The Stray


Stray dog - asleep
Image via Wikipedia

I asked my neighbor about his dog,

She seemed affectionate, smart, and kind,

He said slowly, “She showed up one day,

Starving, scared, and half out of her mind,

She was scrawny and malnourished,

When I first saw her slinking over the hill,

She would sneak up and gulp down any food,

Left by dog or cat until she had her fill,

I yelled at her the first three days,

And emphatically told her to go back home,

I told her to stay at her own house,

Don’t come over here to roam,

But I got to noticing how poorly she looked,

While she was downing the food in gulps,

Then I watched how she always hurried away,

I knew right then she had pups,

I tried to follow her home one day,

But she was determined to give me the slip,

I lost her trail in the snowy woods,

For me it was a wasted trip,

I began giving her five cans of food each day,

Just until the start of spring,

Then one morning she didn’t show up,

I thought it was the end of everything,

In the late afternoon she appeared again,

Carrying something that I couldn’t quite see,

At first she wouldn’t let me get close to her,

She didn’t trust anyone and that included me,

Yet her hunger brought her closer,

And I saw what she protected so well,

It was a pup she toted around with her,

But it was dead, it was easy to tell,

For several days she carried that pup,

Though by then it was only a hide,

But the mom refused to give it up,

She had a burning love inside,

Finally she laid the pup down,

Close to the northern fence,

She joined up with my other two dogs,

And she’s been here since,

I don’t know where she came from,

And I don’t know where she’s been,

But I do know she guards the place,

And I consider her my friend,”

With that explanation he walked away,

The dog right there by his side,

I was left with a lump in my throat,

But a warm feeling deep inside.

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