Some of you know Spencer, my fourteen-year-old Golden Retriever. This is about him.
Tonight’s stroll around the lake
was comfortable, warm and calm
with the four of us – we two tailless bipeds,
leashed to Ginger and you, all sniffing
the sweet-scented summer air
at a slow pace. We talked our footsteps
in a weave about you and to you, pausing
at the picnic table when you looked tired.
You laid at my feet in the muggy shade
as I scratched behind your ears,
and I thought we could do this for a while.
But as we walked back to the car
I watched as your front leg gave out
and you fell hard onto the crushed gravel
of the path, filling the side of your mouth
with little stones. I called your name
and we rushed to your side as you struggled
to your feet. Your leg trembled as you stood,
and you leaned on me, looking up, panting
while I cleaned the pebbles from your mouth.
You took a few tentative steps, then sighed,
lowered your head and pushed on.
Matching your slow pace,
my eyes as big and wet as your tongue,
I did the same.