In my family when we had pets they were always dogs. The first dog I remember had a shiny black coat and dark, dark eyes. He was actually my grandmother’s, but since we lived with her from time to time, by extension he belonged to us all. His name was Sparky, and my older brother spent more time with him than I did; my brother and Sparky were free to roam the city neighborhood at will.
The other dog I remember from my childhood was a big white dog who lived a couple of doors down from my grandmother’s house. Every time I left the house, he would terrify me with his barking and running out into either his front or backyard–depending upon whether I was attempting to use the back alley or the front street as my escape route. Needless to say, it took me many years to get over my fear of dogs.
When my husband and I married and had our first child, a beautiful golden collie Jennie made her backyard home with us. For the first time, I felt an attachment to an animal. When she died, we bought two black and white border collies that we named Beth and Boomer. They lived for many years as pets to our family which by now had expanded to three children. So, from Sparky to Jennie to Beth and Boomer, I know how pets can become an integral part of our lives.
I wrote the following poem THE PASSING OF GENERAL for a friend who had just experienced the loss of her beloved pet. It is a testament to God’s creation of all creatures.
THE PASSING OF GENERAL
Life and death
Bring heart-breaking times,
Not the least of which
Is the passing of a cherished pet.
When that happens
We reflect again
On an intellect and distinctive character
Which say, “Yes, God made me, too!”
Your love and nurturing of General
Brings richness to your own portrait by the Master Artist
As he continues to embellish it
With brush strokes from the palette of life experiences
Until one day that finite image is finished and left behind
As a treasured memory for family and friends.
And, just maybe, General will also be in that portrait
Lying lovingly at your feet.
Written Originally as an Expression of Condolences
For a Friend Upon the Death of Her Canine Buddy
By Connie Carlisle Polley, Revised 2018