Dog at the Funeral

For Dave Willey (1947-2008)

I didn’t see him when two planes did a fly-by,

one on the right peeling off in missing-man formation.

Not until I saw his picture with Dave and Dave’s family —

a big lug of a dog, a Great Dane, but smaller, a Doberman,

but ears cupped, long tail, bright eyes, and an open mouth.

He walked through the door as we sat, looking around

at all the familiar and unfamiliar faces. He did not go

to the family members sitting up front. Those he knew.

Instead he chose to mark all the strangers, with a sniff,

a flick of the tail, a pause to get an ear scratched.

My first thought was how alike are men and their dogs.

This dog was just like Dave. Curious about the unknown.

Always signalling to a new friend to come into the cockpit,

sit beside him and talk, so he could sniff him out.

But as the service wore on, the dog looked anxious

to get going somewhere, as if enough had been said.

He got it, Dave was loved and Dave loved, that’s the point.

It was then as he stood at the doorway to the outside,

looking up at the skies, I got it. Something the Greeks knew —

in the magic time between life and death, that dog was Dave.

— Fan Ogilve