Dear Mr. Levin

I want to share a poem with you that a friend of mine sent me after the loss of her beloved friend. It is called “Second Dog”.

Sometimes I look for traits in you
Of a little dog you never knew
A dog that loved me all her days
And understood in special ways.
But that’s not fair to you, I know
You’re not a substitute, although,
You’ve eased the loss, and soothed the pain,
And tugged my laughter home again.
Yet, puppy, sometimes I almost start
When your eyes recall her to my heart.
You’ll never lack for love, it’s clear,
Because of her, you’re twice as dear.

When my beloved Daisy, a black lab pit bull mix died on August 31, 2006 I did not know if I could survive losing her. I have always had numerous pets (currently 3 dogs, 4 birds, and a turtle) but there was something about Daisy. I don’t know if it was because I had so many critters to compare her to, perhaps my maturity, or just the stage in my life that I was in but she taught me what a pure unconditional love was. Much like the love that God gives us. She was brought to me by my daughter who found her digging through trashcans on the east part of town. I was very hesitant about taking her because I had just lost my Dixie but I also felt that the timing was right to bring in another friend. The vet estimated her to be about six months old and for the next ten glorious years she was truly my most cherished friend. I honestly think that she was psychic because she always read my moods and reacted accordingly. I can’t tell you how many tears she licked from my face. She slept with me every night (all 75 lbs of her) and many times I had to beat her to the bed so that I could sleep next to my husband. And many mornings, I would wake up to her head on my pillow with her paw on my chest. She was my child.

In the first part of July 2006 she started to go down in her back and after taking her in for x rays the vet found a mass close to her spine. He wasn’t quite sure what is was so in the interim he gave her a cortisone injection and something for the pain. The injection only lasted for a few days and after a second x ray and a better look at the mass the doctor decided to do some blood work. His prognosis was that she had lymphoma and more than likely it had spread to her spine. He had suggested a type of chemo which would have prolonged her life about six more months but her inability to walk was a double blow. My husband and I decided to make her as comfortable as possible knowing the inevitable. She received numerous cortisone injections in her back but towards the end these were no longer working. I camped out in our living on an inflatable mattress so that she could sleep next to me since she was unable to get in the bed anymore. We both slept there for the next seven weeks until my husband and I finally decided that it was time. I prayed to God that he take her but unfortunately the decision had to be made by me. The pain of me losing her was so great but her suffering was much greater. I was surprised that I was able to survive it all. My husband and I had talked about it often even before she got sick. It was a day I never wanted to see.

About three months later I was at my grandson’s birthday party and a German shepherd mix young dog kept hanging around the yard. My daughter lives out in the country and she said that “Angel” comes over a lot to play with the kids. As we were fixing to leave the owner of her drove up to retrieve her and asked if anyone wanted her because he couldn’t keep her tied up anymore and he was going to take her to the pound. There was something about her that I couldn’t quite shake and I recalled the first time that I saw my Daisy and how I had hesitated rescuing her. We decided right then to take her home. I believe that Daisy sent her to me. Angel will never take Daisy’s place but there are so many traits that are similar and I appreciate that Daisy. Thus the reason for the poem. I believe that God sends these angels to us to fill voids in our lives and when we need help changing things about ourselves. I also believe that the reason that they don’t live as long as we want them to is because there are so many Daisy’s that need a home and if we allow it we can have numerous “angels” in our lifetime. Dog spelled backwards is “God”. Truly His gift to us. So this is to all my “second dogs”, Snooter, Eugly, Snooter II, Toga, Dixie, Rosie, Scruffy, Sissy, Spanky, Hal, Bob, and Daisy.

Dawn from Texas