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Ode to Brownie - by Garry L Cox

Ode to Brownie

Dear Brownie

Just a line to let you know

you were the best dog ever lived

because you were my dog

because you were my friend

I thought you might want to know

that you were my last dog, too

My very last

Mom said God took you

Dad said poor judgment did you in

You did love chasing cars, you know

So I figured if God took you

Only God could give me another dog

and he never did

Some might say you had a hard scrabble life

never allowed in the house unless it was freezing outside

never had a house of your own

Dad built you a lean-to and said it had to do

You never got to hang around the dinner table

and beg for scraps like some dogs were allowed to do

Mom said back on the farm

animals had to earn their keep

and pets should fend for themselves

So I always saved you some supper

and fed you on the porch

Dad was always saying I should tie you up

at night or whenever we would leave

Neighbors said I should have you on a leash

The only time I ever saw you mad

was when I tied a rope around your neck

and tried to pull you for a walk

I gave that up soon enough

Anyway who wants a dog

that won’t just follow you around

because it wants to

We did buy you a nifty leather collar though

with Brownie stenciled on a little brass plate

That was just in case you got lost

a finder could read your name

and figure you must be Garry’s Brownie

You were never much for showing off

Words like ‘fetch’ and ‘sit’ and ‘roll over’

just weren’t in your vocabulary

But whenever I would talk to you

your eyes would focus on my face

and you would listen like you understood

Then there was the fun we had

Remember when I tried to push you in the tire swing

And you were too scared to jump out

When the swing died down you just hung there

like a trussed up ring of sausage

You were better in the wagon though

Standing like a general watching his troops go by

Remember Halloween

The time I took you to an outdoor party

And us kids all bobbed for apples

I guess you felt like one of us

But it did create a ruckus

when you slipped between me and a pal of mine

and glommed onto an apple for yourself

trapping it against the side of the tub

like you’d been doing it all you life

Then taking off like a thief

leaving me to bear your scolding

But best of all I think for both of us

were the hours we spent exploring

the mystery of our secret woods

Me searching for Indians and lost gold

and maidens in distress

And you the mighty hunter

chasing anything that moved

including fish floating near the surface of the pond

I believe to this day you could have caught one

if you’d had more stealth than splash

Some say you were a mongrel dog

no lineage to your name

but I say you come from a long line of Brownies

I’ve seen you through the years, white with big brown splotches

Or the other way around

Hanging with a boy or girl

Companion dogs of the highest order

And you were my Brownie

I was proud to be your kid

I’ll remember you forever

Will you remember me?

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