Laila, now your fur shows flecks of grey
Your coat a little less shiny
Your walk a little less bouncy.
It’s time to take the harness from your back.
and send you on your next adventure,
It’s retirement day.
A dog of many names: Laila, Lails, Noodle, Pooch.
You were an extension of my arm.
A gentle presence to my left.
When I turned my cheek you’d be there to lick it on the other side.
While I held your paw on that last day I cried:
How can I say thank you? When thank you is not enough.
You shared my hospital bed after I fell apart.
You were with me behind airlocked doors.
You ran for help when I was in trouble.
You barked when I couldn’t respond.
You believed we would walk in fields together again.
And we did.
Laila, you have seen me grow from the age of fourteen.
You’ve witnessed me fall apart and helped to piece me back together.
Under tables you silently waited for me to finish exams.
Sofa surfed the country by my side.
Stayed a presence at every appointment and therapy session.
When I had nothing, you were there.
Our time together has been more eventful than we both would have liked.
But I couldn’t imagine a better companion to guide me through.
As you meet the new dog, the one that will guide me through my next phase,
I see you look your colleague in the eye and I hear you say:
“I’m passing you the baton,
Walk with your head held high.
I’ve got her this far, you do the next lap.
look after after for me.”
“Look after her for me” is what I say as I hand over your lead.
And on you go to your beautiful retirement.
Enjoy the next lap my friend.