Christine Atchinson

Sunday Morning

She waited outside my door until I awoke in the crisp morning.
But to my surprise as I opened the door I did not feel her body press against it on this Sunday morning.
Cassie wake up, wake up I wept.
Her fur was still the color of light wheat, her nose was still the color of my palms, but her deep brown eyes never blinked on that Sunday morning.
Through my heavy tears that stained my pale freckled skin, I told her that it was not good-bye, it was see you later.
I held her against my little girl body for one last gentle hug.
This time she did not kiss my face with her moist tongue or rest her head on the nook of my scrawny shoulder.
My best friend left me on that Sunday morning.
It was only two days before that I was running with her and laughing about her sweetness as she stayed close to me, protecting me always.

Now the only thing that ran were my tears.
And the only thing that protected me was my common sense and memories of my lovable dog.
When I was afraid she was my guardian angel.
No shelter matches up to that of a fluffy, loving dog beside you.
I’m afraid now of being alone.
I did not smile for so long.
I had just been driving past the place where Cassie and I used to walk and I felt my tears well up behind my eyes and rush out like an ocean tide onto my eyelids.
I felt them spill over like a glass of water poured to the brim and then one more drop let the water spill off the sides.
As I arrived, home I turned the corner and saw a puppy sitting on my Mom’s lap, looking at me as though she had been expecting me.

Is it a puppy? Is it for me?
As my parents nodded my tears of sadness turned to joy.
I held her close and I knew that this dog was mine.
No dog will ever replace the loss that I had felt.
Although I love my new dog, I know in my heart that Cassie will truly be the only dog to
ever treat me with as much kindness as she did while she was alive.
My new dog is named Bailey Cassidy, so I’ll always remember my first dog, friend, and loss, especially on Sunday mornings.


Copyright 2002-2006 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2006 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.