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In Memory of Our Dog, Chaucer

December 19, 2010

Last week our doggie, Chacuer, died.  He was 12 1/2 years old, our first baby, and a key part of our life in many ways.  I wrote this poem to him and read it at a little funeral service we held for him.  We love you and miss you, Chee-Chee!

 How m’ I apposed-ta know?

You came running into the room
            A sun porch
            A scampering of brothers and sisters
                        Then Connie pointed you out
                                    Him – he’s the one
How was I apposed-ta know?
            How much you would teach me
            And what it meant to fall so wildly in love with a doggie
                        My doggie
                        Our little Chee
Before you I only drove through the neighborhood
            Same turns, same buildings
                         How was I apposed-ta know all the other stuff you’d show me
                                    How important it is to stop and sniff everything
                                                Two times
                                    And wee on everything
                                                Even if you don’t gotta wee
                                    And to stop and say hello to your neighbors
                                                To other dogs
                                    To notice the places where there is and isn’t grass,
                                                Or ice or trash
or the first signs of a new season
                        The streets and yards were your world and through you we met
                                    George and Phyllis and Duke and Snowy
How else would we have known to spend afternoons and summer evenings
watching you run around while
watching our friend enjoy yet another drink? 
His love and acceptance of you helped show us what you were all about.
and then you taught me about evening playtime
            waiting for me by the door as I stepped out of the elevator
                        your little tail whipping back and forth
                        your body flat to the ground
                                    before you pounced upwards and rocketed down the hallway
            then a tennis ball or the Frisbee
                        bouncing off other doors
                        as you raced around, spending the saved energy of the day
and there were late night walks and secret wees in the courtyard
and watching you run around after a bath, shaking and rubbing yourself on the furniture
and then your brothers were born and we needed a new house
and you helped us make sure there was a backyard for you to make into the center of the universe
How was I apposed-ta know?
            What did it mean to own a house?
            Where were we supposed to keep the cookies and how many were you supposed to get?
                        Oh – they are right here, you’d always be happy to tell us
                                    And then we’d tell ‘em
                                    Tell you, Chaucer
                                    Tell ‘em we love him so much
                                    And you’re a good boy
                        And then you showed us where the good places to hide your ball were
                                    Always under the biggest piece of furniture
                                    Just like back on Linden Place
                        And then you showed us where on the couch was the perfect place to sit
                                    So you could bark at everyone and tell ‘em
                                    Whatever it was that always seemed to important to tell ‘em
How was I apposed-ta know how hard it would be to go on a vacation, or even to leave the house
            For more than 6 hours at a time?
            Martin loved you and fed you and let you lick his toes while we were gone
                        And then you’d greet us
                        Dancing in circles with excitement
                                    Whether we were gone for two hours or two weeks
                                    You were always happy to be there at the door
                                                And you always had to go first
                                                And you made sure to tell whoever tried to cut in front of you
How was I apposed-ta know what it meant to drive you to the beauty parlor and
            Have you dig your nails into my leg then shiver in fear?
How was I apposed-ta know our whole family would go to Wisconsin for two days
            Just to have your trachea looked at
How was I apposed-ta know we’d fly with you to New Jersey, or bring you to the synagogue,
            Or to the school playground on warm afternoons?
You were mommy’s smee
            Teaching her
how the sunlight moves from one window to the other
when it’s a good time to have a drink or a nap
and how to deal with your humping licking honking and deep breathing
            while talking to clients around the country and world
            you’d show her your belly and snuggle into your little bed
                        and tell her no matter how hard it got
                        she should always remember how cute you are
                                    and how your little tongue hung out of your mouth
                                    and the importance of you in spite of it all
 and you were my chee
            teaching me which chewies were the best
                        which cookies you liked
            making sure I always gave you a little taste of whatever I was eating
            How was I apposed ta know I needed to put my plate on the floor
                        That you licked mommy’s yogurt spoon
                                    And I was always supposed to bring you home a giant meatloaf sandwich?
You snuggled up close to our tushies at night
            Or on the couch for a nap
You barked at repairmen and deliverymen and babysitters
You jumped and licked at Grandma or Grandpa or Uncle Jon or Caitlin, Anna, or Eva
You hid food and chewies under cushions sofas and toys
You showed us how tough you were by pushing your feet backwards and growling
            Often at either little girls or
            Huge dogs that could easily eat you for breakfast
You tracked mud and show around the house, you weed on pillows and blankets
You got it the way of our feet and prevented our children from comfortably joining us
            In the morning
But we always loved you so much so much
You taught us how to love you and we did and you loved us right back as if
            Your whole existence depended on it
You helped us to see the world through your beautiful black eyes
            Even if we sometimes needed to clean the gook out of ‘em
And now, my dearest meech, you are gone
We loved you and your mommy cared for you endlessly and you got to sit on her lap
            During your final minutes of life
            And I got to hold your paw and kiss you goodbye
Now I’m not signing holiday or birthday cards with your pawprint
Now I need to gather the photos and movies of you
            Because it’s those photographs and memories
            All that we have are these to remind us of you
                        Chee chee
                        Jimmy the dose
We love you and we miss you so
There’s a Yorkie-sized hole in our universe
And the bed’s too big without you
One Comment leave one →
  1. Jeff permalink
    December 20, 2010 12:30 pm

    I’m very sorry for your loss.


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