Jake, what does an old dog dream about?
Do you dream about when you and Nate
Would play soldier in the nearby woods,
Him wearing parts of my old Nam uniform
Telling me you two were in the K-9 Corps
And when he became 18 you would both
Join up for real?

I could not explain to him that when he turned 18
You would be too old for the K-9 Corps
Just like I could not explain to a six year old
What war is really like.

When his guard unit was called up
I think he knew what to expect
When he gave you to me for safe keeping
But that didn’t stop him from being as eager
To go kick butt
As I was when going off to Nam.

Jake, you still get up when you think you hear Nate’s truck
Returning him from the Iraq War
While in the closet, his dress uniform, not aging like you
Stands ready for him to put on again.
Just like you’re ready to go trot off with him again into the woods.

Maybe if enough of Nate’s body remained
After the IED blew up his hummer
We could have had an open casket funeral
And you would have been able to sniff his remains
And in your dog way of understanding
Know that he was as dead as the squirrels
That fell from your chase.

Jake, do you know that you are old
And you are only going to grow older
And it is only going to get harder for you
To get up, and harder for you to smell
What is left of Nate’s odor on his uniforms?

Do you know that you are going to die?
And that I am going to die soon too
Because the Agent Orange is aging me fast
So we are the same age now?

Heaven is easy to describe to a dog.
It is a land where you and Nate can run
And explore together deep in lush woods
Swim and climb and leap without pain.

Heaven is a place where you don’t need a collar
Or a leash and young men and women don’t need dog tags,
Because nothing is going to run you over or hurt you.
In Heaven no one gets separated from their unit.
Dogs don’t lose their masters
And parents don’t lose their children.

LTC Leland Gamson (USAR Ret., IGR)

Children’s Books with Dogs

Do you have a child or grandchild that enjoys reading?

Leland has many Christian-themed children’s books that spark imagination and intrigue with sometimes rhyming storytelling. Here are two that have Christian-based values.

Illustration of toby the lighthouse keeper outside playing with a dog and petting a cat that is in a basket.

Toby the Lighthouse Keeper

Join Toby, a faithful lighthouse keeper, as he navigates the challenges of his important role while finding companionship in his loyal dog, Buddy, and an adorable kitten named Mittens.

Illustration of boy and a dog sitting on a park bench.

My Buddy and Me

Follow children and their furry pals as they discover, “How are my dog and me the same, and how are we different?”