Lament for Dutchess



I spent a few years hating dogs.  I thought that I was more a cat person than a dog person.  My experience with you has shown me something different of myself.  You won me immediately from the first day my wife brought you home; you were so scared, so shy.  But you’ve never gotten rid of your shyness, your playfulness, or your sweet, sad sincerity.  You never got rid of your separation anxiety, yet you had a sense of humor.  You are our clown… our innocent.  I know you were human in another life.  Those expressive eyes of yours have knowledge, have kindness.  I am writing this with tears in my eyes.  I know I’m not as much a part of your life as I once was, but you are with me every day.  And your consistent loving welcome when I walk through the door is reassuring.


You have been my wife’s rock when I wasn’t.


It doesn’t take an x-ray to know you’ve got an enlarged heart.  Your heart is big enough to grab a hold of everyone you meet.  You gave us something special that only a companion like you can provide.  I never thought I’d feel the way I do about you.  It’s been a long time since I’ve loved a pet like I’ve loved you.  You are much more than that, though.  You became a familiar to me… and it took me the longest time to recognize it.  Maybe too long.  You are familiar to my wife as well, giving her comfort when none was to be found elsewhere.  I know you are ten years old now… relatively old for a dog, especially a basset hound.  How long can you live?  I hoped for ten more years (unrealistic).  Maybe I’m over-reacting.  Maybe you will live at least five more good years.  Maybe you don’t really have a tumor.  We’ll know in another week or two.  Maybe you aren’t suffering in your silent, melancholic way.  My shattered heart cannot be splintered any further- I’m just now trying to glue it back together.  You helped heal me with the love you’ve given, with the laughter you engender because you’re a ham bone.  Please dear one… please be okay.  Please don’t suffer.  Please don’t die.  Not yet.  The time isn’t right.  Your passing will never be painless for us, but we want… no, we need… a few more good years with you.  I ask the gods and goddesses to grant you this… to grant us this selfish wish.  However, I don’t want this if you are uncomfortable or in pain.   I could not bear to see you like that.  It is, more often than not, hard for me to love.  There are three exceptions to this… and you are one… because it’s never been hard for me to love you.  You’ve uncovered a part of me I thought was dead and buried… a part that appreciates the unique loyalty and undying companionship that only a four legged canine friend can provide.  There was a void there, one that I wasn’t even aware existed, that you filled quite naturally.  For that I am thankful.

I love you Dutchie… please don’t go.

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