Walking the Old Guy


Is it the route we take,
Or something he smells as we get close?
His first bark is half-formed,
But they get stronger and more excited as we pull up.
His head tips back and his ears flap outward
As he barks his joy.

Nine years ago, when I first retired,
Toby would ride with Shelby in our Beaglemobile.
Now Maggie, our Golden, rides along with him.
Eager for her time in the field with her ball.

She’s not interested in beagle things,
Or even the ball, after a while.
Just let her run in the meadow,
Where her color blends with the dry grass
 In the late afternoon,
As she casts about for critter smells.

Toby stays on the dusty path with me,
Scouting the edges for scents only he cares about.
Shelby is present only as a shadow,

Still sniffing, pointing her nose down at a spot,
And then maneuvering precisely over it to ‘mark’.
Toby has no such delicacy about his obligations –
His pauses are deliberate, but perfunctory by comparison.

His brown and black patches have a lot of white in them now.
His ears and muzzle are almost all white.
His skin is looser.
At thirteen he doesn’t pull as hard,
But he still pulls.



© 2008  Michael Yanega




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