My dear friend Kate came by the other day with her Georgian Bay Sporting Dog, Izzy, and I was reminded of my old pet, Pep. Pep was a rescue dog, a half-grown puppy that was tossed from a moving vehicle and picked up by the Humane Society. We never actually figured out what breed he was, but he did look remarkably similar to a Canaan Dog. (I like the idea of him being a purebred doggy prince disguised as a mutt. It feels like a story from the Bible. Or a Disney movie.)
In his memory, I present to you “Ode to a Dead Dog.”
You were a good dog, faithful and true,
But I spent many hours calling out after you.
You’d look over your shoulder, pay me no mind,
And head off to the neighbours, so hard to find.
Hunter so mighty, baby rabbits you killed,
And with their small bodies your belly you filled.
(Why is it you left me their front paws and head?
Could you not eat them, so equally dead?)
We took you to classes to learn how to sit,
But you never listened, not one little bit;
Too smart to be bothered, to bright to incline,
You could think your way through most problems just fine.
Came in from the rain all covered in mud,
Jumped into Dad’s bed with an audible thud,
Pooped on the carpet, peed on the floor,
Puked in the kitchen, and then ate some more.
You fought off coyotes two at a time,
We thought you were dead but you healed up just fine.
You loyally guarded our house for ten years,
Barked at the strangers and calmed all our fears,
Warmed up our feet when you laid in the bed,
Licked at our faces until you dropped dead.
Now you can rest under swaying tree limbs,
By the scum-covered pond through which you would swim.
A round pile of stones marks your final dog spot,
Like a small furry Viking was placed in that plot.
May a fire always burn by which you can lie,
In a land where no dogs are destined to die.
May your dreams teem with moles and muskrats to eat,
And may you sleep on the pelts of the coyotes you beat.