Photo Challenge and Poem: (Her) Favorite Place

 

There was a message on my phone.
My dog was ready to come home,
they said. It was just her ashes,
they didn’t say. Never one to be

put on a shelf, we took one last
walk together around the farm, her
cremains, I guess, tucked under my
arm. She usually bounds ahead of me,

turning to make sure I’m coming.
She usually stands just beside me
when I stop. She usually has a wild
rambunctious pride. Where did she

love best? The truck, of course.
She’d be sitting there waiting,
ready to load up. The gate to the
barn; we met there several times

a day. The pond to the west; she’d
splash and bring that wild scent to
bed at night. A prairie breeze kicks
and I can see her profile; nose

lifted, her coat blown back. She’s
facing down the wind. Shall I let
the wind have her now? I stroll
between memories, passing under the

barn tree, swings hanging in the
cool shade. Carrying the weight of
an old dog, nothing left but bones,
is heavier than I expected. Once more,

I wish her lightness from her used-
up body, as I go inside and put the
container on a shelf by a faded dog
bed. We’ll take another walk tomorrow.

….
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
Currently planning upcoming Concept Clinics. 2018 is filling quickly; please contact me here if you would like to host a clinic or attend one. Check out our entire clinic schedule here.

58 comments

  1. I just love this! So sorry she is gone. I have my own collection of ashes. Maybe I should take them for a walk.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Poignant, lovely in every way. Perhaps one of your finest expressions: moving, flowing, vivid, touching. We all feel the glory and the loss–having been there ourselves. Thank you. jw

  3. Oh, for the love of a dog. They make us better in ways we can’t imagine. This is touching and beautiful Anna. The rhythm is exceptional (I’m guessing most of us can identify the tempo of walking with grief).

  4. I’m taking that last walk now with my beloved Scooter. Adopted from the dog pound as a puppy, the fee was $10. Along with the puppy, I was given a $10 coupon off the cost of a rabies shot. I have two other besties. They misbehave from time to time. Scooter is my perfect one.

  5. Just buried my 10-year-old American Bulldog a couple weeks ago. Thanks – this is really great.
    Words from a grandfather about 50 years ago…”There’s one really shitty day in having a dog…and it’s a pretty goddamn good trade.”
    It must be, because I’ve buried a LOT of dogs over the years…and cried my heart out every time. And yet, it’s SOOO worth it.
    Thanks again.

  6. Thanku for this, we recently lost our beloved dog. She was not that old but was beginning to show signs of her time was coming to an end. The end happen faster than anticipated @ home, with us. The comfort is that she was spared prolonged suffering @ loss of the joys in her life, oh Rainy we miss you!

  7. Three pieces of my heart are on a shelf…..just can’t let the wind have them quite yet. . .

  8. Oh, Anna. I can feel her, smell her, see her through your words. This is so beautiful, even in its aching sadness. Thank you for sharing her with us. What a good, good girl. Take care of your heart and bury your face in a lot of horse manes; we all know that’s the best cure there is.

  9. Thank you Anna…what a beautiful tribute to a beloved friend and confidant. Five carved boxes in various sizes sit on our nightstand. The size of each box is insignificant to the size of the missing pieces of my heart that each fur baby took along with them on their heavenly journey!

  10. Thanks for writing this-it made me cry, but in a good way. I, too, have those boxes sitting on a shelf, each holding the remains of a beloved friend. Their spirits run free and, someday, I’ll join them.

  11. I cry with you remembering those I have lost. Each comes to teach us a lesson and provide endless love. It is our privilege to have been included in their journey. Prayers.

  12. Oh my aking heart. I’m holding my breath, wiping my tears and waiting for my boy to come home. . I Will not clean the house untill he’s back, because he left his black Labrador hairs in every corner.

  13. Ah Anna, another one strikes the heart. Over the years I’ve lost more family than I wish to count. I decided long ago that the hole their going leaves in my heart is waiting to be filled by another…. or three. We have a tradition of planting ashes under a new tree appropriate to the one who has passed on. Sometimes its a loved ones favorite tree, like my Aunt Lucille under a flowering pear, or a tree which evokes a memory or which someone has requested. By family consensus, grandpa’s ashes are under a crabapple. We’re still debating my mom’s tree quite a few years now. We also have a graveyard on a hill overlooking our larger hay field here on the farm for the horses, cats, and chickens, each marked with a special rock or cairn.

    • Have to smile about the crabapple… My farm is tiny and well populated. I can’t bury anyone in the traditional way. But no worries, they are right here anyway. Thanks and best wishes.

  14. Anna!!!!! Another master piece written from the heart … like “I have a dream ….” speech, Martin Luther calibre unleashed creative beauty. To be a witness, to see the blossoming, the quality, takes my breathe away, 🙂 Dr Penny

    • Do you have any idea how much a compliment from you means to me. Thank you. And again, It might be “automatic writing”, I’m not sure. 🙂

  15. Tearing up as I write. This time it’s not a canine I’m mourning, but rather the single most cantankerous goat who has ever walked this earth. How we managed to develop a relationship and find joy in one another I will never know. But we did, and he left, and he’s left an aching hole in my heart. Worth it? Yes!

    • I might have to wrassle you about having the most cantankerous goat. Not that I think it’s a competition, it’s just the appropriate goat response. A head butt from me and Arthur. Sorry for your loss, Laurie.

  16. Anna, I am so sorry for your loss. These amazing animals join our lives and no matter what we do for them and with them, it is us that are better for their unconditional love. Sometimes, we are almost worthy. Be kind to your heart and enjoy the memories.
    Jo Ann

  17. Oh, the ache that each creature’s passing leaves, but we cannot live without them. Sending you warm thoughts as your heart heals. You have seen my collection of urns – it gives me comfort to know that even though their physical presence is gone they are still with me . So sorry for your loss , but so happy that your little dog had such a loving home.💞

  18. “We’ll take another walk tomorrow.” Such beauty and caring in your words, Anna… thank you from my heart for writing them.

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