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Become My Body




I have not blogged in a while because my beautiful german shepherd Saxon died recently. It was sudden. And utterly heart-breaking.

The thing about loving a dog is that they make it safe to give your whole heart. And they give themselves to you completely.

We human beings inevitably hurt and wound each other… carry resentments and grievances… but with a dog the love is pure and without shadows, and to lose such love is devastating.


Before the Beginning
~ by Rainer Maria Rilke

God speaks to each of us before we are made
Then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words, the numinous words,
We hear before we begin:

You, called forth by your senses,
Reach to the edge of your Longing:
Become my body.

Grow like a fire behind things
So their shadows spread
And cover me completely.

Let everything into you: Beauty and Terror.
Keep going: no feeling lasts forever.
Don’t lose touch with me.
Nearby is the land
They call Life.
You will know it
By its intensity.

Give me your hand.






  1. What a remarkably beautiful Rilke poem; you have found words for your loss. The intensity of living never seems more so than when an animal dies, especially a dog. For me, knowing that kind of unconditional love and then losing it has meant, ultimately, gratitude for sharing such a life with a dog. With time, that gratitude has comforted me. When the loss was unexpected, it took longer for love remembered to help me heal.

    There are three dogs that opened me to life in ways I would not know now. I am reminded of that on a daily basis. For two of them the loss was sudden but not so for my last dog. Remembering them helps me when days go awry for what I remember is their presence, complete in every moment. I do my best to emulate that presence as it seems the least I can do.

    I am sorry for the loss of Saxon.

    • Thank you Karen. Your wise and gracious words are so helpful to me right now.

      Yes, even in the intensity of the grief I also feel tremendous gratitude. Saxon was a Dog King. Powerful and vital. The undisputed ruler of the dog park. But he was also the sweetest and most sensitive dog I’ve ever known. In a way the perfect blend of masculine and feminine. I will be forever grateful for the honor of belonging to him. And I always will belong to him.

  2. Oh, my dear sister … I am so deeply sorry for your loss of Saxon. Sending you (((peace))) and (((love))) during the difficult transitional time that is our adjustment to their bodies being no longer with us.

    Dogs are a vital force in every moment of my life, as Saxon was in yours. May your grief be eased as I know you occasionally will sense Saxon’s warm breath against your cheek and an elusive brush of hair against your leg, and eternal love surrounding you.

    One of my favorite quotes during times like these is:
    “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle; easily and often breached. Yet, still we would live no other way.” 
    – Irving Townsend

    A while back, I started writing a “dog’s memoir” that is based upon a very special dog in my life, though she’s now gone these 15 years. I add to the story every once in a while when compelled … I share it with you here as I join you in deepest love and gratitude for our canine companions past, present, and future.

    • Thank you Darla. This is such a comfort to me. I am glad and not surprised to learn that you have a similar connection to dogs as me. It is an unspeakable privilege to be able to enjoy intimate bonding and love with nonhuman animals. When it comes, the loss is profound. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I look forward to reading your memoir.

  3. I know you saw this on my blog when Archie died but here again is the poem of gratitude I wrote for him

    It echoes many of the sentiments expressed by Darla and Karen. I still can’t read this poem aloud without weeping.

    • It makes me weep too. Such tenderness. And the photos. What a treasure Archie was! A little explosion of joy… And he’s still doing it, Kiri. I don’t know how, but he’s still doing it. Even though I hurt so much right now, just looking at his pictures and knowing he was in the world lifts my spirits. Thank you both.

  4. I am sorry for your loss. May you find a piece of joy in the midst of your sorrow and grief. Hugs to you.

    • What a lovely blessing. And I think I am… finding joy in the experience of being comforted, in the compassion of hearts like yours, and in the deepening connection that grieving brings. Thank you Brenda.

  5. What a beautiful, moving blog. Brought a few tears to my eyes. I, too, know the pure, uncomplicated love shared with pets– it so incredible. I lost my cat, Lily, in December. Sending you peace, love and solace <3

    • Thank you so much, Erin. I appreciate your kind wishes. I count myself so lucky to be able to share loving bonds with nonhuman animals… it’s really kind of miraculous.

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