I really don’t like dogs—too demanding, too sheddy,
too fur filled with leaves and muck and sticks and grime.
But I loved Jastin who happened to be a dog.
A golden retriever who lost his tail chasing cars, broke a leg
leaping off a wall, had mange and fleas and ticks and ringworm.
The vet said he had the thickest file ever. But his coat was soft,
he smiled a lot, he looked just fine without a tail and most of all
he adored me, followed me around, sat under my desk,
slept on the floor by my bed, although by morning
he was curled up under the comforter snoring by my side.
Jastin, a part time philosopher who pondered butterflies
on spring mornings, watched robins wrestle worms,
studied the stars, especially Sirius and read Sartre late at night.
Jastin, a master thief, sneaking up to the local elementary school,
grabbing turkey sandwiches, ski caps, wool mittens
and scarves, stuffed bears, and Barbie dolls.
Principal Lee paid regular visits…scowling and lecturing,
both of us knowing full well it would happen again.
Then Jastin got sick, refused dog food, collapsed on his bed.
I made him scrambled eggs, fed him vanilla ice cream,
more for me than for him. To let me pretend a little longer.
His legs wobbled, he couldn’t stand and peed all over himself.
I wrapped him in a soft green blanket and took him
to the vet for one last shot. I held him long after he was still,
my shoulders shaking. The vet handed me a card.
MOVING PAST PET LOSS. Call Cindy
I handed it back. I imagine Cindy is a good counselor,
but I needed to get home to put out a bowl of Kibble.
And look for Sirius in the night sky.