Saturday, July 04, 2015

YESTERDAY I HELPED A FRIEND DIE





He always loved to ride with me in the truck
We laid him to rest in this lovely setting

  stayed with him all night 
 This photo gave me a spooky surprise.  At the very spot of his grave appeared the shadow imprint of a dog in the bushes.
And before we left we found another surprise--this touching sculpture of a dog angel atop another doggie grave--only steps away.
Luke has company

LUCAS

Yesterday I helped a friend die
the way I'd like to go;
loving hands holding me;
pink fluid sending me to eternity in seconds.

He was my companion's dog
but I loved him as my own.
We'd traveled years together.

I've known him in the sunshine of his days,
content as only animals can be;
bouncy, playful, grateful to be alive;
giving and taking love from one and all.

Rescued deep in Mexico 13 years ago
from unhappy prospects;
taken on a lifelong adventure---RV style
'round the continent;
walking a thousand trails with his mistress;
dancing a thousand dances for his treats;
sleeping thousands of nights at her feet;
knowing no greater joy than her approval;
fetching with the gusto of a being on fire with purpose.

He bounced as he walked, tail high in a curl
communicating when need be with the clarity of spoken words:
hanging back with a reluctance that shouted
"I don't want to go!"
One day he found a dried up smelly fish
and would not give it up
she exhausted herself trying--then gave up.
Luke said: "I really really want this."

He seemingly yearned for a male in his life,
and when I was around, it was me.
He would literally knock at my door with his paw,
knowing he was welcome and treats given.

He had a bearing as regal as a king.
You would mistake him for the dogs in Egyptian art.
Sometimes, atop a boulder he posed like Rin Tin Tin.

He was cared for but not pampered; 
having a place in the scheme of things;
responsibilities and rules like the rest of us
but confident always that he was included.

He trembled uncontrollably at gunshots and fireworks
till cinched up tightly in his thunder suit.

At age 98 he was stricken with a fatal tumor;
the Vet said only days remained.
We made them days of much love.

When the pain came we let him go yesterday as I have said.
I watched his last sad steps with his mistress
and my grief came heaving out.
I hardly made so great a scene when Mother died.
Leaning on the hood of my truck I sobbed unashamed;
astonished at the depth of my sadness.
The Vet and his wife consoled with great skill.

We carried his body in my truck to a beautiful spot 
overlooking Georgia O'keeffe's  famous Ghost Ranch.
Together we dug his grave and placed him in sleeping posture facing East.
We layered his body with sweet sage 
and included an heroic Jack London dog story.

We went back today to complete our goodbye with incense
and beautiful sounds.  We tied his leash to a nearby tree.
I hope there is a doggy heaven!


ADDENDUM: Carl has pointed us to a youtube poem about dogs that will swell your heart. See it here

18 comments:

Barney (The Old Fat Man) said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Bob said...

Beautiful story, I love my dog the same, wish they could stay with us forever but rejoicing for the love we share.

heyduke50 said...

sigh... such a sad event...

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute! Thank you Randy! Linda in Ky.

VtChris said...

Sorry for your loss Randy. So reminiscent of the time you were there for me when I had to let go of Sophie. Just about this time 3 years ago. I have often told friends that I couldn't of asked for a better companion than you at such a time. I love your poem. Here is another one I think you will like, author unknown.

You're giving me a special gift,
So sorrowfully endowed,
And through these last few cherished days,
Your courage makes me proud.

But really, love is knowing
When your best friend is in pain,
And understanding earthly acts
Will only be in vain.

So looking deep into your eyes,
Beyond, into your soul,
I see in you the magic, that will
Once more make me whole.

The strength that you possess,
Is why I look to you today,
To do this thing that must be done,
For it's the only way.

That strength is why I've followed you,
And chose you as my friend,
And why I've loved you all these years...
My partner 'til the end.

Please, understand just what this gift,
You're giving, means to me,
It gives me back the strength I've lost,
And all my dignity.

You take a stand on my behalf,
For that is what friends do.
And know that what you do is right,
For I believe it too.

So one last time, I breathe your scent,
And through your hand I feel,
The courage that's within you,
To now grant me this appeal.

Cut the leash that holds me here,
Dear friend, and let me run,
Once more a strong and steady dog,
My pain and struggle done.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Mitchell

Anonymous said...

Luke spent some time with us here on No Name Key where he learned to run down a spiral staircase and the joys of chewing on a coconut husk. He kept us safe from Key Deer and raccoons.

There was no dog as lucky as Lukester - adopted from Mexico and immigrated to the States, had a front seat in a truck that was always taking him for a ride, and a lady who loved him dearly. He will be sorely missed - but will be remembered.

LSD

Anonymous said...

A beautiful poem fitting for the passing of a loved one. I have a pet that's nearing the end of his life and I too hope he knows how much he's meant to me. So sorry for your loss.

farmlady said...

This was stunningly beautiful. Thank you for sharing this animal's life, and death, with us. RIP Luke.

ron said...

She was lucky to have him share her life and you are lucky to have shared in their lives. Maybe there is a reason that "dog" is god spelled backwards. Thanks for sharing this story with us. Luke was clearly loved.

Anonymous said...

Randy, Dogs become part of the family. I'm sorry for your loss. RIP Lucas.

Omar in CA

Randy said...

Thanks all for taking time to comment and for your insights and poem. It really helps knowing that others share our sadness.

Suncoast SSAAA said...

So pleased to see your softer side
I lost my baby Sasha three years ago and wished I could go with her.
Have never loved anyone more except my mother.
I am happy to see you living out your dreams

bayrider said...

There is a doggy heaven, they live it every day they share with us and knowing how well loved they are. They know it every time we tell them 'time to go walkin' or holler 'truck ride!' or 'I got something for you'. That dog is rich in spirit and why not, he has never known anything but love and care and joyous fun.

My dogs have spent almost every moment of their lives with me and we are so attuned to each other we understand each other perfectly. When you are fortunate to share such a bond it's as close to heaven as we shall ever see on this earth.

Liz Rivard said...

Dear Randy,
Loved your poem about Luke, it was so beautiful! Thank You For The Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans, Ripples of Luke's life, he will, for always carry on in my heart. <3
Sincerely,
Liz

Carl said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ7AfSO2fKs

Randy said...

Carl: I watched the youtube you recommended--it was perfect. Hope you won't mind if I put the link on the blog proper so people can easily click on it and enjoy it also.

Laurie said...

Sending much love to you and Anne as you navigate this tender hearted loss.