I had to put Princess, my Dalmatian who’ve I had for 10 years, to sleep in early January due to chronic health issues. This poem is dedicated to her memory.
I rescued you from a shelter,
a special needs dog who was deaf.
I remember your waggling tail,
as it smacked against the cage.
I rescued you that day,
but it was you who would save me.
The little kids would run up to you,
as they yelled out, “Fire dog!”
You always stood so patiently
when they climbed all over you.
And if their tiny hands held out treats,
you would gently nibble but never grab.
I joked about your deaf dog bark, “Arf! Arf!”
but you barked like any other dog.
I taught you hand commands,
so you learned to come, shake and sit.
But if you wanted to keep on running,
you knew not to look back at me.
We understood each other acutely;
and felt each other’s moods.
You grunted when you were happy,
and I loved to see your Dalmatian smile,
a bared teeth grimace to the unknowing,
but always a happy grin to me.
Asleep when I would open the door,
you felt the vibration of my steps
or awakened when our little dog
would bark then jump on you.
You also watched him to know
when to eat or walk.
You sat with me through sadnesses
and always greeted me eagerly.
You never judged my failings
or expected much from me.
You listened to my gripes though deaf
and loved me all the same.
You were such a noble creature,
and it hurt see you suffer,
as I watched you fall down repeatedly
and whimper quietly in pain.
Even though you could not talk to me,
you still told me everything.
You looked into my eyes with trust,
as the vet fed poison into your vein.
I felt your body relax then limp,
as I held you in my lap.
“I love you, Princess,”
I whispered through my tears.
I think now about death a lot
and wonder what it really means.
I lost you as my best friend
and that loss is pain for me,
but I still have you in my heart
and I have you in my memories.