Saturday, 13 April 2013

On his own terms

National Poetry Writing Month, a poem a day, April 2013
Day 13 

Harry, a resident for about ten years at the dogs' home where I work part time, died earlier this year. This is his story, as far as we know it.

He walked into our lives one morning,
stood in the lane looking at the gate.
We didn’t do much, we stared back,
he was clearly prepared to wait.

When he appeared in the yard,
his eyes softly asking: ‘Please, may I stay?’
we found him a bed and left him be;
we didn’t have the steel to send him away.

We pondered and wondered but we knew what we’d do.
We let him sleep all day and have a good rest,
we fed him and found him some friends;
and from then on …  we all just did our best.

He lived in peace for more than ten years.
He had his own pals, with fields for a run;
plenty of good food in his bowl twice a day;
and a lovely pen where he could lie in the sun.

He ran up the fields every day with joy in his heart.
Then came the morning that dawned very cold -
we knew he was slowing down and facing the end -
he had started to look, really, quite old.

He ran first thing, happy to be free,
up the hill on the hard frozen ground;
and it was at the top that he fell down …
among his friends - they were all around.

He fought for his breath and it looked like the end.
Brown eyes watched us from a black hairy face.
We sat and talked to him in quiet voices,
this dog who knew what he wanted and found his place.

The vet was called to help him out,
and we carried him down and let him lie.
But he left us as he came - on his own terms;
… this beautiful dog made his own time to die.