"Losing Einstein" from This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
  by Joyce Sidman

Introduction:  Pets are part of the family.  When I was little I can remember all of the names of our dogs.  We had Poofy, Teddy Bear, Bear, Misty, Scooter and Spot. Each with his or her own personality, they were a part of our family.  Sadly, I can remember when Teddy Bear died.  I was only 8 years old.  It was July, and I was heading to summer camp the next day.  Losing a family pet is hard, especially when you are a kid.  This poem is about those sad times in life when we lose something we love, like our best buddy, our dog.

to Tenzin
from Mr. Johnson (custodian)

I had to do the same with my Sasha, not long ago.
No one can tell you what it's like, until it happens.
No one can see those trusting eyes.

Dogs are different from us, they don't think so much.
They just feel like crazy.
They love you if you treat them right,
and fear you if you don't.
They can handle pain, but they hate being left behind
when they're old or sick.
They want to be right there with you.

Einstein was right there with you, Tenzin.
Even if his eyes weren't open,
he was smelling you, feeling your touch.
You were loving him, and he was loving you back.
That's how he went.
And that's how a dog should go.

Extension:  Since this is a sad poem, ask children how it made them feel when you read the poem aloud.  Let children share their personal experiences with their pet.
I think this poem would be paired nicely with the book, Marley and Me by John Grogan.  This is a memoir that could be read aloud to students.  All dog lovers should read the story of Marley and Me. 

Sidman, Joyce. Ill. Pamela Zagarenski. This Is Just to Say, Poems of Apology and Forgiveness. 2007. Houghton Mifflin. 

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