Paws In Our Garden

You have reached this page of The Doodle Messenger because you have or know of a Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, or Austrailian Labradoodle. You might be worried, sad, or you are concerned about one...and just maybe that dog isn't a Doodle.  That's all right too. Doodles love all kinds of other dog friends, and they often romp with many different kinds of friends.  Or perhaps you have donated to a dog on our site and just leafed to this page quite by accident (or maybe on purpose) to see what this page is all about.  Possibly you have stopped by in search of some peace and solace on a journey about grief, illness, accident, injury or death of your own dog or the dog of a friend. 
However you found our garden of words, pause awhile, and, welcome, stay, join us. Send a thought, poem, short story or phrase that has meant, or continues to mean, something special to you, for it is often words which help our garden grow. 

Simply e-mail your submission to J. Lavorgnadoxjpl@comcast.net  with your name, author's name, or unknown or anonymous author, and  we will add you as a "seeds"  for our Garden submitter as seen below.

He never came to me when I would call
unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn't come at all.
When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.
Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn't drag.
He'd dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I'd grab him, he'd turn and bite me.
He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn't read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.
He set the house on fire
But the story's long to tell.
Suffice it to say that he survived
And the house surived as well.
On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The Old One and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.
He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.
But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the Old One was there
And would follow him where he was bound.
We are early-to-bedders at our house--
I guess I'm the first to retire.
And as I'd leave the room he'd look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.
He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I'd give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I'd fish it out with a smile
And before very long
He'd tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.
And there were nights when I'd feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I'd pat his head.
And there were nights when I'd feel this stare
And I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I'd feel him sigh
and I think I know the reason why.
He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he'd be glad to have me near.
And now he's dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.
And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he's not there.
Oh, how I wish that wasn't so,
I'll always love a dog named Beau.
- Jimmy Stewart
An Ode to Yarra

Because of you, I am so complete
You came into my life and in a fleet
I accepted those things I couldn't change
Nor did I want to rearrange
The beauty of your sweet little soul
I invited you in to help make me whole
To share with me your love and trust
To let you know you are not just
A dog, a creature or furry pest...
Because of you I can be my best
There are no limits to loving you
No invisible goal for me to pursue
The absolute joy of watching you sleep
Knowing you are the baby I'll always keep
Close to my heart, my side and my dreams
You enter them and everything seems
Simple, pure, good and intense
Playful, silly, like me, that makes sense
So we're in this together, my cocoa puff
You came into my life
Now...I have enough.
- Kate Pappas 


Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found that he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comfortin explanation.
He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life - like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."
- Anonymous

I explained to St. Peter,
I'd rather stay here
Outside the pearly gate.
I won't be a nuisance,
I won't even bark, I'll be very patient and wait,
I'll be here chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I'd miss you so much if I went all alone,
It wouldn't be heaven for me.
- Anon. Poet


A Dog's Prayer
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside... for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements... and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth... though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land... for you are my god... and I am your devoted worshiper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest...and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

--Beth Norman Harris

This soldier I realized must have had friends at home and in his regiment; yet he lay there deserted by all except his dog. I looked on unmoved, at battles which decided the future of nations. Tearless, I had given orders which brought death to thousands. Yet here I was stirred to tears. And to what? By the grief of one dog.
- Napoleon Bonaparte, on finding a dog beside the body of his dead master, licking his face and howling; on a moonlit field after a battle. Napoleon was haunted by this scene until his own death.

