Smiley was the smartest dog I ever knew. He would look you right in your eyes and expect you to treat him like a human. And the funny thing was, you'd treat him like a human.
I moved into a new place
and before long a little girl,
maybe five or six,
made friends with him.
Smiley loved chasing playing with frisbees.
I'd have to buy a new one every month or two,
because he would destroy them
by chewing them and tugging them
in games of tug of war.
One day the little girl brought a special frisbee.
It was white, and she had painted on its back.
It was a stick figure picture of Smiley
and the little girl playing frisbee on a lawn.
It was beautiful.
She gave it a big toss and Smiley chased after it.
He picked it up, carried it to his water bowl
and dropped it nearby.
She called for Smiley to bring it
but he refused and just picked another
older beat up one and brought it over to her.
She ran to the new frisbee and threw it again. but Smiley didn't chase it. He just let it sit where it fell; then ran to get an old one.
They spent the rest of the day
playing with the old ones.
The next day I noticed the painted frisbee
sitting right next to his bowl.
And there it sat.
They didn't play catch or chase or tug of war with it.
He would poke it, push it, roll it with his paw.
Months turned to years and the painted frisbee
lived next to Smiley's water bowl undisturbed.
Then it was time to move again.
The little girl was older now,
and Smiley and her were best friends.
When it was time for us to leave,
the little girl came to visit one last time.
Smiley picked up the perfect frisbee right away
and brought it over to her.
He pushed it towards her
with his nose and paw.
But when she tried to pick it up
he would grab it and run away.
She asked me what he was doing.
I said I thought Smiley
wanted her to have it back.
It would make her so happy
and make him happy too;
he'd had it all these years.
She gave Smiley a hug
and cuddled up to him,
He laid his head on her shoulder,
and she cried for awhile.
That was the last we ever saw the girl,
as she walked away
with the painted frisbee in one hand
a wave in the other;
and a smile splashed across her face.
It wasn't too much later
I bought another white frisbee
and painted a stick picture on it,
of the little girl and smiley
playing frisbee on a lawn.
I brought it to him
and threw it as far as I could.
He ran and picked it up;
and carried it back to his bowl.
And there it sat, undisturbed,
until the day he died.