Thursday, March 27, 2014


photo © 2014 jennifer wagner

extra treats,
longer hugs.

laryngeal paralysis
& age
are taking you
the next phase.

we mentally
try to hear
the future

of hefty paws
padding the floor,
and your bones
with the creaking of the stairs.

we say things like:

remember when he stole that entire ham?
we’ll never have another dog
like him.
he’s happy;
he’s had a good life.
i want to be the one to dig his grave,
when you know,

your slow-wag tail,
your chocolate eyes
melt us

and each of us
for how
we can learn to say,

do svidaniya, drug.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

I’ve been working on this one for a while.  Too emotional.  Our big, mellow Labrador, Druke, is 13 years old and the signs are all there.  “Druke” is how we spell his name, pronounced “drug/droogk” meaning “friend” in Russian.

до свидания, друг


Janet Martin said...

Jen Someone just sent me this...and I'm passing it on to you with love and hugs.

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.

The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was
crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.

She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to
heaven, God would recognize her.

I told her that I thought that we could, so she dictated these words:

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog?
Abbey died yesterday and is with you in heaven.
I miss her very much.

I 'm happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her.
She likes to swim and play with balls.

I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.

I really miss her.
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith,
addressed it to God/Heaven.

We put our return address on it.

Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she
said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.
That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.

A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet.
I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch
addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.

Meredith opened it.
Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'

Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God
in its opened envelope.

On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I
recognized her right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore.
Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.

Abbey loved being your dog.

Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to
keep your picture in so I'm sending it back to you in this little book for
you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you
write it and sending it to me.

What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find.
I am wherever there is love.


Brian Miller said...

hugs. it is best friend growing up was a pups...when he passed it was hard...last christmas we lost our cat of 12 years to age....her last days were hard...they are family....and it is hard.

Wayne said...

Nice one....thanks for sharing

Susan said...

Excellent. This needed a poem, and the poem needed you to write it. Thank you.

Wendy Bourke said...

So sad. My daughter and her husband lost their beloved Calliope Cat this past weekend. (She was almost 20 years old). It is heart wrenching, when these little companions pass.

Gabriella said...

Very moving poem! It is always very hard to lose a pet. They become part of the family in their own way. We mourn when they die and their absence can indeed make the house feel very empty.

Mary said...

This breaks my heart, Jen. It is hard to let go of a beloved companion of so many years. I have had to be with two dogs in such circumstance. I have three dogs now, and I pray they will all be with me for a while. I think losing a dog is almost harder than losing a human, as you cannot speak to / explain to a dog...and let them know how much you love them.

Fireblossom said...

Oh gosh. My 11 year old buddy has been struggling of late, too, and it's been hard, but he is rallying. I wish you and your Friend all the best. I know very well how very hard it is to lose them, especially the "special" ones. My Sundance passed in 1993, but I still think of him every single day.

Jennifer Wagner said...

Thanks Janet...brought tears...very sweet and touching...

Laurie Kolp said...

Aww... this is so sad (Janet's comment, too). We had a yellow lab, too. But she developed a mass in her brain and was so miserable. Enjoy each day!

Grace said...

This breaks my heart, hugs ~ Really moving post Jennifer ~

Grace said...

What a lovely post, thank you ~

Ella said...

Oh, this makes me sad and sorry! My dog is reaching that age and the signs are there. My son moved out and returned and he wasn't excited like he usually is to see him. We have to help him onto the couch....oh, I know this slow descent and I don't want it either.....So sad Jen! I hope and pray we get to keep our family members a bit longer! (hugs)

RMP said...

beautiful and touching...I can understand how emotional this was and strength it took.

Kathe W. said...

oh my- this touched my heart- our dogs- our cats even our chickens are so special. That's because they don't judge. Unconditional love.

Hope said...

a pet is a part of you, no doubt and i'm sure it was very difficult for you to put how you feel into words but you mastered it beautifully. thank you for sharing!

janetld said...

wow, what a wonderful, tender story!

janetld said...

I agree: quite touching, and sad, of course. They're members of our family. Take care...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Jennifer, my heart is saddened at the parting that is coming for you.......I love that his name means friend in Russian. How lovely. I am so sorry. Give him lots of hugs and tell him you love him lots....I so wish for just half an hour with my Pup to do the same. I still miss him so much, as you will your beautiful friend when his time comes. The good thing is he had a good life and has been well loved.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

So so so hard to see our pets going through something like this. They really are family aren't they?

Margaret said...

Awe… I love this.

Margaret said...

We think we "save" them and "gift" them with a great home, a great life. But it really is the other way around, isn't it. (my dog once grabbed a whole rotisseri chicken off the counter and we ran after him in hot pursuit - legs, wings went a flying, but he ATE that bird!) He also stole raw pork chops out of my back car when I was carrying the groceries in (ate the plastid too!!) He was one crazy, happy (always hungry) dog. ;P

Rajesh said...

The end is never easy. You can't find a substitute for 13 years of loving togetherness.

Brandee Shafer said...

I believe they meet us on the other side. I dream my horse sometimes. God bless.

Jae Rose said...

You can be prepared for a loss but you can't stop how it feels..I hope we can convey our love for our special friends even if they can't understand human words..I am sure that helps them

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I so understand this piece--and I am sorry--for you and for me. Moy drug is 11 and a half--and I have similar thoughts and feelings as we enter this part of our lives together. On another note, do you speak Russian? I learned Russian before I learned English

Donna Smith said...

Our cat unexpectedly fell ill and died in January, and before we got home from the vet, I had picked out a rescue cat. I couldn't bear the empty feeling for too long. It sure helps heal the heart to add a new family member when one suddenly leaves.

Jennifer Wagner said...

I wish! You are amazing Audrey...did I read you sing also in Russian...would be wonderful to hear you.

Jennifer Wagner said...

Thank you everyone for your warm and caring thoughts...appreciate you all...

Sarav said...

Jennifer, both goosebumps and sniffles. So hard. We had a big husky shepherd mix who my husband siad was "evolved" He just had a way about him, like he understood everything. He was incredibly gentle, too. ( unless you were what he considered prey) They bring so much love and joy. Thank you for the beautiful poem and sharing with us :-) hugs to you, your family and Druke

Sumana Roy said...

The preparation is harder....all one can do is making the last moments comfortable...thanks for the share..

alan1704 said...

Chocolate eyes melts us - beautiful but hard to take and write. This is a powerful emotional ride, my heart goes out to you.

Unknown said...

So beautiful and brave for sharing. Chin up!