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Remembering Poh

Poh, short for POTUS... My dog Poh has been gone for three years and ten days as of today. Not that I keep track… June 2, 2024 was his death day. Despite the pandemic, the kids came home to say goodbye. The vet came to the house. We spent a few hours saying goodbye. It was loving and peaceful.

Somehow, he’s crept slowly into my thoughts and I find myself reminiscing about him. Here’s one of those stories:

Poh was my dog for almost 17 years. He was a standoffish creature, curmudgeonly, if I’m being honest. A mix of Bichon-Frizé and Maltese, he was small weighing in around 12 pounds. You could tuck him under your arm with ease. Just the right size for a dog. Best thing? Small poops, which is important since I spent many years picking up after him. Important consideration.

He was stingy with his affection: he didn’t lick your hand or pay you much attention at all if you sought it of him. But he was loyal to a fault and he’d stick to my side through every day. He was with me for every coaching session I ever had, a silent witness to people’s stories and growth. He acted like my little therapy dog, actually bestowing affection and presence to those with anxiety or sadness as we sat together exploring hearts and souls and new ways of being.

My mom missed having dogs of her own so she’d regularly drop by my house and pick up Poh for the day. I have no idea what they’d do, but it likely included a Caesar dog meal (a big treat as I refused to buy them) and a lot of sitting around reading books, cuddled together somewhere. And talking. Poh loved those days as much as my mom did.

Dogs are simple. They get things we humans struggle with; things like death.

My mother died of a heart attack on the floor of her bedroom, just in front of the full-length mirrored closet doors. It was one of those beautiful fall days at the end of September, the sky an unbelievable egg-shell blue. She died first thing, around 7 am, although the paramedics worked on her for 45 futile minutes, desperately trying to get her heart to start again.

On the afternoon of the day she died, my husband Bruce brought Poh over to my parent’s place. Poh, as usual, went looking for mom. To my astonishment, Poh ran right to the place she died where her body had lain before it had been removed by the funeral attendants. He sniffed the whole space, then paused and looked at me as though to say: “I get it. She’s gone.” He never went looking for her again. And because they live so much in this moment, he didn’t seem to mourn, he just let her go. At least that’s what it looked like to me. Incredible.

Wish I could have followed his lead. It took me a lot longer to find peace.

Poh and me, on the day before he died.

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Sorry about all of that

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