A few years ago, my veterinarian began taking a digital photo of each patient. The photo became part of the pet’s record, printing out on the bills and progress reports during our all-too-frequent vet visits during Emily’s last years. Emily was camera-shy, and the photo is a bit blurry as Emily turned her head away. As a final thoughtful gesture after Emily died, the vet mailed me a laminated keepsake of Emily’s photo, along with a comforting poem.
The poem, authored by Gayl Jokiel, reads as follows:Walk with an Old Dog
Because you will not be forever,
Hope against time I may,
I paint your picture in my memory,
Eyes blue with age, muzzle gone grey.
Because you walked with me in springtime,
Puppy-clumsy, running free.
As you grew older we grew together.
You became part of me.
Because you shared with me my sorrows,
Not understanding, simply there.
Often spurring me to laughter,
My friend, you know how much I care.
Because the years have slowed your fleetness,
Though your spirit is still strong.
I promise I will take more time now,
So that you can go along.
Because you do not fear the future,
Living on in the now,
I draw strength from your example,
Yet time keeps slipping by somehow.
Because the day will soon be coming
When I will no longer see,
You rise to greet me, but in my memory,
You will always walk with me.