Farewell, my sweet Rowan


At Artists Bluff, NH September 2010

Bright, golden eyes, watching me everywhere; a little bob of his head, as he sat figuring me out; silky, soft fur, soothing to my soul; gentle whiskers, brushing my face ever so softly; sweet, steady presence by my side, walking through thirteen years.

Today I said good-bye to a big piece of my heart. My sweet Rowan has been in my life for a little over thirteen years, but it feels as though he was never not with me. How can he be gone now? It doesn’t seem possible, and yet the emptiness of the house tells me it is true.

There is so much to say, so many stories he wrote on my heart, like no other dog I’ve ever known, but they will have to wait for another time. Right now my heart is broken and still trying to grasp this new reality.

I am so thankful for the past two and a half months since Rowan’s diagnosis of nasal cancer. He had been declining for a while, but when we started him on prednisone in August, his life, energy, and joy were renewed, and we had a marvelous fall together, walking, hiking, playing, hanging out. And this past weekend he had a wonderful time with our grandson, Paul, something I had always hoped for him, since Rowan always adored children, and I knew he’d love our grandchildren.

Today Rowan’s time ran out. I knew the time was drawing near, and I wanted to let him go in peace before his joy in life was gone. He was tired but still happy. He chased a ball one final time (only a few feet, but he grabbed it and held it happily); walked with me in the driveway looking up with his wonderful smile of connection; and rode in my car– one of his most happy places, because he always knew I was near if he was in the car. He was in the car with his head on my lap as we said good-bye for now.

Here’s a poem I wrote about Rowan a few months ago:

He’s always been more human than dog,
holding my heart within his frame,
mirroring my soul in his golden eyes,
small fleck of blue a hint of heaven.

When I’m broken inside but don’t know to cry
he bears my pain and helps me feel it
hurting with my hurt till I seek healing
and we both are whole again.

Hide and seek, approach and retreat,
his favorite games the play of my life.
Disconnect, reconnect, laugh with delight,
my soul in Rowan’s eyes, my joy in his smile.

Rowan, thank you for all you have been for me. I thank God for bringing you into my life and teaching me so much about His love through your sweet presence with me. You have touched my soul in ways no one else could have, and I will always carry the imprint of your soul in mine.

Rowan and me