A Lapdog's Collar Inscription
Pray steal me not, I'm Mrs. Dingley's
whose heart in this four-footed thing lives.
- Jonathan Swift
I guess you don't really own a dog, you rent them, and you have to be glad you have a long lease.
- Joe Garagiola
An earthly dog of the carriage breed,
Who having failed of the modern speed,
Now asked asylum and I was stirred
To be the one so dog preferred.
- Robert Frost
You're only a dog, old fellow
A dog, and you've had your day;
But never a friend of all my friends
Has been truer than you always.
- Julian Stearns Cotter
I have a dog of Breunheim birth,
With fine long ears and full of mirth;
And sometimes running o'er the plain
He tumbles on his nose:
But quietly jumping up again,
Like lightening on he goes.
- John Rusking
To call him a dog hardly seems to do him justice, though in as much as he had four legs, a tail, and barked, I admit he was, to all outward appearances a dog. But to those who knew him well, he was a perfect gentleman.
- Herminone Gingold
To me, the best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.
- Ben Hur Lampman
Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.
- John Galsworthy
My Zoe - Chocolate Rescue Doodle
Sweet one.
Love of mine.
How you stole my heart
And carried it so genthly
Through the meadows
And the forests
Of my days.
Never asking more than I could give
Or less than what I had to offer.
Dancing on your back legs
Full of joy. Alone or in my arms.
Oh Zoey girl, you who crept among the flowers
Who stood beneath the bushes looking out
Hiding from the world before I think
Lest back you'd have to travel.
Your burns, so sore they must have been
I only understood because you tip-toed on our walks.
Whoever saw a dog on tip toes?
And then the ointments and the scrapings
And the booties for so long a time.
Until my girl no longer tip-toed,
Turned to dance a pas de deux
To the audience of one.
No one lifted the sheets this morning
To lick my toes and nuzzle my ankles.
No girlfriend snuggled in my lap.
No one ran a gentle paw through Dad or Rossie's hair.
But I was with you in the end sweet girl
Holding you, stroking you, loving you.
Not wanting to let go, having to.
I turned to leave the room sometime after your soul was gone.
But at the door I turned to the table and walked back.
I kissed your toes Zoey girl.
Did you know it, did you feel me there?
And I put your collar on my lap on the drive home.
Did you see me?
Well, I saw you, through the leafless branches of the trees.
On a winter Georgia afternoon
Dancing and twirling and twisting
On God's right hand.


An Insomniac's Best Friend (from the NY Times)

Chief was my insomnia buddy. As far as late-night companions go, you could do worse than a dog. We humans fill the sleepless void with mental anguish, constructing indexes of recriminations and future-forward panic. Dogs, anchored in the present, know no such travail. The sum total of their fixations are food, belly rubs, and alerting to possible intruders. Chief and I, the worrier and the worry-free, formed a yin and yang of preoccupation. We were perfect partners.

Ever anxious in my sleeplessness, I cherished the uplift that came from the familiar circle, circle, plonk of my 100-pound, unusually tall yellow Lab, throwing himself onto the checkerboard rug by my side. Devoted in the extreme, he was so determined to be near me that someone once exclaimed, “He’d crawl into the corner of your eye if he could.” I’d put aside my cares for a moment and pick up one of his great webbed paws, sniff the tough, street-blackened pads and exclaim, “Your feet smell like Fritos!” I’d tickle the divot of his belly button, or rub his velvety cutlet ears. He’d shift positions, leaving behind an aureole of hair so thick it looked as if all his follicles had sneezed at once.

On New Year’s Day 2009, Chief started to cough. His normal deep breathing became a rapid pant. A trip to the animal emergency room yielded a chest X-ray so cloudy, the vet couldn’t see the dog’s heart. “I think it’s fluid,” she said. “I can’t help him here. There’s a hospital in Yonkers where they can treat him. If I were you, I wouldn’t wait.” We raced him 90 minutes down the Taconic Parkway, where they drained two liters of fluid from his chest and performed a biopsy.

Our poor Chief was a statistical rarity — one of the 4 percent of dogs each year who develop lung cancer. The tumor was the size of a cantalope. We did our research: after cancer surgery, the average canine life expectancy is nine months. Chief was only seven years old, and otherwise healthy — nay, robust. We opted for the surgery. It was expensive, but for once in my writer’s life, I was flush. It would be worth it. It would be worth it if he had a long and otherwise healthy life.

While the dog was in the veterinary I.C.U., yoked to tubes and beeping machines, I scarcely slept a wink. Rather than thumbing through a varied index of anxieties, I was focused on one specific dog-shaped worry. I lay on my back next to my husband, tears leaking from my eyes to collect in my ears.

“I miss him,” my husband whispered into the dark.
“Me, too.”

Four days later, we brought him home from the Yonkers animal hospital, a Fentanyl-doped Frankendog with a row of glimmering staples down his side. He healed quickly, was given a hopeful prognosis, and returned to his normal, uncomplicated life. He swam in the Hudson River, and he chased deer through the woods. He kept me company each night. It was a very good summer. We opted for six rounds of monthly chemotherapy, hoping to improve his odds. He trotted happily from each session, unfazed. I never thought about the money. Between the surgery and the chemo, my husband and I laid out close to $15,000. What I didn’t know — couldn’t have known — was that we were whistling past the graveyard, writing checks as we went.

Nine months to the day after his surgery, we noticed Chief once again straining to breathe. We thought in vain that it might be kennel cough but an X-ray exposed our delusion. The cancer was back, his lungs percolating with fluid. Our beloved, handsome dog was drowning from the inside out.

