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When grieving the loss of a dog – poems and reflections to help you grieve well.  I put this together for those I know who are grieving the loss of one of their best friends.  It’s a hard truth to remember that we overcome not by walking around but through our pain, sadness and grief.  As you read, reflect and weep may you know God’s comfort.

To honor your dog – leave their name in the comments below – the great ones in good company.

Scroll down for 3 poems, some quotes and a few thoughts… Take what’s helpful and leave the rest.

3 Poems

I’ll Always Love a Dog Named Beau (by Jimmy Stewart)
The House Dog’s Grave (by Robinson Jeffers)
Four-Feet Poem (by Rudyard Kipling)

I’ll Always Love a Dog Named Beau (by Jimmy Stewart)

(View the poem above.)

He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.
Discipline was not his bag

But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.
He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And then I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.
He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire
But the story’s long to tell.
Suffice it to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The Old One and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the Old One was there
And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house – I guess I’m the first to retire.
And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.
He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I’d give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I’d fish it out with a smile.
And before very long He’d tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner In no time at all.

And there were nights when I’d feel him Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I’d pat his head.
And there were nights when I’d feel this stare
And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I’d feel him sigh and I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.
And there are nights when I think I feel that stare

And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he’s not there.
Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,
I’ll always love a dog named Beau.


The House Dog’s Grave (by Robinson Jeffers)

(For Haig, An English Bulldog)

I’ve changed my ways a little: I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream: and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you’d soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read – and I fear often grieving for me –
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope then when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that’s too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided…
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely, I am not afraid, I am still yours.


Four-Feet Poem (by Rudyard Kipling)

I have done mostly what most men do,
And pushed it out of my mind;
But I can’t forget, if I wanted to,
Four-Feet trotting behind.

Day after day, the whole day through —
Wherever my road inclined —
Four-feet said, “I am coming with you!”
And trotted along behind.

Now I must go by some other round, —
Which I shall never find —
Somewhere that does not carry the sound
Of Four-Feet trotting behind.


Quotes:

“If I could only be the person my dog thinks I am.”  J.W. Stephens

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.”  Charles Yu

“If obedience, unconditional love and loyalty are going to get you into heaven, there’s going to be a lot more dogs in heaven than people.”  Richard Rohr

“We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.”  George Eliot


A Few Other Thoughts:

A Quote by Sir Walter Scott:

“I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?”

Two excerpts from John Galsworthy’s essay “Memories,” about his friendship with a dog.

“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they arry away with them so many years of our lives. Yet, if they find warmth therein, who would begrudge them those years that they have so guarded? And whatever they take, be sure they have deserved.”

(I’m especially moved by his reflection of “muteness” in the following.)

“No, no! If a man does not soon pass beyond the thought ‘By what shall this dog profit me?’ into the large state of simple gladness to be with dog, he shall never know the very essence of that companionship which depends not on the points of dog, but on some strange and subtle mingling of mute spirits. For it is by muteness that a dog becomes for one so utterly beyond value; with him one is at peace, where words play no torturing tricks. When he just sits, loving, and knows that he is being loved, those are the moments that I think are precious to a dog; when, with his adoring soul coming through his eyes, he feels that you are really thinking of him.”