I Thought I Was Ready

Our little dog, Dockers, is gone. We’ve known this day was coming for a while, but even so, it caught us unprepared. She had good days and bad days, but most of the time she did okay. She couldn’t hear or see very well, and I think her sense of smell was weak, but she could still taste, and loved to eat. Usually, she was happiest if she could have some of what I was having. I couldn’t go into the kitchen without her on my heels. The fact is, she was on my heels all day every day for the past couple of years. I called her Bubba Dog for years, but had recently taken to calling her Bug, because that what she did–bug me all day. She could tell time, and knew when it was time for a walk, time to eat, or time for her daily treats.

I wasn’t gonna write this poem yet, but Mary’s prompt for the Saturday dVerse Poets Pub “Poetics” feature said, “Oh, yes you are”, so here it is. It was a tough one to write, but I had to do it. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

I Thought I Was Ready


For seventeen years

She was my faithful pal

And since my retirement—two years ago

My constant companion


When we lived out by the lake

She used to run alongside my golf cart

Such a pleasure to watch her glide

She was born to run it seemed

Then she got old and couldn’t run any more

But wouldn’t let me skip our daily walks

But the walks kept getting shorter

In the end, no more than half a block

I knew it was coming

I thought I was ready

Man… I’ve never been so wrong

Can’t believe how much it hurts

Finding her like that

Not believing what was happening

Seeing her tail wag

When “Mom” showed up at the vet’s

It’s been three days now

I go for walks—alone

I see her in the kitchen

But she’s not there

Some say all dogs go to heaven

Others say they don’t

I’m gonna believe they do

‘Cause I can’t stand thinking she’s just gone

So if you’re up there

Or you get there before I do

Tell my little Bug I love her

Give her a hug and a scratch behind her ear

Tell her she was the best friend I ever had

Tell her my heart has a hole big as Texas in it

Yeah… I thought I was ready…

I didn’t know it would hurt this much

Copyright © 2012 C Mashburn


  1. hugs man…hard….dogs become such good friends….my first was my best friend growin up…he was a hound names hobo…strong enough to carry me around….you can never be truly ready you know….i know she feels the love…

    • Thanks, Brian. I’ve had puppies and dogs, but this was the only one I had from pup til the end. Man… I can’t tell it right now, but the way it all went down at the end was tough to handle. Got some vivid pictures to get out of my mind.

  2. Sherry Mashburn said

    She was our baby dog and taught us so much. She was funny and smart and loved us completely and without reservation. We miss her and we love her still.

    • We’ll never forget her, that’s for sure. And we have some great stories and memories to share when we are able to do it without choking up.

  3. tigerbrite said

    We are never ready for the loss of a friend. My heart was broken over the loss of my feline companion very dear to me. The pain is in the heart.
    This is the first time I have managed to comment on your blog because I wanted to share. so much.
    Do you think you might be able to chase away those marbles?

  4. Oh my God, Charles, I am so sorry. I know exactly how big that absence is. Seventeen years together – you were lucky. I had fourteen years with my big old wolf dog. He died January of 2011 and I still miss him every day. No one loves us like these creatures do. I had tried to prepare myself, too. But there is just no way to be ready for these dear creatures to be gone. I know what you mean about walking alone. I havent been able to bear it, even yet. Know that she was happy and knew you loved her. I am counting on them being there to meet us when it’s our turn.

    • I walked a mile or so the first morning, and sobbed the entire time. It’s getting better, but man, it still hurts. I don’t think I even realized how much I loved that little critter.

  5. Raivenne said

    I’m so sorry Charles. You made life for each other all the better for having each other. Dockers knew she was loved and it was the kind of love that didn’t need words. ♡

    • Thank you very much Raivenne. I have to tell you, I’ve never been loved by a pet the way this one loved me. It was amazing.

  6. Ray said

    We knew the Bug We even took her on walks
    When we visited the lake. I taught her a few
    tricks . She could run like the wind
    but stop at every bush. We are sad
    she is gone and tears came to our eyes as
    we read the story

    • Thanks Ray Brown. One of our favorite stories is about when you taught her to fall over when you pointed your finger at her and said, “BANG!” She sure was a smart little dog. Of course, we could teach her to do bout anything when we had a couple treats in our hand.

  7. Wow, that was touching. Nicely done sir.
    We have three dogs — my 15 year-old may be leaving soon. Your poem reminded me that I won’t be prepared for that either — but that is OK.

    • Honestly, I truly thought I was ready. The circumstances didn’t help. It was really hard to deal with.
      Thanks for the kind words, Sabio.

      • Death usually takes me off guard. My older dog now follows me all day and often spends an hour just facing a way. He is a ‘bug’ too. I will be curious if you start writing poems about a new dog soon.

      • I probably won’t be getting another one, Sabio. We’re preparing to head into another season of our lives, and won’t be able to have one for at least the next few years. I promise you, I’ll be writing more about my little “Bug” though. Lots of happy stuff.

      • What sort of life change, may I ask, that won’t allow a dog but which may change later to allow a dog? That was a puzzle.

      • We’re going to be traveling some.

