My Boy

Coming home is the hardest part
I always used to look forward to walking through the door
hearing the thud of his tail on the floor
Seeing his face light up when he saw mine
almost as if he was waiting by the door the whole time

Leaving home is the hardest part
I miss my goodbye kisses
I miss the old man's antics
The way he would roll over on his back
his toy in his mouth
radiating happiness
The way he would talk to you when he barked
I could talk to him about anything
He would always listen
Yes, I will miss that old fart
Never thought I'd say it
but I'm even going to miss his farts...

Being at home is the hardest part
He could barely get up or walk toward the end
but I'll be damned if he didn't follow me around every room
everywhere I went
inside or outside, rain or shine
He was my light & my shadow for 14 years
Being at home is the hardest part
Home was wherever I was with him

* * * * *

Even the great ones have to go
I know, some will say, "He was just a dog"
but Buddy was so much more than that to me
Growing up, he was like the brother I never had
As we both got older, he was like my child
I was a proud dad, still am

That dog made me a better man
He taught me a lot about unconditional love & loyalty
About never growing up
never giving up on the life you love
He fought time until the very end
seemingly ignoring the arthritis & nerve damage that wrecked his hips
Simply not paying attention to the congestive heart failure
All he cared about was fetching the ball in the yard
or bringing back the stick in the water
All he cared about was pleasing his family, his best friend
That feeling was mutual
I would do anything for that guy
He probably would've lived for me forever
pretended like he was fine
But I knew he was hurting
& I couldn't stand to see him suffer any longer
The hardest thing I've ever done was say goodbye

* * * * *

I laid down beside him on the floor at the vet's
& I could start to feel the anesthetic take effect
I looked in his eyes & remembered how he would always look at me
always watching out, making sure I was taken care of
I rubbed behind his ears & remembered how scared he would get
every time he heard the vacuum turn on
He was the biggest scaredy cat
He was even scared of cats
I scratched his stomach & remembered the time
when he jumped up on the kitchen counter
& ate a whole family-sized Hawaiian pizza from Papa Murphy's
Needless to say, he slept in the garage that night
I'm still impressed... can't believe he did that
My hand moved down his back, then along his tail
I massaged his bony hind legs
He sure did log a lot of miles on those things
He was just as competitive as I am
We both took our playing very seriously
We'd be out in the backyard for hours
me hitting the baseball & him bringing it back
That guy was an athlete
He could literally catch anything
The best hand-eye...
I mean, mouth-eye coordination
I've ever seen

All these memories came flooding back to me
& it was about then that I leaned down & hugged him
hanging on for dear life
It was about then that the vet took off her stethoscope
"He's gone"

* * * * *

The memories of him slid down my cheeks for weeks
It took awhile
but now I look back, think of him
& smile
They are happy tears now
I found solace the moment I realized he lived a long, happy life
I knew he knew that he was loved

He was a special soul
He was a blast when he was younger
& just as much fun when he was old
His happy-go-lucky, fun-loving, playful personality
captured the hearts of everyone who ever met him
He always put a smile on my face
no matter what was going on in life
no matter what anxieties or burdens dominated my mind
no matter what was on my plate

He was a one-of-a-kind kind of guy
Looking back, there were times in my life
that I simply wouldn't have made it
if not for him always by my side
Looking back, I can honestly say
that I needed him as much as he needed me

* * * * *

Rest in peace, my Buddy boy
I'll never forget all that you did for me
I'll always cherish the memories
You were a blessing & my best friend


  1. Oh man... RIP to your pal... Pets love unconditionally and it's so hard losing them. Yes, you even miss the farts too... smiles.

  2. There is a special connection that exists between man and animal, or that can develop when we spend time together. I grew up with a pups from a young age. After he passed they got me a stuffed animal that looked like him - because he could never really be replaced, you know. Sorry for your loss man.

    1. There is a special connection, especially between man & dogs. But then again I might be a little bias. Regardless, yes, our beloved pets can never be replaced. Thank you for the kind comment.

