I miss the click of his toenails on my wood floors — the floors I once worried he’d scratch. I still listen for the jingle jangle of his ID tag, that tinkling symphony that announced “here I come.” I miss the way he’d squeeze his sleek frame, all muscle and sinew, between my legs as I tried to pour cereal or make turkey sandwiches in the morning. I long to rub my hands along his silky black fur, to look into his wise Tootsie Roll eyes.

We were cold blooded people before Casey – the creatures in our care had been iguanas, a cool chameleon, a corn snake, various ill-fated fish. Then, after much mulling over, after weighing the pitfalls and obligations of pet ownership, we warmed up, and adopted a retired racing Greyhound. He of mighty quads and hamstrings, of 40 mph sprints, ears tattooed with his racing ID, six career victories, and a track name that hit me like a message from above: “Stepuptotheplate.”

One never regrets stepping up to the plate. This is what you get when you say “Yes”: a warm tongue that gently licks peanut butter off your finger. A regal hound that turns heads at the dog park and blitzes past other pups. A loyal companion. And eventually, even somehow thankfully, a broken heart.

As with the many names of God,
I repeat his name often –he doesn’t know
my name, he doesn’t know this
is winter, he doesn’t know
he could kill me with those teeth.
He listens to my chatter, my hum,
my chikk-chikk like a squirrel;
my noises keep him interested
and unworried. He scribbles
along the scent of air, his nails click
on wet black stones, he pulls his way
toward red lights on Fair Oaks Avenue,
he leads me back to start.
From “Black Dog” by James DenBoer


~ by Stephanie on 03/30/2010.

3 Responses to “Adieu.Loyal.Sport”

  1. A few things…first, I am sorry for your loss. I miss seeing you and your beautiful animal together in the hood. And, the risk of a broken heart is always worth it with (wo)man’s best friend…such joy! Finally it was a beautiful tribute and an amazing poem. Thanks.

  2. I am so sorry for you all. I was moved by your beautiful dog when we were at Susie’s for the funeral. I still remember the first time I saw him, how he walked so gracefully, so quietly, so elegantly into the room – your gray greydog.

  3. I don’t know how I missed this post but am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved dog. My heart goes out to all of you. And this piece is a beautiful eulogy —

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: