When I was 6 a dog had puppies in the neighborhood, 4 adorable puppies that my parents decided to let each one of us have. Everyone got to pick before me so my siblings got the cute ones first. Mel the fluffy dog, Sarah – the one with all the wrinkles and Andy, the one with the black patch over his eye. I got to pick last and the only one left was the muttiest looking one of all, a black puppy with a white rusty looking patch on it’s chin and a white belly. I loved her and she loved me most. I remember her giving me so many kisses when I picked her up that I called her Lovey and she was my best friend.
a cold white moon sits in judgment
death stalks a small childs dog
adulthood the proper punishment
for puberty’s sins gains foothold
and laughter turns to tears turns to
Mel’s dog was the first to go and then Sarah’s dog Wrinkles passed away. We moved sometime after that. Andy and I were the only two with puppies at this point. Our new house was in Maryland with an enormous backyard covered in forest, a creek-bed and fresh raspberries. One day Lovey was gone and the days passed… and passed and no one found her…. Until one morning I woke up at 6am and left in my nightgown, I was 7 and it was dark and cold. I remember I was barefoot, but determined and at some point I heard a noise coming out of the ground by the creek; bending over I found my dog Lovey stuck in a hole with newborn puppies. She wouldn’t leave the hole because one of them didn’t make it and she didn’t want to leave it behind.
I awoke my Mother with a fright, in dirty feet and a muddy nightgown. She came and carefully took each of the puppies out and coaxed Lovey to come out of the hole by making it big enough to get the one that didn’t make it. It was a sad moment for me, seeing Lovely nuzzle the puppy that passed away and my Mom trying to show her that it was no longer there. Eventually she moved off to her other puppies, my Mom said it was close for all of them because they’d been in the hole for a few days. It was a miracle that I’d found them.
Lovey grew to a ripe old age and in her last year she was blind and had arthritis. She was always a raggedy old dog with matted black fur, but she was always happy. She lived at my Grandmother’s with her companion dog, Charlie, who was in ways our little brother Josh’s dog. Charlie passed away before her, even though she was older, and she spent those last years pretty much alone out in the country. The day before she died my sister visited her and for no reason just decided to take her out. She had her groomed, her hair done, little bows poking out past her ears. Melanie said she was so happy, so incredibly happy, and then she went to bed and didn’t wake up.
I was thinking of Lovey today, thinking of the morning we’d found each other out by a creek looking eye to eye through a hole in the ground. She lost so much, my old mutty dog, and yet she found courage to move forward toward the life still waiting for her; for that she died an old happy woman with ribbons in her hair. I hope we see each other in the end, her looking from the darkness while I look in from the light, and somewhere meet in the middle.