“Phoenix, This Song’s for You”

Featured image: Phoenix: Always by Dick’s Side, 2011.
(Photo by Anne-Marie Erickson)

Dick loved dogs, and dogs loved him. One dog or another had been part of our forty-two years together—mostly mutts, all medium-size, all wonderful.

            Phoenix lived with us during the last years of Dick’s life. He was, as Dick said, “So bright-eyed and full of life.” Dick would look down at our ginger dog, nestled at his feet, and declare, “Hi, Phoenix! You’re man’s best friend.”

            Phoenix seldom left my husband’s side; he knew who needed him. When we were out on errands, Dick would anxiously ask, “Where’s Phoenix?” Even though he occasionally would forget my name, Dick never forgot Phoenix’s. I’d tease him about that.

            Sometimes Dick would announce, “Phoenix! This song’s for you!” Then he’d begin yet another rendition of “You Are My Sunshine.” He also invented a song for Phoenix. I don’t recall the tune, but these are the lyrics: “Phoenix, we love you very much. When we see you, we know there’s a real person there.”

Anne-Marie Erickson

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