  3. One of god's great jokes is that we outlive our teeth and pets. >KB

    1. It's a damn shame dogs don't live longer than they do.

  4. I would never say "He was just a dog," and frankly don't trust people who do. I loved this poem from beginning to end. I especially loved the first section, how coming home, leaving home, and being home were all the hardest thing after he was gone. This brought back memories of my dog Bette, who lived to be 18. Even though we have another dog now who I love very much and will miss when he's gone, I still miss Bette. But as you say, now the tears that come with memories of her (which this poem brought forth in spades!) are tears of joy at knowing I had 18 years with her. Peace to you and rest to Buddy, Linda

    1. I'm glad this poem could resurface some happy memories of your Bette. 18 years is a long time for a dog, & it sounds like you were a great owner to her. Thank you so much for the kind comment, Linda.

  5. Sooner or later, we dog lovers, have joined you, or you us, on that damn floor at the Vet's, stroking the head, staring into those loving eyes, now free from pain, locked in, iris to iris, heart to heart, until the spark is gone, & so is our family member, our fur kid. We put Taffy down at 13, & I still tear up when I drive by the Vet's--& that was 10 years ago.

    1. I know the feeling... I drive around the vet's so I don't have to see it. Saying goodbye to our "fur kids" is so hard, but it's the kindest thing we can do for such loyal, loving companions. Thanks for the comment, Glenn.

  6. This is so sad.. may he rest in peace.. a great tribute to him and his loving memory..

  7. Alex, this was a wonderful series of poems. I understand completely. A dog definitely is one's best friend, and I think the loss of a dog is as hard as the loss of a person. Sometimes even more so, as you can talk with a human but cannot talk with a dog. I too have lost a couple. I have three now, and I know someday down the pike their time will come as well. Better to enjoy every year of a dog's life though than never to experience that kind of joy at all. My condolences to you.

    1. Well said, Mary. Cherish your time with your three pups. Thanks for the kind comment.

  8. dogs and horses always break your heart. They just don't live long enough.

  9. Sorry for your loss... always difficult to say goodbye. A lovely tribute.

  10. tears.... it is tough to lose a dog-friend - they're so faithful with an undivided heart - hugs...

  11. Oh, that really brought tears to my eyes, even though I'm more of a cat person than a dog person (I was bitten by a dog when I was a child, had to have anti-rabies shots and everything). But you are right, they are never just 'a pet' or 'an animal', they really become part of the family and such good friends and teach us so much about ourselves and life. You describe it so well - this is a beautiful, beautiful tribute and very moving.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Marina.

  12. I think animals not only allow us to love and be loved unconditionally they allow us to grieve for all the losses unconditionally.

    1. I agree. Thanks for reading my poem, Roslyn.

  13. How very touching Alex....I pray that the good and happy memories remain and comfort you ~


  14. Such great joy our friends of fur bring. Lovely tribute.

  15. This brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing your very precious dog with us with memories and love.

  16. This is so very moving! I am not even a dog person and this had me....I think it was the repetition of "the hardest part" followed by different things...the reality that, really, there are so many painful parts to losing Buddy that you cannot distinguish one hardest part from another because they are all the hardest part. Wow. Very emotive piece.

    1. You're spot-on with your analysis. Thanks for the kind words, C.C.

  17. I empathize. You've told it all, so well. Sounds like a great dog and an even better friend.
    Steve K.

    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Steve.

  18. This broke my heart. Unless one has had a friend such as this, they will never know the joy or the grief that comes with such love. My deepest heartfelt feelings to you. What a beautiful testimony to such a wonderful dog and friend. Hayes Spencer is Kanzensakura

  19. What a wonderful piece, and I empathize with you. Greetings!

    1. Greetings to you! Thank you for the kind comment.

  20. What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.

  21. Dogs are special animals and hold a special place in our hearts. Remember "All Dogs Go to Heaven."