Your soft and furry skin was like a prize
that felt as if it were a therapy,
reward for when we were too short of time
to pander to your young demands, and yet
you never once gave any less, and more
besides, you did not waver in your loyalty.
That wrinkled face, so soft, with deep dark eyes,
appealed, like downcast seal, to pliant hearts.
We’d have to have a bypass of compassion
to resist enchantment of the first degree,
and look away to stop the heart from melting
with just one sight of sideways tilting head.
You’d run with gay abandon, flapping lips
lifting wings on wind of gambolling speed
back legs attempt to pass your front, that looks
as if it’s doomed to fail. You still succeed.
So, to the welcome after-walk effects;
that cosy warmth against our resting feet.
As innocence turned into character
the stubbornness, the guile, the subtle smile
to greet us at the door, when we got home,
that knowing wag of tail, well versed in art
of language you know well; we only guess,
rewarding you with scratch behind your ear.
But most of all, that special body wag,
the faintest sound of tinkling collar tags,
the clearly unrestrained brief glottal yip,
…but then, of late
it must be said, it wasn’t quite the same.
You sniff a tree, as if to pay your due.
The gay abandon lost somewhere in memory,
the softness of your coat turned coarse,
your eyes are slightly foggy, as they search
for some of that shear pleasure; the sound of food
no longer holds its sway on your desires;
hanging on to life and love at home.
I kissed your wrinkled face just one last time,
but knew that you’d not want for more delay.
If you could speak, I feel you’d say: ‘enough’.
To each, their time and so to yours this day.
The hardest part was having all your trust
in us, to make that last … that final call.
© 2013 John Anstie