The Promise of a Sleeping Dog’s Breath
~excerpted and “poetized” from the postscript in How to Speak Dog by Stanley Coren
At night, when I lie down to sleep,
my old dog Wiz lies on the bed beside me
while Odin lies on a cedar chip pillow
and my puppy, Dancer, not quite house-trained,
sleeps in his kennel.
In the quiet and darkness, sounds are amplified.
I can hear the low, slow breathing
of the big black dog,
the short breaths of the orange puppy
and the occasional sniffle
and snore of the old white dog.
“I am here with you,” a dog’s breath says.
“We will face this life together.
There is no beast or intruder that can steal up on you here,
I am your eyes and ears.
We will share the sunshine tomorrow.
We will explore this world together.
We will laugh together.
We will play together,
even though neither of us is any longer a child.
And if luck turns bad, then when you grieve,
I will comfort you.
You will never need to be alone again.
I promise this.
As your dog, I will sing this promise to you,
and whisper it to you at night,
with my breath.”
Wow and woof. There are many ways we dogs heal and support the people around us. And one of the most profound is reflected in the scene above…through our steadfast companionship, our connected presence, the reassuring sound of our breath as we sleep nearby. A dog’s promise.