Take Joy In…Old Dogs

frankie BW

Thank you to my sister-in-law, Shelly for sending me this beautiful poem below. It made me cry, but smile at the same time thinking of Frankie. Though we never want to lose our beloved pets, I couldn’t help but think how I really enjoyed Frankie as she aged.  Not that I didn’t enjoy her before that. But there was something simpler about life as she grew older.

It made me think about my own life. What is important to me. Reminding me to slow down. Reminding me to be open to all the magic in the world. That naps are important. That there is this unbelievable beauty in growing older. That the past is the past, but it’s okay to reminisce of what was.

With Frankie, I truly soaked in each moment. I knew there would come a day when I could no longer hold her physically in my arms. I breathed in the scent of her often. I was very conscious of how she felt. I sat and looked deep into her eyes, taking all her love into my heart.  Though it was one of the most painful losses I’ve had to date, I can say now I’m grateful for being so aware. When I find myself missing her, I sit on my sofa, look to the painting I have of her, as well as a photo, and I connect with her in a new way.

Indeed, there is joy in old dogs. And there is hope that once they pass that they will somehow, someway, still be with us, if we open our hearts to the magic of the unseen.


Their joys are simple. A soft bed. A scrap fallen from the table that the younger dogs missed. The memory of a treed squirrel. A stormless night.

White whiskered faces and legs crooked as question marks.

Old Dogs…their sweet Buddha bellies hang over crossed legs as they fall asleep in a coveted patch of sun. Dreaming of out-racing their shadows down long, shady lanes.

Once they danced by your side. The very definition of joy unleashed. A perfect poem caught in shining eyes and wagging tails. They have followed you faithfully for years. And would plunge into fires, untamed wildernesses, raging waters if you asked.

Now, they struggle to catch up. Their pace slow but their hearts still valiant.

Their cloudy eyes are starting to dim and go distant, tuning in to some invisible world. Just beyond your reach.

Don’t go you say, as you scratch the tender part between their ears. Stay longer. I can’t imagine a world without your fur pressed close to my cheek. There are still so many roads we haven’t explored.

And they look up at you with a wisdom that just slays you.

Their backs are bent, not from the weight of years, but from the invisible wings they are growing
That will soon take them to a place where once more they are warriors of speed
Drunk with the sights and scents of a thousand meadows.
Able to leap high enough to touch the wing of the tiniest butterfly.

A place where they will now wait for you to catch up.

H/T Donna Swajeski / AnimalAidUsa.org