My first old golden planted himself everyday
in the garden by my patio chair. That’s where he took his nap.
At thirteen, all Arlo needed was water, food and tennis balls
and, of course, he needed me.
It wasn’t until he died that I realised
how much I needed him.
If he’d been a man, I probably would have married him.
That dog set roots in me,
roots so deep, that even after he was gone,
within a week, they sprouted another
homeless old golden named Shadow.
Shadow lived to be fifteen and a half.
Then one night his eyes looked into mine, and they said
The next day he died, and I missed his golden
shadow beside my chair, and under my feet,
but I felt his soul staying right with me for six weeks.
I buried some of his fur in Arlo’s garden.
Then it took root, blossomed and brought me Libby.
She’s thirteen and real chipper. Kind of bossy too.
She’s not like the boys, but I love her anyway.
I understand her. We both think like girls.
Libby lays on the lounge chair cushion
that I took off the chair and put on the patio floor
so she could lay beside me as I write.
She likes her comforts and I like her company.
Today I looked up, meaning to say a word to Libby
let her know how much I appreciate her help,
but her cushion was bare.
She didn’t raise her head to smile.
I saw some dirt strewn on the ground; I gazed across
to the strip of garden where Arlo planted roots
and where Shadow’s fur blossomed.
There Libby had planted herself, fast asleep and dreaming.
I couldn’t help but wonder as her paws twitched
and her muzzle nursed a bark
if two big goldens weren’t running beside her,
chasing balls, catching skunks,
and swimming the deep spring river.