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She was kind, the woman who came to help us care for Mom. As she prepared to leave that morning, years ago now, she took Mom’s hand and said, “I’ll see you on the other side of Jordan”.

Those words came back to me when I woke up this morning and checked my old dog to see if there was a rise and fall of his fur, as I had yesterday, and the day before that, and…

There was.

He jumped off the bed, his leg buckled but he headed for the staircase, taking them one step at a time with a persistence that could win an award.

His hind legs take a bit to bend when he sits. He waits, half crouched until the joints kick in. The lure of parks and foxes have been replaced with snoozes and naps.

What do you do when your old dog keeps growing weaker, his breathing more labored, his wounds are weeping but his tail still wags?

I watch a collie out my window chase a flying ball, and remember Sam running down the same boulevard. He snores at my feet when I suddenly realize he’s resting up for a trip!

He admits his steps are growing weaker every day

Look in his eyes you’ll see a journey on his mind.

Scents and sausages have ceased to make him want to stay

His one regret is he’ll be leaving us behind.

He knows he’ll be the first of us to cross the Jordan

Somehow I’ve a feeling this will be.

But when it comes my turn to travel too I won’t feel lost

He just might be the first one that I’ll see!

He’ll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan

He’ll be running free, chasing seagulls on the sand.

When he sees me coming he’ll jump up and bark

He’ll come racing through the water, excited to lick my hand!

(I took a little creative license with Terry Smith’s Waiting On The Far Side Banks of Jordan. I hope he doesn’t mind.)

Sam and me a while back on a trip to the place I imagine is a bit like heaven.

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