My Dachshund Knows Death Approaches
by Zoe Akins for the American Dachshund, 20th Anniversary Edition, September, 1959
A Chinese bronze was never more sturdy looking
Than my red dachshund - styled
Heavy and bold and long of body
With improbably short legs
And intelligent eyes in her beautiful hound's head
Draped by improbably long satin ears.
But slowly now she has grown old;
Slowly her face has taken on a gray look,
The bronze coat going gray here and there;
This was to be expected in time
But not yet
With all the sturdiness suddenly
Sagging out of the still sturdy-looking body.
...Always when she heard me coming
I would hear her little scampering feet
Scamper on the wooden floor
Like so many mice, and her short barks of joy.
To be always welcomed with joy
Is a lovely thing;
And a dog's welcome
Is one of the prettiest things I know.
But only her eyes can welcome me now;
She can not longer cavort about my knees
And dance on her absurdly short hind legs
As when her feet scampered like mice
To meet mine.
She does not bark at all now;
To welcome or guard me.
She does not come and wait
With her front feet on a chair
To be invited to her special place
At the foot of my bed.
Even though I call her
She does not come.
Even a strange sound in the house
Does not rouse her to protect me.
Instead she lies too quietly
On the blanket in her basket,
Not sleeping; only waiting
Her somber eyes telling me
That the fun is over.
Photo: Teckelheim 'Ibby' of Greenburg at eighteen years of age plays like a puppy for her owner, Carolyn Gill of Modesto, California.
Related: Dachshund Poetry