Saturday, August 14, 2010

Empty Collars

Up on a hill, surrounded by rolling grassy slopes and wild flowers, watered by a spring of sweet water, stands a great old tree.  The branches are gnarled and twisted with age, the leaves grow in rich shades of green.  The trunk is wide and offers many roots for climbing, sitting and shade.

This is no ordinary tree, it is a memory tree.  Each branch is hung, not with fruit, but with collars and tags. There are old ones made of rope, some braided twine, others of fine leather or other material. The tags are shiny, they are old and worn, some metal, some plastic, some twinkle and some are empty rings.  Each one holds the memories of a dog that has cross The Rainbow Bridge

Their people come here, to hang the collars, to leave their memories with the tree.  Of little puppy teeth chewing, of old grey muzzles snoring softy, of a working dog's first successful job, of a service dog's last task.  The memories hang from the tree, with each push of the wind the collars shift and softly sound.  With each movement the wind brings memories to the people left behind

We remember a cold nose, soft ears, toe nails ticking on hard floors, puppy barks and old dog mumbles.  

We remember wagging tails, first confident steps, tripping over toys and soggy chewies.
We remember first glances filled with love, we remember puddles and poopsciles.

We remember our dogs, those who wore the collars that hang from the tree, and we love them still.

The memories they leave in our minds also leave paw prints upon our hearts.  

We never forget their first moment with us, nor do we ever forget their last.  That last breath, that last heartbeat, that last living look.  Those who lived long lives or those who were barely here - if they were with us long enough to touch our hearts we can rest knowing we also had them long enough to show them our love.

I never forget: Whiskey, KK, Kahula, Jessie, Voodoo, Andy, Sparkie.  See you at The Bridge!

(this post is dedicated to the memory of the dogs I've loved and those I love still...feel free to change dog for cat, collar for halter, and remember your animal friends who have crossed The Bridge.  The love is the same, no matter who we loved, how or when.)

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