When the top dog becomes the old dog.

Oh Country Man’s dog… when will you discover you are no longer a pup?

South Dakota pup
You may appear to understand this now, laying there, begging for my love, but explain this week’s raw exposed flesh on your neck and back, the toe that is now missing, causing the old man to limp.

South Dakota pup
Old tired, weary and worn dog man, when will you discover the fight ain’t what it used to be?

I’ve seen you charge coons with my own two eyes, take them down quickly to my surprise. But never to Country Man’s. Not to the one who knows you best.

South Dakota pup

I’ve heard the tales. The countless coons, the few porcupines… the coyotes.

But that was long ago, I like to believe, and in your years, you’ve grown many to mine. You’ve earned the rest. You won’t rest, though, will you?

Some things won’t change, no matter the gray expanding across your eyes or the creaky way you stand up after a long nap.

You will still wag your tail at the sound of your boss’s voice. You will forever wait for the sound of him calling your name to get in the back of the pickup… even when you’ll need a little help getting there. Your heart smiles most, the anticipation, on that drive to the open fields and river hills.

South Dakota pup

Country Man’s faithful friend. You are his morning’s quiet consistency while considering a long day of working the field, the cattle. How will today go?

You are always there and always near. Unless you’ve gone after that coyote, that tom cat. You’re wild at heart; nothing this girl can do to tame it. Even though I will halfheartedly try, because I like a good challenge. But I like your wildness more. I really don’t want to change it. Don’t let me.

South Dakota pup

In the dog's prime

I wonder, sometimes, when you’ve finished the race and gone, will we find another like you?

South Dakota pup
It’s been said a man will never have another dog like his first…
before the wife and family take hold.

I believe that.


43 thoughts on “When the top dog becomes the old dog.

  1. What a beautiful dog. How lucky he is to be loved by you and not shunned because of his special place in your Country Man’s heart!

  2. This is an amazing post – what beautiful writing!! I love your words. The pictures are great – love the one of him with his chin resting on the tailgate of the truck.
    It’s so sad to think of a time when he won’t be there for your Country Man.

  3. Wow…love this! The photos are amazing and the words..well, brought tears. This reminded me of our Maggie Mae in so many ways. The photo of him with his chin on the truck and then the one on the garage floor (I think that is where he is) struck a chord with me. The place the dog fills in one’s heart, remains, never to be refilled. The heart expands to make room for another if need, opening the door to whole new journey.

  4. Your dog looks a lot like our first dog, Shadow. I bet he’s either a labrador or has some lab in him. No, you’ll never have another dog like the first one, but the others will be loved just as much and have their own unique personalities. Loving a dog once he or she starts to get old is bittersweet. We’ve lived through two geriatric dogs, and now our next oldest, Tyra, is starting to need some help getting up and down off the bed. I wouldn’t change any of the times we’ve had with any of them for anything!


  5. Awww, he sounds like a great dog. What were the new patches of missin hair from this time? Was it a coon? We have so many rabid coons around here I would probably call Luna off a coon if I saw her interested in one. It will be tuff to see our two dogs get older. I just had to put down my family’s dogs, that wasn’t easy either. I hope he has many many more years left to dote on his master

  6. I don’t think it’s necessarily the first dog that’s so special. I think that a particular dog is special. Our Abby Dog, whom I’ve posted about on a couple of occasions, was not our first dog. We had a springer before her, but there will never be another dog as special as Abby. Love your tribute to that wonderful black lab.

  7. What a gorgeous dog! Our golden retriever recently had to be put down and it was so sad, but we couldn’t have asked for a better friend or better memories! Looks like you have the same loyalty and companionship in yours – long may it last 🙂

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  13. This was written from the heart and it comes through in the reading. He is a special dog, that it evident in your writing, and in your photos as well. Thank you for sharing this and for your visit today. ~ Lynda

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