I kicked a friend with booted heel
unmindful of the way I’d feel
if I fell skidding to the floor,
Trip-tippling, toppling out the door.

The ugly thing my eyes had seen?
A dumb dog’s mess that I must clean!
My temper flared like fiery torch
that burned a path to our front porch.

Pal whimpered twice and hung his head,
rolled over, then play-acted dead.
“Get up!” I hollered. “Stop your trick!”
His froth was bloody, stringy, thick.

His ribcage trembled,
quaked with fears,
And then – I swear –
my dog shed tears!

I felt a twinge,
assumed his pain,
And, kneeling,
touched my friend again.

Then something happened!
We were blessed
When young teen’s hands
stroked puppy’s breast.

My fingers glowed with radiant light
That healed us both
and made things right.
Deep wisdom shone in Pal’s dark eyes

As he forgave me; then my cries
Resounded like a puppy’s whine
As Pal’s tongue licked
those boots of mine.

Five decades passed
and Pal’s been gone
A long, long time, yet he lives on

As guiding light
that never dims,
Love’s kindly essence,
taught through him.

Helped me be patient, less upset,
I’ve never harmed another pet.
Because of Pal, my conscience came.
I’ve never ever been the same.