by Barbara Crooker

If “Heaven is a lovely lake of beer” as St Bridget wrote,

then dog heaven must be this tub of kibble, where you can push

your muzzle all day long without getting bloat or bellyache,

Where every toilet seat is raised, at the right level

for slurping and fire hydrants and saplings tell you, “Here,

Relieve yourself on us.” And the sun and moon

fall at your feet, celestial frisbees flinging themselves

in shining arcs for your soft mouth to retrieve. Rumi says,

“Personality is a small dog trying to get the soul to play,”

but you are a big dog, with an even larger heart, and you

have redeemed our better selves. Forgive us for the times

we walked way, wanted to do taxes or wash dishes

instead of playing fetch or tugger. In the green field

of heaven, there are no collars, no leashes, no delivery trucks

with bad brakes, and all the dogs run free. Barking is allowed,

and every pocket holds a treat. Sit. Stay. Good dog.


For my dear friends, Molly Smith and Toko Purdue, who helped me play and love and embrace life in all its goodness. And for Pemba Jack, who I never got to meet in this world but hope to, in the next. I am very grateful to have such friends as you, and hope we meet again in dog heaven.

Molly Smith, 2009 – 2021, my first true love, stealer of tennis balls and most generous in sharing her stuffies

Toko Purdue, 2018-2021, my most exhilarating and goofy playmate, who could wear me out and make me so happy doing so