A dog named Shan

Dedicated to Pua and her late puppy, Shan.

I know what it’s like to lose a pet. But there is always such a wonderful story behind that pet. This is the story of Beau, who was Jimmy Stewart’s dog. I remember seeing Mr. Stewart recite this poem on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. It moved me then and it moves me now.
This is for you, Pua… and for all of those who have lost a loved furry one.

by Jimmy Stewart

He never came to see me when I would call-
Unless I had a tennis ball.
But mostly he didn’t come at all.
When he was young, he never learned to heel or sit or stay,
He did things his own way.
Discipline was not his bag.
But when you were with him, things sure didn’t drag.

He’d dig up a rosebush to spite me,
And when I’d grab him, he’d bite me.
He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.

The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.
He set the house on fire,
but the story is too long to tell,
Suffice to say, he survived,
and the house survived as well.

On evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The old one and I brought up the rear
because our bones were sore.
He’d charge up the street with Mom hanging on –
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while he’d stop in his tracks,
With a frown on his face, and look around.
It was just to make sure the old one was there
To follow him where he was bound.

We’re early bedders at our house,
I guess the first to retire,
And as I would leave the room,
He’d look at me from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs.
I’d give him one for a while.
He’d push it under the bed with his nose,
And I’d push it out with a smile.
Before very long, he tire of the ball
And he would be asleep in his corner in no time at all.
And there were nights when I’d feel him climb up on the bed
And lie between us and I’d pat his head.

There were nights when I’d feel him stare.
And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there.
I’d reach out to stroke his fur And sometimes I’d feel him sigh.
I think I know the reason why.
He’d wake up at night and he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things
And he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead, and there are nights
when I think I feel him climb upon our bed.
And be between us, and I’d pat his head.
And there are nights when I think I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair And he’s not there.
Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so –
I’ll always love a dog named Beau.