To Run Free

We shared a brief 
sliver of time,
You and I
That will forever hold
In a white-knuckled grip

We tried all of the silly games
I threw the ball, you looked at it
Tail wagging feverishly 

We grew up together,
You were my friend when I had none
We shared many a young summer days running free 
In the grassy fields

As I grew stronger and you grew older,
It was more difficult for you to nip at my heels,
The runs evolved to sprints,
Tapering to trots
And then only occasional walks
Until we came to an agreement 
That naps held precedence over walks

As your sight failed you
You made use of what
You had without a whimper

Pretty soon naps held precedence over most things
But your old gray eyes still sparkled with life

I would come home to be greeted by the sound of your tail thumping the hardwood floor

You asked for nothing more than to be loved
And you returned that love tenfold

I will always remember
That day that your eyes
Lost their sparkle,
The day we had to face a harsh reality,
The day we had to truly show our love

As we said our last goodbyes
Your tail thumped the table
and for a brief second I swear I saw that old glimmer

I like to think it was a thank you
For letting you run free once again.

~Eric Vance Walton~