when your best dog dies

bruce 1

it wasn’t the way i had imagined it
but i suppose it never is.
you lived long, but never got old.
i never saw your beard grow grey,
your whiskers turn wild.
you had that sore leg that gave you trouble sometimes;
you no longer played as hard as you used to.
you slept more.
stayed closer to home.

for a big dog you always loved small spaces.
when you were a puppy you slept underneath the couch
till one day you got big and couldn’t get back out.
famous for sitting on small chairs and end tables,
your strong bones would curl in so tight,
shrunk through sheer determination.

i shouldn’t be surprised that you chose to die
curled up underneath my caravan kitchen table.
the smallest space in your smallest home yet.

you didn’t give much warning, little dog.
or maybe we were just reading the signs wrong.
it wasn’t arthritis or cancer.
it wasn’t a passing car
or other tragedy.

it was a farm field on an overcast Saturday.
it was after your tail wagged and your pal came to play.
it was a tiredness in your wise eyes.
it was your resting bones, your drooping head.
it was with me on the floor beside you.
it was a knowing in my gut.
it was your laboured breath.
it was a few short cries.
it was before the rain came.
it was while the birds sang.
it was your time
…and then something took your breath away.

i believe in good deaths.
i don’t know if i could have chosen a better one for you.


there are people who will never know or understand
the space that a good dog leaves behind.
good love, like a good life, doesn’t need an explanation.
it speaks for itself.

your love, your life, howled, Brucey boy.
your echo will ring for a long long time.

thanks for being the best four-legged this girl coulda hoped for.
i miss your goodness already.

good night littl pal.


Words + Photos + Credit

Unless otherwise noted, all original photography and text are property of Raechelle Kennedy. If you see or read something here and feel inspired to share it somehow, please be considerate and give the artist (me!) credit, or even better, drop me a note and make sure I don’t mind.
Thank you!

Here + There

Secondhand Sainthood and the gift of losing it all – Topology Magazine, December 2015

Ten Things Made – Topology Magazine, December 2015