January 11, 2011
Goodbye to a best dog, a dearest friend
Emily Pajamas passed away today at the age of 17. She was so very much.
Here's a poem I wrote for her a number of years ago.
Birthday Poem for Emily Pajamas
A golden lab with a regal fine boned head
and wise amber eyes; I’d name her Elsa
after the lioness of my childhood adoration.
We’d walk the Connecticut shoreline, sun glinting
off two golden heads. My daughter screamed
with terror when the big dogs loped towards her
at the breeders. She hid her face in my legs
as her baby brother, seeing her fear, shinnied
with monkey agility from my arm’s cradle
to my neck seeking higher ground. Then, here’s
what gets frowned at, the story of you, huddled
in your cage, retreating from the mall’s din.
You should never buy from pet stores, people chide.
I went for shoes, just tipped my head in for a peek
at the puppies, in need of cheer that evening.
All the others barked and wriggled for attention
but you, a silly clump of white fuzz, looked away
with sad, spent eyes. My thought was to play
with you a bit to cheer us both, only that. I never
got the shoes. Almost eight, you shadow my every move
until I change my mind and direction, turn and fall
over the small knotty house of your body, and stand
up again, annoyed at your reproachful look as you skulk
away. That you would complain in the way dogs do,
the doleful eyes, the curving spine when you creep away
to tuck into your bed. Are you not the one who yaps
without ceasing, obsessed with squirrels? The poultry
crazed banshee howling at the kitchen door? Guilty
of the chewed up purses and briefcases, the contents
of the trash bin strewn over the carpet? Who tolerates
the small tortures of young children with better temper
than I could manage? Who hurls all seventeen pounds
of herself against the door in an amusing ferocity? There
have been times when only the heated curl of you in my lap,
snoring dog scented dreams, could comfort. When we walk
down the road past the grander dogs, I follow dutifully
behind your tug at the leash, thinking how I seem
to always end up with the unexpected
that I love all the more.
- Susan Moorhead