  8. Ray said

    We knew Bug we loved Dockers
    we took her on walks when we visited
    the lake .She could run like the wind but
    would stop at every bush
    We taught her some tricks we will miss
    This story brought tears to our eyes

  9. Such a heart felt read, I know she is running along the fields of heavens ~ Thanks for sharing this ~ Very sorry for your loss ~

  10. Laurie Kolp said

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Charles.

  11. Another one that made me tear up. So sorry for your loss.

  12. Mary said

    Charles, this poem brought tears to my eyes. I know how you feel….really. I felt the same way when I lost two earlier dogs. They have to be in heaven waiting… If dogs are not in heaven, it can’t be heaven!! I do know how intense love for a dog can be, as I love dogs with that kind of intensity too. I know you had written about Dockers before. I am so very sad for your loss; but am happy that you and Dockers had such love for so many years. If you don’t mind, I will send you a hug!

    • This is a first for me, Mary. I never had a dog from puppy to the end. Thank you for the hug. They are precious to me these days.

      • Mary said

        The two dogs I had to say good-bye to I had from puppyhood til the end. It was hard. I have three dogs now. Ages 7, 5, and 1 1/2. They are family. I know it is way too early to think about it….but do think in the next months about another dog. Dockers reminds me of one of my earlier dogs….Dixie. I can see he was a special friend as I look at the photo.

      • I appreciate the encouragement, Mary, but there probably won’t be anymore dogs in our future. Not because of losing this one, but our lifestyle will be changing, and it just probably won’t work out.

  13. Charles and Sherry there are no words to speak right now that give true comfort just friends saying they feel your pain. Losing a family member of any species is hard and you will grieve a long time, eventually you will dry the tears and blow the nose and think all is well and then out of the blue you find an old bone or toy or even a shadow and you will start again. but my dear friends remember she is now in heaven where the sky is always blue, water is fresh and the fields are green. she will chase butterflies and rabbits and squirrels, she will run , jump, bark and pant, flop down under a big tree next to the river bank and she will remember you and your walks and how she was always underfoot. How you went for those walks and you loved her enough to know when to stop and go back because she was tired, then she will get a smile on her face and jump up joyously for she knows someday she will see you both at the gates to heaven and she will be there wagging that tail saying mommy daddy welcome home. God Bless and keep you both in His comforting arms.~~Len

    • Now look what you did, Len! You got me all teary-eyed again. What a wonderful comforting message. Thank you.
      You struck a cord when you mentioned her rolling by the river. One of my best recent memories was a sunny day not long ago when we were sitting on the back deck. Dockers came out and wandered slowly around the yard, sniffing the grass. She used to do that, find the perfect spot, then drop and roll around grinning that big doggie grin and flailing her long legs in the air. It was pure joy to her and pure joy for us to watch her. On the recent day I refer to though, when she was right in front of us, she just yawned real big and wagged her tail, giving me a scene to cherish; one I’ll always remember.

      • just grab the tissues and cry all you want, tears are healing and memories are good , write about Dockers if it helps your grieving process we won’t mind reading and we are her for the two of you . God bless.

    • Sherry Mashburn said

      Bless you, Len, for those words of comfort. You painted a beautiful picture for me to hold in my heart . . .

  14. I know that was tough to write and you really put your heart and soul into its words. Had many pets through the years, especially when the kids were young. The two cats we have now are more special than any pet at any time. Maybe because it is just the two of us now. Anyway, I cannot imagine what it will be like when it comes time for either Foxie or Boots to leave us. I know neither of us will be ready. They are our children now. My heart goes out to you with a warm fuzzy hug.

    The Like is not liking the subject matter of this post but simply Liking the words you were able to pen that truly portrays a beautiful relationship between man and his dog. Priceless. . .

    • That like button is kinda weird sometimes, isn’t it? But I know what you mean. I appreciate the wonderfully kind words, Sharla.

  15. ooohh! I am so sorry. I am going to die with my little Leivi.

  16. Bill Mashburn said

    Shoot! real sorry Dad and Sherry…. choked me up reading this because I know how much she meant to you guys.

  17. Aw, Charles … that’s all x

  18. Susan said

    My deepest condolences Charles…gosh, I know what you’re feeling all too well. The poem, of course, made me cry. She’s chasing golf carts in heaven. ❤

    • Thank you, Susan. Sorry I made you cry, but sometimes we need a good cry. It seems to ease the pain somehow, and as like to say, it’s gonna feel real good when it quits hurtin’.

  19. Starr Suprak said

    Beautiful poem for Dockers! What a lucky dog!

  20. Deborah said

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  21. Faye said

    Charlie: I just heard the news from Sherry. Wonderful tribute to a special dog. When it comes to grief, and the words don’t come, the best things for me to say is, “I am so sorry.” God bless you both and my prayers are with you and Sherry.

  22. Bodhirose said

    Little “Bug” and you were tight companions for many years…of course it’s going to hurt and you’re going to feel that void in your life just as you would for any loved one. I’m so sorry, Charles…I can feel the raw emotions in this.

    And I know she’ll be waiting for you…

  23. coastalmom said

    I love this poem. How did I miss it? You commented on mine about Buddy and yet somehow, I missed this one! So sorry for your loss! You know I GET it. That is weird… somehow I thought I commented here. Glad to re-read and actually click LIKE!

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