It has been almost a month since I let my dog “go gentle into that good night.” Getting over it has been harder than I imagined; she was such a big part of my daily life. But bit by bit I am getting to the point where I do not expect to find her waiting for me when I come home.
I read the poem below on the Poetry Daily site years ago. It has consoled me these last days with images so closely resembling my memories of Cammy.
Towards a Theology Based on Labrador Retrievers
by Tina Kelley
I am arguing in the affirmative: that the Creator moves among us today
in Brooklyn, in the form of a black dog named Addie. Her benevolence is deeper
than the farthest foxhole, her gentleness thick as husky fur. Were she human,
she would sort and fold strangers’ clothing at the laundromat. Were she only a dog,
she would not fetch without being asked. There is abundance in her, like the butterfly
laying its eggs midair. Bountiful and democratic is her spirit: she licks my hand
like a spa treatment, she sleeps, calm back flat by my flank, breathing like a separate sea.
She dreams of the squirrel’s flicking, scolding tail, its visible neener neener neener.
Her vengeance is quick and awful. Yet love of fellowship runs in her blood,
her song like the bird’s that is only heard among other birds. She has taught me
the help given to the soul by the mile-wide lawn dotted with trees, by the tossed scrap.
I believe in her greetings, in the wide-maple way she roams from one scent to another.
Bury me in this part of the park where the dogs run without leashes, mix my ashes
with hers. Shield us in our joy, o protector, o collar. Let her true heart be contagious.
Copyright Tina Kelley
Reprinted with permission