AWOL was my first dog. I bought him from a friend at work when I knew

nothing about Schipperkes or dog shows. His breeder stipulated that

I must show him so I did. He became a top-winning Schipperke and #1

in the USA in 1990. I have Cerebral Palsy and could not show him

in the breed ring but I trained him and showed him myself in obedience.

He was a top obedience dog despite his klutzy owner.

Schipperkes are long-lived... but AWOL unexpectedly and suddenly

deteriorated health-wise and I chose to put him to sleep 6/24/98.

He had fluid in his chest and abdomen and partially collapsed lungs.

I cry every day because I miss him so much. I have other dogs

but he was one of those that leaves such a wound when they leave.

I wrote the attached poem last week after I heard AWOL bark twice...

Such an unexpected and remarkable occurrence!



He's waiting for me.

Left paw tucked up in front,

Back legs out behind.

Impudent look on his face.

Ears pricked perfectly to hear my command.


At 15½ he had to leave me.

Some say a good long life.

I wish for one more day week year.

Inconsolable without him.


Last night as I got into bed

I heard him bark twice

From the hall by the stairs,

But he's not there.


It was that Schipperke bark.

The quick low fretting kind.

Like barking with mouth shut.

A precursor to a real bark.


I know I heard him.

But I didn't go look.

There is a wooden box of ashes,

A portrait a candle a Best In Show medal.


But he's not there.

Or is he?


Vicki Maher 10/13/98