Pets…they come in many different colors…many sizes, shapes and forms.

They entrust us with their lives…to keep them safe, and fed…and warm.


Our pets can teach us many things…if we have the willingness to learn…

They teach us about giving…while asking for little in return.


They teach us the importance of sleep…the virtues of a mid-day nap

They teach us about compassion as they lay their heads upon our laps


They teach us to make time for play…to run through life wide-eyed…they teach us on this journey…it’s best to enjoy the ride.


They have a subtle way of turning our lives upside-down…of changing who we are…and thus

We think we’re taking care of them…when they’re actually taking care of us.


They teach us the power of touch…how to communicate with our eyes.

They teach us how to forgive…they teach us how to die.


From them we learn of unconditional love, we learn how to give thanks and gratitude…

and as they near the end of their short lives…they teach us fortitude.


But perhaps the most important lesson they teach us…which I’m sure all pet owners will agree…

Is that you do not have to be a human…to teach humanity.


Yes, pets are a gift…blessing…as on Earth we all sojourn…

Blessings with so much to teach us…if we have the willingness to learn.



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One thing I love about memory 

is how a song, an aroma, or simply something that’s been said

can awaken a memory from where it rests and pop it in my head…


Our family noticed them on a walk…a young couple with their retriever…golden brown

we were walking up a hill while they were walking down.


As I stopped to pet their golden and we began to talk

I suddenly thought of Whitman, our golden, and how he loved to walk.


I scratched George, their golden, behind his ears…a tail wagging ensued

and I remembered how, when I scratched Whitman there…his tail would wag too.


I wondered why they named him George…and in my reverie

I remember how we named our Whitman after a bakery…


As I continued petting for a moment…right there and right then

It was as if I was petting Whitman and he was alive again.


Before they walked away I thanked the couple for sharing George with me

and I whispered into George’s ear…”Thanks for the memory”.


I watched them continue down the hill feeling glad that we had met

and I smiled because my memories of Whitman hadn’t finished yet.


Once his memories faded away…and returned to where they rest

I caught up to my family…feeling lucky…feeling blessed.


And in awe of how once they’re awakened…

even for a little while

memories can seem so real…


memories can make you smile

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We use to walk together…in the mountains…by the sea

before the sun would rise each day…my golden retriever…and me


We chose to name him Whitman…people assumed we loved poetry

and though we do love a good rhyme…he was named after a bakery.


He was soft and warm and beautiful inside…to us he was a dream

Is it any wonder we chose to name him after a donut filled with cream?


When we would take our walks in the early morning breeze

I would look up at the stars in the sky while Whitman sniffed grass and trees.


My view from atop my two legs was different than what he saw on four

and I never could determine which one of us enjoyed it more.


It’s been many years now since those walks we had to abort

because as any pet owner knows a dogs life is too short


Still today as I began my walk in the cool, crisp morning air

I know this is not possible but I saw Whitman standing there.


He was young…the way he once was…without a leash and free

and before I knew it I could feel him…walking next to me.


I’m not sure I ever enjoyed a walk more than in today’s early morning breeze

I noticed how the moon was full while Whitman sniffed grass and trees.


When we got home I wanted to thank him as we walked across our lawn

but when I looked down to tell him…I was alone…Whitman was gone.


I was left with a smile and a memory and the lesson he taught me today….


How those we love, even when they’re gone, are never far away

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I once had a philosophy about having a pet…let me now review it…

I use to ponder one basic question…why do people do it?


Why spend all that money, all that time…all that worry, all that doubt

all that cleaning, all that caring…I mean…what’s that all about?


Why put yourself through all the troubles you know you’re going to go through…

Why give unconditional love to an animal who’s going to die before you do?


Until we got a pet of our own…I didn’t know how one animal could reach us…

how, through their devotion and their love…they had so much they could teach us.


They teach us about happiness…their joy is never to be denied…

They teach us about loyalty…for they never leave our side.


They teach us about friendship…with them there’s no pretension 

They teach us about gratitude…they are happy with attention. 


They teach us how to love and be loved…they teach lessons we need to learn

Like how giving is only genuine…when you ask for nothing in return.


They teach us how life is short…and when it’s their time to leave

They teach us about sadness…they teach us how to grieve.


They teach us how life must go on…for once they bid adieu…

They teach us how grieving is not something we get over…

it’s something we get through.


And they lead us to wonder if there is a heaven…

is it a place where pets will sing?

And are there some angels in heaven…who prefer fur instead of wings?


Yes, over the years my philosophy about having a pet has changed…

Let me now review it…

Now the one basic question I ponder is…


why don’t more people do it?

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We’ve been together for a long time...

of course, I count life in doggy years.

You’ve fed me, 

bathed me,

combed me,

you even rubbed behind my ears.


You took me to places I’d never known...

to heights I never thought I’d reach.

We hiked up in the mountains.

We walked along the beach.


Sometimes you dressed me funny,

but you know what!

I didn’t mind,

because you were always loving

always gentle

always kind.


And now it’s time to say goodbye

it’s sad

but please...do not despair.

When next you hike the mountains…

or walk the beach…

Look around!


I will be waiting there.

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He showed up unannounced…this dog we’d never seen

He stood there, tail wagging…his faced pressed against our screen.


We opened the door to say hello…to, perhaps, pat him on his head

but he had other plans for us and slipped inside instead.


He followed me out to the porch…the scenario unfolding…

Was it my wonderful personality attracting him…or the cracker I was holding?


He finished my cracker, every bit…he did not leave a trace

He sat there while I petted him…and occasionally licked my face.


We discovered that name is Chance…that he loves nothing better than to roam

when his owner stopped in to say hello…and take his companion home.


He said Chance likes to wander but an internal GPS he lacks

Because sometimes in his roaming he can’t find his way back.


And it is no use trying to call him…as he traverses new frontiers

there’s no chance he can hear me…’cause he’s deaf in his left ear.


But when he can’t find his way back…he’ll stop wherever he has roamed

And howl until I find him…then together we’ll walk home.


And as they walked together down our driveway…it was a wonderful epilogue

to see the love a dog has for his owner…and an owner for his dog.


And that night we bought dog biscuits…because here’s something that we learn:

There’s a good chance Chance will roam again…

a good chance Chance will return.




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