Romeo sybylla

Photo by Romeo by Sybylla Lindert

Our pup, Romeo, would creep downstairs in the morning just before 5 a.m. and lay on our bed, waiting for breakfast.

He wasn’t allowed to sleep with us but we couldn’t prevent him from snuggling next to me while I was recovering from lung surgery a few months ago.

I spent a day or two in bed, sleeping, and Romeo appointed himself my guardian.

Although he wasn’t a cuddler, he would nudge his small frame right next to mine, listening to me breathe while my lungs mended.

When we walked in our neighborhood he would run into a fence post or curb from time to time, because he could hardly see, a result of greyhound aging.

He’d stumble, then yip, and carry on in search of a pee-worthy patch of grass.

Passersby wondered if I was dragging my poor pooch who could barely keep up with my stride.

We took him to the veterinarian when he began to shun his food and she figured that, with more than 15 years under his collar, Romeo was, like Hamlet, ready to shuffle off his mortal coil.

We took him home, where Romeo would take a drink from a glass of water I’d hold under his snout and nibble on a piece of bacon.

Mostly he slept.

His heart slowed ever so gently and his departure was full of grace.

I kept his toys and bedding in the house for days—then weeks—not ready to confront his absence.

I miss him most when I arrive home from work and when I rise before the sun.


Sincere thanks to Portland-based Compassionate Care, which offers in-home care for dying pets, and to our superlative veterinarian, Irvington Veterinary Clinic.

6 May 2017









About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in american indian, death, dying and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Doggone

  1. Rebecca Smith says:

    My heartfelt condolences for the loss of your sweet creature. Dogs are beautiful souls, and Romeo was a treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Russ L says:

    Sorry for your loss…another dog owner

    Liked by 1 person

  3. MaryJean Williams says:

    Hi Cynthia,
    I’m so sorry to hear you’ve lost Romeo. I remember when he was new to you, and I know what a great companion a good dog can be. Grieve well, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cynthia, We lost our cat, Windsor, more than three years ago. Last night, sitting in JFK airport, awaiting our interminably late flight home, we found ourselves looking forward to seeing him, them realized he was gone. The disappointment was so physical!

    My heart goes out to you. May the memories stay as close as you wish and flood you with warmth from time to time as you need it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amanda Pile says:

    Cindy I’m so sorry. Romeo was such a sweet dog. I’m glad I got to know him a little bit.


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