It seems a year or two at most that Luke has been around,
But nine have passed since first I spied him at the Brisbane pound.
He stood in dogdom’s big house, all ears and tongue and smile,
The model of a friendly dog, without a trace of guile.
‘Please, that one in the second cage, with the german shepherd look! ‘
The attendant riffled pages, and he found him in his book.
‘It says that he’s half kelpie and he called Carina home,
And that his name is Luke, and that he sometimes likes to roam.’
‘Here, boy! ‘ I called, and here he came, and without hesitation
His tail a hairy question mark; would he improve his station?
I hope I did, in our short time, improve his life as he has mine.
I’ve seldom known so loyal a friend, nor dreamed of how soon it would end.
He’s sure done all those doggy things that dogs are famous for.
He’s barked at all & sundry and shed hair on every floor.
He’s barked at trucks with flapping tarps and kids on minibikes.
and howled in unison with Spook to tell of their dislikes…
Of the sirens of the ambulance or wailing police cars
In hot pursuit of motorists caught in covert radars.
Now suddenly I come aware that he’s well past his prime.
The years have all been stolen by the furtive thief of time.
At first it’s hardly noticed, no real drama at first sight,
Just a restless movement in the dark, a whimper in the night…
He thinks that I’m all knowing, he believes that I’m all wise,
And he thinks that I can fix it; I can see it in his eyes.
But now it looks like it’s the end, it seems no cure is known.
A defect in the hip socket to which his breed is prone.
The computer screen is shimmering, like looking through a fog,
As I write to tell the story of my lovely long-eared dog.
I lift him up into the car, his leap has long since gone,
Would he be quite so happy, if he knew the road we’re on?
I’m waiting for the vet to open, crying like a child.
‘Would you come this way to see the vet? ‘ The lady in white smiled.
The leg is shaved and sterilized, one might well wonder why!
The syringe at last is empty, and I bid my friend goodbye.
I hold him tight and talk to him, ‘sleep now, my dear old friend’.
And cradled in my arms he sleeps; and we have reached the end.
And still, down by the fence he sleeps, beneath the shady trees.
Where the wild birds chatter from the branches, swaying in the breeze.
And high above him, after dark, the southern cross burns bright,
And there’ll be no more pain or hurt… No whimper in the night.