Bob’s Dog Boo

Photo Credit: D. Quarles. Pictured: Boo and Scout, 2012.

My yellow dog, Scout, has kept me hopping this week as I surgically cured him of the bellyache he created for himself by eating a ball that was absolutely not meant for consumption. It was wickedly expensive. Carpets have needed to be cleaned, if you know what I mean. He must now wear the cone of shame and eat specially prepared chicken and rice for ten days (my God, the cooking I’ve had to do!). I can’t ground him or lecture him or anything because he has absolutely no recollection of eating that ball, and because, well, he is a dog.

Plus, he probably didn’t even notice it was a ball when he ate it because he only swallows. He never chews or savors or tastes anything.

Jeez. Labs.

Dogs in general are a lot of trouble, but for Scout, you can easily multiply that times ten. Ask ANYBODY who knows him. He makes Marley (of Marley and Me) look like a well-trained military animal.

Photo Credit: D. Quarles. Pictured: Scout, post-op, 2014.

However, each time I felt myself getting frustrated with him this week, not being able to communicate with Scout about how he’s got to cut me a break, and with each swipe of my credit card (money intended to be spent on shoes and handbags and not doggie X-rays), I am reminded of losing my other sweet dog. For thirteen years, we had a black lab named Boo. (I know you are thinking To Kill A Mockingbird? Well, I wish, but their names are just a coincidence.) We lost him last summer to old age. During his life, he cost me even more money than Scout has (two words: treble hooks + two more words: chicken allergy) and created just as much angst as the Yellow One, but there was never a kinder soul nor a gentler spirit than Boo. He was my husband’s dog, and I inherited him after Bob passed away in 2010. He waited every day for Bob to come home although we humans knew he never would.

On a visit to see me the following summer, my dad commented on Boo’s melancholy demeanor. I explained that Boo was a dog who had now experienced a loss from which he would likely never recover, and just like with people, pain changes you. Dogs grieve and feel and love too, and Boo was never the same afterward.

My dad then set about penning this poem about their relationship and that loss. You “dog people” will love it because you get it.

Now you know where I get this writing thing from…

Bob’s Dog Boo

~

From the realm of dreams I wake

One breathless breath I dare to take

As from a coffin I seem to stare

In ebony darkness I am aware!

Strange sounds now tickle my fear

Impatient pacing I appear to hear

Canine nails on hardwood floors

Incessant clicking on oaken boards.

From a palisade of pillows I peer

At wolvine eyes so very near

It’s only a dog, a wolf pretending

It’s just Boo dog, my dear old friend.

As black as night is my friend Boo

Grey beard, grey muzzle, whiskers too

What’s the matter? What do you seek?

Into your thoughts I wish to peek.

Something’s missing! Something’s gone!

Where is my Master? Something’s wrong!

To speak aloud would be his choice

But a bark, a whine, is not a voice.

From times ere present he remembers fall

He and his Master he oft recalls

Of birds on wing, of ducks in flight

Of water and marshes, fog’s delight.

From his Master’s side he did stare

At blue skies, cold morning air

Irritating squirrels barking on high

Brought leaps of joy breaching the sky.

Where is my Master? His voice gone!

Where’s his caress for which I long?

Where’s the truck I used to greet?

Where’s the lap into which I leaped?

Where’s his hand? The praises begged

Boo was cared for, loved and fed

Where’s his Master? His eyes reflect

Fretful longing and worry I detect.

Of concepts of death a dog’s inept

To aid his understanding I cannot help

Your Master’s gone, I can’t explain

To a dog would be inane.

Unknown malady his body baked

Left broken lungs in its wake

Choosing not to waste away

Your Master, a disease did take.

Explanations I have none

Not for myself or anyone

Cherished memories are what’s left

Of your Master, so much loves felt.

Boo, no tenet or creed has he

Far more nobler and purer than me

Salvation and damnation isn’t his concern

His Master’s approval only he yearned.

Heaven and hell you can’t perceive

Truth is, you can only grieve

Are Boo and I not alike?

Creatures akin in God’s sight.

One day soon all will end on cue

You’ll hear a whistle, a command “Here Boo!”

Then off you’ll go, beyond the veil

And find your Master, all will be well!

Boo Dog, old dog, old friend

We both now approach our winter’s end

Not the seasons do we test?

But all Eternity and Heaven’s Rest.

~Thomas G. Moore

Bob Quarles and Boo, Port St. Joe Bay, Florida, 2006. Photo Credit: Dawn Quarles.

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About Dawn Quarles

Dawn Quarles is a high school political science and American history teacher who moonlights as a blogger and writer. She lives on Pensacola Beach, Florida.

Comments

No Responses to “Bob’s Dog Boo”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow. I am speechless

  2. You Know! says:

    Made me cry again. We dog people understand that there isn’t anything purer or more innocent than your dog’s affection(love) for you.

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