How Dogs Grieve, A Cleveland Story

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How Dogs Grieve, A Cleveland Story

By Linda Beane, Animals In Print

The grieving dog lies upon the cool, barren floor,
His head pressed low between two splayed paws.
Golden fur spews out in tatters beside him.
His eyelids hang low like a basset hound
And he stares blankly into space.
Waiting, listening, hoping for her return..... The familiar chatter of her wheelchair is no more.
He aches for her soft call, only silence replies.
Time becomes vague, a cocoon of loneliness and grief engulfs him.
Wrapped in its tenacious gloom, he remembers.
Many years earlier the man had brought him here,
A young pup, fluffy and round.
He had placed him excitedly beside her on the sofa.
She gathered him up tenderly into her arms.
He was soothed by the gentle love of her crippled hands.
Her smile, her joy, her sweet smell, this he still remembered.
The happy, loving, welcome of her embrace.
It was the beginning of a strong bond.
The woman and the pup....he loved her so.
How she would laugh at his silliness.
He played and showed off...... so proud of his antics.
He would fill the room with clumsy, puppy dances and wild dashes at
imagined foes. Happy in his home he flourished ..... but she..she began to decline.
She had trouble walking and fell down many times.
He would tremble beside her crumpled body and worry as she struggled to stand.
He loved her so deeply.
Time passed .................
Often she hid her face behind uncontrollable shaking hands.
Tears slid between her numb fingers, cascading down her arms toward him.
He could hear their whispers, as they told of her sorrow.
Understanding he loved her more..... When she could no longer walk a wheelchair became her throne.
His Queen, she would roll toward him.
She talked softly, nuzzling her face in his fur.
And he would smile his doggy grin for her and she was pleased. The man was with them more, hovering about her, looking sad.
The dog watched in nervous silence, their home became quietly frantic.
Many people came to see her and he paced about protectively. When they were alone, she spoke often to him, confiding her secret
anguish and fears.
He would press his cold nose against her cheek, his soothing brown eyes searching her face.
The man brought home a new bed for her, it made funny noises and moved.
The dog stayed close beside her.
She rested all the time within the caves of the blankets,
Her hand no longer caressed his head,
But her tender voice stroked his heart,
His tail thumped in response for their souls were as one.
And he loved her so very much.... One morning when the dog awoke beside her, she didn't respond to his loving nudges.
The man came into the room, spoke to her, touched her face and lifted her head.
She didn't answer, but lied still upon the bed.
The dog, like a phantom shadow, could only watch.
No one seemed to notice him as the room filled with strangers.
The man left the room and then...then..........
They took Her away.
THEY TOOK HER OUT OF THE HOUSE
COVERED IN A WHITE SHEET.
The snow cringed under the magnitude of tragedy.........
And then she was gone.
The man cried, he cried and reached for the dog.
The dog, confused, snuggled close feeling the strange echoes of gone.
.........................................................
The dog waited, waited for her return.
Four years have passed since they took her away,
But he still waits and grieves, devoted to her, their bond is not broken.
...............................................................................................
Epilogue: 2003
The old dog lies upon the cool barren floor,
His head nestled between two motionless paws.
Golden fur spews out in tatters beside him.
His eyelids hang low like a basset hound, staring blankly.
Her beloved dog .........
He has gone ... finally, happily, joyfully gone to join her.
She used to dream she could walk again... enjoying the fresh dew kisses of clover under her feet..
Now their prayers are answered and somewhere they are running, the dog and the woman, running free... together.. barefoot in the grass.