It was no surprise. Bandit, our little red cattle dog, age 17 had been declining for months. Like any elderly soul, we dealt with his incontinence and difficulty walking. We put a doggy ramp on the porch stairs but on his last days put a sling under him to help him outside.
I’ve written about Bandit before in other posts- Stroller Dog and In the Company of Another Old Dog. I’ve loved all my dogs but he was exceptional in so many ways. When his arthritis got too bad I had altered a jogging stroller and a bike trailer so he would not miss out on our outdoor excursions.
The day before Bandit took his last breath, we carried him out to his beloved stroller. I took him for one last ride down our favorite country road to the rushing creek swollen by the recent rains. Even in his declining state, I could see the pure delight in his face as he took it all in.
We buried him out in a quiet corner of the yard under a big pine tree. I fashioned a cairn in his honor to mark his grave and hung his collar on top. Bandit basically died of old age, wearing himself out by living well. If we can only be so lucky.
We borrow the souls of our four-legged friends. At some point, we have to let them go. Their passing leaves holes in our hearts but in return, they give us such love and fond memories.
Rest In Peace
Jan. 16, 2021
The following poem speaks to all the dogs that have shared my life’s journey…..
IN MY GOOD DEATH
by Dalia Sheven
I will find myself waist deep in high summer grass. The humming
shock of the golden light. And I will hear them before I see
them and know right away who is bounding across the field to meet
me. All my good dogs will come then, their wet noses
bumping against my palms, their hot panting, their rough faithful
tongues. Their eyes young and shiny again. The wiry scruff of
their fur, the unspeakable softness of their bellies, their velvet ears
against my cheeks. I will bend to them, my face covered with
their kisses, my hands full of them. In the grass I will let them knock