WARNING: This post is rated “T” (Tear Jerker) 

Those of you who read my Christmas letter know my beloved fur-baby Tailor passed away last summer. His final chapter began with a lame leg. His left rear leg had always been problematic; he had been born with a luxated patella and undergone knee surgery when he was four, so it made sense for the vet to hitch her wagon to the simplest explanation, a torn ACL. She gave him Rimadyl and referred him to an orthopedic vet. I took him there ten days later. After reviewing his chart and x-ray, the specialist could tell me only three things for sure:  his ACL was fine, he had lost thirteen pounds in a month, and there was ‘something’ in his belly that didn’t belong there. The writing was on the wall but the doc was hesitant to drop “the C bomb” and I wasn’t ready to hear it.  So he mumbled something about inflammation and sent us off with a short course of Prednisone, the pharmaceutical equivalent of a Hail Mary. It didn’t cure anything, of course, but it blunted Tailor’s pain, boosted his energy, and revved up his appetite. It bought him two joy-filled weeks of rolling in soft spring grass, feasting on prime rib and fried chicken, and watching every dog movie available on Disney Plus.  Raging, as it were, against the dying of the light. You can hold the pedal to the metal, but you can get only so far before you run out of gas. He fell in the screen porch on a Saturday night and spent Sunday on the couch, weak and shaking. We found a mobile vet willing to euthanize him at home on Monday. When she arrived, Tailor was curled up on his zebra blanket (the one pictured above) watching his fav movie, Ratatouille. She gave him a sedative and encouraged us to talk to him while it took effect. “He’ll be groggy,” she said, “but he can still hear you.” I couldn’t talk without getting choked up so I just thought the words in my head. He’d always been able to read my mind and I hoped his internal battery still had enough juice to tune in to our shared frequency. When we see each other on the flip side, I’ll ask him what he remembers.

The following poem is both a response to and a GOLDEN SHOVEL of Dylan Thomas’s famous work.


Poets can be wrong; do exactly what he says not to do.
When your eyes feel heavy and begin to droop, do not
resist.  You have fought bravely, earned the right to go
to The Rainbow Bridge.   I stroke your paw with gentle
fingers…  Daddy is singing “You are My Sunshine” into
your ear; can you hear him?  Relax now, and allow that
dopey sleepiness to engulf you, whisk you away. Good
job.  Good boy.  Go gentle, Tailor, into that good night.

If you would like to participate in my friend Muri’s Poetry Month Challenge, click HERE for the details.


    • Just Joan April 12, 2022 / 9:13 am

      It’s been 9 months, and I miss him every day. I even miss his mischief. Maybe I miss that most of all.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. churchmousie April 12, 2022 / 8:49 am

    I’m so thankful that Tailor had such a kind family to belong to. They leave pawprints on our hearts ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 12, 2022 / 9:21 am

      His was the typical pound puppy story, rags to riches. He and his litter (eight pups in all) were surrendered to the county shelter as soon as they were weaned. He was only there two days before we took him home. We had many grand adventures. He’s swam in ponds, Lake Erie, and even the ocean. He’s been on RV trips and ridden on a ferry. He went to puppy kindergarten, had a major surgery, and was even the subject of a painting by a dear friend. He gave love to every person he met.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 12, 2022 / 11:09 am

      Thanks, LTodd. Hope you guys are enjoying your adventures on the open road.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LTodd April 20, 2022 / 1:12 pm

        We’re taking a bit of a rest for now while waiting on the slow healing process from broken wrist.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan April 20, 2022 / 2:31 pm

        Sorry to hear about your injury. Hope healing happens quickly.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. judyrutrider April 12, 2022 / 11:56 am

    Considering the subject matter, I have to commend you for tugging those tearjerker strings gently. Yesterday was one of those days when I woke up cranky and grew more out of sorts as the day went by. Everything irritated me, especially me. Home from work, I pulled my car into the garage and was greeted by the thumping of tails on the side of the car. Unrestrained doggy grins greeted my sour puss and my ennui evaporated. I refuse to think about losing my girls, because that grief will shatter my life for a long time. I know, I’ve recovered from it before, but each time that scab is ripped off, it feels like the pain will never dim. Words can’t express my sympathy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 12, 2022 / 12:06 pm

      Thanks, JRR. Tailor and Callie are my second canine twosome. My first two lived to the ripe old ages of 15 and 16. Tailor was a similar mixed breed of a similar size, and I assumed he would live about that long. It was heart wrenching to believe we were dealing with an ACL tear and end up losing him to cancer less than a month later. He was only 11. If it is possible for a human to have a canine soulmate, he was mine. His sister Callie is 10 and healthy as far as we know, but losing her BFF has been hard on her, too.
      I saw a wooden sign somewhere that said “It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.” It would involve a lot of loss, but it’s comforting in a way.


  3. murisopsis April 12, 2022 / 3:45 pm

    You weren’t kidding with that T rating! I was right there and it did make me very sad. I’ve been the one giving the injection far too many times and have had to euthanize our dog Ranger. But the poem really got me – hard! *hugs* (oh and the golden shovel was so good I forgot entirely that there was a form involved)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 12, 2022 / 4:22 pm

      Thanks, Muri. If I had known how sick he was, I might have declined the prednisone, so I’m glad I didn’t know. We had a blast the last two weeks, indulging him with all his favorite foods, toys, and activities. He couldn’t walk far without hurting, so we rigged up a cart for him and he rode through the neighborhood smiling at everybody, as if he were on a float in a parade. Sorry about Ranger, and that you had to play the part of Dr Kevorkian at work. I’m not sure I could do it. God bless the kind vet (Dr Kimberly) who came to us and let him go peacefully at home, surrounded by family and all his favorite things.


  4. joyroses13 April 15, 2022 / 5:44 pm

    Awww!! So sorry for your loss, pets become like family, he was a cutie. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 15, 2022 / 5:59 pm

      Thanks, JR. He was one in a million and I miss him still. If you think he’s adorable there, you should have seen him as a puppy.


      • joyroses13 April 15, 2022 / 7:27 pm

        I am sure you do. Pets make an jmprint on your heart that doesn’t go away. His face just looks so sweet!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. kegarland April 17, 2022 / 1:15 pm

    I’m sorry to hear this, Joan. Dogs steal our hearts for sure, and in my experience, this kind of relationship was the hardest to let go of. Sending my condolences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 17, 2022 / 3:34 pm

      Thanks, KE. Tailor was one-of-a-kind and will always occupy a corner of my heart. Eleven seems young, but he was 77 in human yrs, pretty average.

      Liked by 1 person

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