On Killing Rover

In the parking lot we sit, you beside me, me behind the wheel,
Desperately just a little more time I try to steal.
Over 15 years you have been my loving companion and true friend.
If only there were some way to make you young again!
Your head lies in my lap, your body warmed by the sun.
If only once more in the backyard you could chase and run!
Age has brought you infirmity and put you in such great pain.
Oh Lord! Can I really kill you and remain completely sane?
Half-blind, nearly deaf, you can move only agonizingly slow,
Internal organs failing, constant pain dwells within, I know.
The vet says that the quality of your life is now over,
That the kind thing for me to do is let him kill my Rover!

Memories of squirrels and you engaged in the chase,
Me laughing as you climbed into my lap to lick my face,
Thousands of balls retrieved...oh, the games we did share.
You are the smartest dog alive, none other can compare.
These thoughts flood my mind, breaking my heart.
Logically I know that it is now time for us to part,
But my heart, filled with grief and dread, says wait.
If only some miracle could occur, taking us far away
To a magical place where you young again could now play.
After a lifetime of affection, love, and unwavering devotion,
Your reward is euthanasia! Where does the vet get such a notion?
Well-meaning friends have said put you down, get a puppy instead.
Surely inside these people a part of their heart must be dead!

My mind firmly insists it does no good any more to wait.
Suddenly the vet appears, complaining that I am two hours late,
To please come inside, for he can delay no more.
Heartbroken, sobbing, my fingers reluctantly pry open my car door.
I carry you inside, carefully placing you on the metal table.
I know in this room beside you to remain I must somehow be able.
Tears welling up in my eyes, streaming down my cheeks, I can hardly see.
You, as though sensing my anguish, appear eager to comfort me.
The vet works quickly,giving the fateful shot as gently as he can.
I pat your head, you look up with trusting eyes, licking my hand.
Slowly your eyes close; the vet says your life has come to its end.
Your suffering is over; it'll be forever before my heart can mend.
Rest well, beloved Rover; thanks for having let me be your friend.

Harry Edward Gilleland      08.20.01    printer friendly