My pet store refugee, four months crammed in a small cage with another dog. Stinky but beautiful, I knew you were the one. They had become concerned about you, you'd been there so long. Don't worry, handsome boy, you're coming home with me.
It was obvious you'd never had space before. At first, your gait was clumsy and unsure, but within a couple of days, your herding instincts kicked in and you were running my other two dogs around the yard like a champ. (They weren't thrilled about being "sheep" though!)
You were a handful, chewing things, peeing in the house for weeks, scared of the dishwasher. One particularly difficult night, I gathered you up and told you, "I know you are very special, little boy. I don't know how, or how I know, but I know it's true."
Not long after that, you seemed to catch hold in life. You began to shine. So much energy! So much joy! And so tireless! You were a brat, too, dropping your toy just out of my reach, again and again, or standing exactly far enough away that a turn of your head put the plaything out of my reach as you grinned impishly, squeaking it, egging me on to keep trying. (My hallway walls are still streaked green, red, and blue from all the toys that caromed off of them for you to chase.)
You only loved me, and no one else, though you grew to like my son late in your life. When guests visited, you silently placed yourself between us. No one else could even touch you. Only your mom. At bed time, you'd bring your toys for me to throw. Why sleep when we could be playing?!? You learned early on that begging didn't fly, but that turning your cheery smile up to Warp Factor 11 worked like a charm. And you had a trick of coming up on the couch, pretending to want a scritch-scratch, and then plopping your large self on me and turning both your winning smile and your Aussie Shepherd stare on me, for a cookie. You always got one.
Whatcha doin', Mom?
When you were 8 years old, you were diagnosed with diabetes. You lost your sight shortly after that, but you knew your home and your yard so well, a stranger wouldn't even have known you were blind. I had to give you insulin shots twice a day for the last 3 years of your life. I never minded. I'd have done anything for you. Your toenails used to get caught in your curls sometimes, and you would patiently wait for me to notice and come carefully free them. Every day, I always came straight home from work to see you and take care of my sweet boy. You were my whole heart, you know? One day, I had a breakdown on the way home, and was two hours late. You were panicked and beside yourself, and I was too. Didn't you know I would always come home to you, no matter what?
Bosco the Brave vs. the Snowstorm
All you had to do was walk up to me and you were sure of a happy greeting. You always believed that I could fix anything, make any situation right for you, and I always did. But as you got frailer and more unsteady, I worried about you. As winter approached and I remembered how you struggled the year before despite my best efforts to clear your way from the door to the yard, I knew i couldn't ask you to go through it again. You were 11 years old and more dear to me than I can possibly say. I held you and told you that I didn't want you to go, but if you needed to, you had my blessing. I cried. In less than a week, your back leg failed due to the diabetes and you could no longer stand or walk. The next day we said goodbye. I was there with you, and so was my son, who you had decided was the one other person on planet Earth that you would allow to pet you.
My son Joe holding his doggy brother at the vet
Bye, baby. I love you so much. I still feel you close by. One day, when my own time comes, I will see you again, my bright-hearted boy. Until then...tears from missing you, smiles at remembering our time together, and your paw print forever on my heart.
I said, "De la paix du ciel, je suis venu pour la guerre."
Men who spoke against me, who minced and mocked, have seen their teeth and tongues curl and fall like leaves under the November eye of God. Now, as rodent churchmen scurry to lay a puny trap, I light candles for those I pray for, and dance on the graves of the rest.
I am not afraid; I was born to rise in righteous flames untouched to Heaven and there be judged-- leaving behind the clever, the craven, and just my body's dust. ________
This is a rewrite of an earlier poem "Novembre" which I have reworked for Brendan's "hero" challenge at Toads.
"De la paix du ciel, je suis venu pour la guerre." = "From the peace of Heaven, I have come for the war."