Old Brown Dog

Written by: Keith Bickerstaffe


...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.
1994-2011.