We had no more money, no more options. No more time. In the vet’s office, an assistant led us to a stark room. I leaned on the stainless steel exam table and signed away my dog’s fading life. I checked a box, declining the chance to take home Chief’s ashes — too costly, too sad. The staff wanted to be assured I was lucid in my cloud of grief. “So, group cremation?” they asked over and over. Ashes to ashes, dogs into dust.

Under sedation, Chief wobbled and drooled, stumbling as his vision blurred. My husband, who in battle had seen the light dim in too many people’s eyes, sat sobbing and despondent. I loved him more for that. The dog, in drugged stupor, looped around, jumped up on my husband, paws on his lap and licked the tears from his face. Around and over again.

A second shot of sedative brought Chief to the floor at last. I knelt beside him and stroked those velvety ears. When the young vet took up a syringe of opaque pink fluid, I whispered into the dog’s forehead. “God will take care of you.” Within seconds of the plunger easing down, he was gone, and the room went perfectly still. My loyal insomnia buddy had met his final rest. After a few minutes, the assistant asked, “Would you like a paw print to take with you?” At first I thought it morbid, then I knew it would be all I’d have left. I nodded. She disappeared in search of the inkpad, leaving me alone to weep over my dog’s sweet face, kissing his still-warm muzzle.

That first night without Chief, I found myself straining to hear him coming up the stairs, his arrival heralded by toenails on the hardwood, followed by the crash of the spare bedroom door opening as he strolled in to take his place on the rug. Circle, circle, plonk. But throughout the house, no sound, just the branches groaning in the wind and the aggressive plink of wind chimes outside the window. I was alone. Chief was gone for good.

Now, months later, I’m awake and alone yet again, and, as in years past, worried about money. I pass the infernal deep blue hours haunted by memories of my dog, haunted by regret. When I ask myself, “Was it worth it?” and come up short, I then ask, is it so bad that my wildest indulgence was trying to keep someone I adored alive and happy just that much longer?

Samuel Butler once wrote: “The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.” We owners fling cash like idiots for no other reason than we are crazy about our pets, and because they, in their blasted, heartbreaking, loving ways, are crazy for us.

In the absence of belly scrubs to distract me, or floppy ears to beguile me, I console myself at night with that thought — man and dog can be fools for each other, and folly knows no higher calling than to be a fool for love. It’s what I have left, along with the memory of a gentle, galumphing companion, and an ink print on the refrigerator in the place of paw treads on the stairs.
- Lily Burana




Here in this house......

Here in this house......

I will never know the loneliness I hear in the barks of the other dogs 'out there'.
I can sleep soundly, assured that when I wake my world will not have changed.
I will never know hunger, or the fear of not knowing if I'll eat.
I will not shiver in the cold, or grow weary from the heat.
I will feel the sun's heat, and the rain's coolness,
and be allowed to smell all that can reach my nose.
My fur will shine, and never be dirty or matted.
Here in this house...

There will be an effort to communicate with me on my level.
I will be talked to and, even if I don't understand,
I can enjoy the warmth of the words.
I will be given a name so that I may know who I am among many.
My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it!
Here in this house...

I will never be a substitute for anything I am not.
I will never be used to improve peoples' images of themselves.
I will be loved because I am who I am, not someone's idea of who I should be.
I will never suffer for someone's anger, impatience, or stupidity.
I will be taught all the things I need to know to be loved by all.
If I do not learn my lessons well, they will look to my teacher for blame.
Here in this house...

I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch...
knowing that, no matter what they do, they do it for the good of me.
If I am ill, I will be doctored.
If scared, I will be calmed.
If sad, I will be cheered.
No matter what I look like, I will be considered beautiful and thought to be of value.
I will never be cast out because I am too old, too ill, too unruly, or not cute enough.
My life is a responsibility, and not an afterthought.
I will learn that humans can almost, sometimes, be as kind and as fair as dogs.

Here in this house...
I will belong.
I will be home.




I Rescued A Human Today by Janine Allen

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid. As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today. Sometimes the overworked shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

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Written by Janine Allen CPDT, Rescue Me Dog's professional dog trainer. Janine's passion is working with people and their dogs. She provides demonstrations for those who have adopted shelter dogs, lends email support to adopted dog owners that need information beyond our Training Support Pages, and aids shelter staff and volunteers in understanding dog behavior to increase their adoptability. Copyright 2011 Rescue Me Dog; www.rescuemedog.org






Many Thanks to our Submitters

Debbie (Sundog and Barney)
Dr. Judith P. Lavorgna
Madonna J.
Kate P. (Yarra and Yindi)
Susan Salzer
Vicki, Luke and HurriCane