Photo & Poem: Old Dog

A deliberate old dog pacing the yard fence
with gray dreadlocks and a stiff stride. A
mixed-breed badly constructed, a heavy
body on spindly legs, but no longer content

to nap. He has worn a path but remains a bit
bewildered, not trusting his eyes or ears, his
nose intent on the breeze. The distance calls him
just beyond. Restless and thirsty, a scoop added

at dinner to hold his weight. Call his name.
He appreciates the reminder with a wag
but doesn’t come. Old dogs do as they like.
It’s cooler after dark, but he can’t find his way

to the dog door, so he stands and barks in a
flat tone, one after another, plaintive and blunt.
Here. Here. So, I go there, welcome him up
one step and in the door. A drink, water trailing

from his whiskers across the linoleum, he goes
out the dog door. Soon he calls again. Here. Here.
Answer the bark, hold the door wide as often
as he wants. Come in, old man, welcome home.

Anna Blake for Relaxed & Forward

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36 thoughts on “Photo & Poem: Old Dog”

  1. Confident in their trusty caretaker and secure in their identity as a predator, old dogs have no fear except perhaps occasionally of being alone. God bless those folks who will get up and open that door a thousand times as if it were the first.

  2. Thank you, Anna for this blog. My dogs are stil quite young, 6 and 4, but these years flew by. Sooner than later they will become old dogs, too, at least I hope they will become old, there’s never a guarantee, especially since they are rescues and had a bad start in life. Dog’s lives are so shockingly short. Every time again. Old dogs need more attention, probably, but they are so worth it. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy their relative youth for now but also looking forward to the time when they get slower and depend more on me, to remind them to eat, opening the door more often and ultimately accepting their signals that it’s time to let them go….

  3. Sad-seems like we’ve all experienced this, especially when we so love our dogs. They bring joy & comfort to our lives as well as many happy memories. I can’t imagine not sharing my life with my dogs & experiencing all those wonderful times, but the final goodbyes are most difficult.

  4. Saying goodbye always breaks my heart, but I can’t imagine a life without pups. Thank you for this beautiful poem, Anna.

  5. I will read this to my 12-year-old rescued Shih Tzu , mostly blind and deaf, bandy legs and all, confined to a pen, bed, or lap inside the house. But he will let one know if he is unhappy with his situation, with insistent wuffles , morphing into his Shih Tzu scream if help does not come soon enough. He is still our snuggler and we gladly tend to his old dog confusion and “I don’t know what I want and nothing else will do” moments. Sweet Boomer!

  6. Got an email from my cousin this am telling me about todays blog & how teary it made her. I put off reading it till now knowing how it would hit me – had a dentist appt & didnt want to show up all swollen eyes etc!!! Just got back from vets with my Suzie dog – we will try another antibiotic & continue the baths 3 times a week for whatever this skin mess is. She dearly loves to go in the car but since I need my son to help her get in – our only trips are to go to the vets. Shes not crazy about THAT – but its the ride in the car that counts apparently. There has been a slight (very) improvement – loss of hair & these darn bumps, but my vet feels its a good sign so we will keep trying. Shes 13 (Suzy) – my age in dog years! May have mentioned that here before – if so, sorry.
    As always, Anna – just right!

    • Thanks, Maggie. Just as an aside, I’m sure you have tried changing what she’s eating. I know so many dogs that improve on a raw diet (or freeze-dried). I’m sure it’s obvious and you are trying it. Best wishes for your good Suzie dog.

  7. My eyes are a little leaky reading this one. It’s almost instinctive to feel sorry for old dog, but for those that grow old and have been loved… they/we are the lucky ones. Sadness and grief begin to creep in as we anticipate the goodbye, but without them, there was no love.
    Bittersweet, but again, we are the lucky ones. Xx

  8. Your comments always reach the depth of my heart,
    You are a true animal lover, your stories, books and poems bring me food food for thought and a smile or sometimes a tear.
    Your writing enriches my life. I wish I could spend sometime on your farm. I might never come back here.

  9. I intended to comment yesterday…. I don’t have an old dog myself, but I so love this. The last 2 lines melt my heart.. isn’t that what we all yearn and hope for ? To be welcomed home …with love, as you so clearly give all your four legged friends.


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