I originally wrote this about 5 weeks after losing Fred back in 2019. Amazingly, our sweet old cow dog is still with me. Pushing 18 and a little slower, she spent months running more than 6 miles down to Harper’s place looking for Fred, but finally seems to have settled into a more peaceful routine. She rides in the swather and tractors with me (someone has to make sure I’m doing things right) and still helps Patrice and Myron work cows here at home. 

She relaxes in the backyard with me, and still loves to play stick. I remain very certain that Dally understands much more than a dog could or shoud about her humans and coping with grief…his old dog knows.



When my sorrow makes me feel like I can’t take another step,

His old dog knows.

When everything I see and touch reminds me of him and violently asks me why he’s not here,

His old dog knows.

When I sit in his chair and try to just let go and have a little peace,

His old dog knows.

When I’m wake at three each morning and the tears won’t stop,

His old dog knows.

When we’re workin outside and I turn to ask him something,

His old dog knows.

When I throw on an old sweater just to feel him close,

His old dog knows.

When our daughter aches and I can’t help her,

His old dog knows.

When I still pick up groceries for his favorite meals,

His old dog knows. 

And when I despair over how long I’ll have to go on without him,

His old dog knows.

Our sweet old girl misses him too, and like every cow dog ever born, she just longs to find a way to help. She looks everywhere for him and still sleeps by his side of the bed, sniffs his old hat and boots, and longs for his whistle or voice to call her home. 

His old dog knows. 

She’ll tuck her sweet muzzle under my hand and nudge me just a bit. 

To me that nudge and little noise mean “Time to head out mom, still lots to do, and one day he’ll be waiting for us at the gate.”

His old dog knows, and she helps me go on. And we both know she’s the lucky one, 15 and winding down. She’s done it all, moved cattle over the great desert in springtime and over the mountains in summer and fall. I’ll bet she’s caught a thousand gophers in the Spring, swung from the tails of the best bridle horses and rankest old bulls on our place. Now she sleeps more, and she’ll wait a beat before hopping up when she hears me go out each morning. We both know that she’s close to that gate, but until Fred calls her home, she’ll move over and sleep by my side of the bed, nudge my hand and tell me when she wants out or just needs some love. She’ll love me and help me the way she loved him. Our Dally dog. Our $13 dollar spotted dog. 29 pounds of pure cow dog love and devotion. 

His old dog knows. Bless you Dally dog.