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Old Brown Dog

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Below is the poem entitled Old Brown Dog which was written by poet Keith Bickerstaffe. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Old Brown Dog

...for Ralph McTell

He was my closest friend and confidante
for over eighteen years.
I called him simply Brown Dog.
From a puppy to the present
he was always by my side.
Chasing rabbits through the pasture
or the sticks that I would throw,
he was the essence of vitality and joy.
As he aged, he would lie down at my feet,
an Old Brown Dog, his horizon now my yard, 
limping, riddled with arthritis, he was clearly in great pain.
Today would be the day. 

With a heavy heart, my shotgun cradled 
in my arm, I tugged gently on his leash
and we headed to the pasture where
in better days he frolicked, free as a bird.
The sky was overcast as I settled him to ground. 
"Goodbye, my friend," I whispered, as I went
to pull the trigger. But then suddenly a flash
of fur! a rabbit dashed from hiding and darted
into view. My companion broke free! bounding 
t'ward his prey, his pain all but forgotten.
As he closed in, he took one final leap...
and fell in a heap to the earth, still and silent.

He had died the way he wanted, 
on his own terms, free again, at last.

I buried him there, and wept.

I returned to his grave 
with a granite headstone
which bore the inscription:

"To my Brown Dog, best friend and confidante,
thanks for the memories.
Rest In Peace.

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  1. Date: 1/18/2013 10:28:00 AM
    I've had to make that choice too many times and cried for days - if we could all go on our own terms. Keep him memory alive...

  1. Date: 12/30/2012 7:45:00 AM
    Oh Keith; this drove a pain in my heart, I felt your sadness; also the great joy Your friend brought to your life, I wish You all the best for new years, yours Joe..)

  1. Date: 12/30/2012 7:27:00 AM
    Oh Keith - How sad and joyful all at the same time. Out in a flame of glory, so it is said, for Brown Dog. Oh to die happy looking forward. love, Kathy

  1. Date: 12/29/2012 6:26:00 PM
    So he simply fell dead in midair? How unusual!! It reminds me of our Siamese cat that lived 25 years before she died and she just went on her own terms. This is sad but beautifully written. That dog lived quite a long time, in dog years anyway, and was very well loved.

  1. Date: 12/28/2012 4:03:00 PM
    its always sad when a dog dies xoxo pd

  1. Date: 12/28/2012 3:14:00 PM
    such a touching tribute to a faithful companion! i don't know if it's true, but i sure hope it is - i love the way the dog died, "on his own terms." very beautifully written!