetry forum posted a thread that is intended to be a joint venture of sorts. The idea is to have the members of the forum contribute to, or carry on a poem that he started. It’s an intentionally silly poem, but it uses words usually associated with dogs. I joined the thread with a comment drawing attention to a Tanka, a Japanese style of poetry and how his efforts paralleled the construction of the Tanka. A Tanka begins with a Haiku written by one poet, then the poem is picked up by another poet who continues the poem with two more lines. Typically there is a pivot or change of direction in the poem when the two additional lines are added.

I found it a difficult thread to read because it brings home the loss of my dear canine companion who was with me for nearly fourteen and a half years. We had to put her down on April 16 of this year after she began to have seizures in the middle of the night. This last event was the culmination of a progressive lameness that advanced to paralysis, then blindness, and disorientation over the course of two weeks. The seizure lasted five minutes, during which she was unable to breathe. She had been treated for cancer twice before, the last time six months prior to her death. I was convinced the cancer had spread to her brain. I actively grieved for her for a few weeks, writing poem after poem about her life and her loss. Some of the poems were really bad, but they served as an outlet for my grief, rather than the overwhelming sobbing grief I had felt and expressed in the past when other of my friends had died. Today there is simply an emptiness both in my heart and in our home. It is a dull ache, a void of sorts, that I have never felt with the loss of any of my prior canine companions. It may also be that this was the first time I did not have another dog present in the house to help me through my grief.

Just yesterday I was working in the yard near her grave, and I noticed how much the dirt mound had settled. It’s almost unnoticeable. I haven’t touched it since that day, but I have gone there from time to time to visit her. There are still moments when I open the front door and expect her to be at my heels, scurrying around my legs to beat me out the door and race along the fence when the mailman drives up the street, or the trash men come on their collection rounds.

This evening this member posted a comment inviting me to participate in the thread. I posted a reply, which I subsequently deleted immediately, and instead sent him the text as a private message, explaining that I was unable to participate in the spirit of the poem.

This event serves as a reminder, just how deeply entrenched in my life she had become and how much I still miss her these four months later.


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