A prayer for my friend Brian Doyle and my grandpuppy Toulouse

This uses the form Brian invented for his Book of Uncommon Prayer and is used here out of deep profound respect–jrs

Who never met but I would offer a few years off my life to watch them measure each other. Brian James Patrick Doyle would have used his stark raving intellect and profound sense of grace as his stick, while Toulouse would have used his nose, mostly. That boy can smell peace and curiosity and kindness and humor like most people can taste a jalapeño potato chip. Brian’s corporal form has been chased off by a “big honkin’ brain tumor” and he is probably trying to figure out how to come back as an otter, but Toulouse, aka Dogboy, Mr. T., Bebe’, or Bubba, is still here at fourteen, which is ninety-eight in dog years. Ninety-eight! I think he might be debunking that whole “dog years” thing because he can still be such a puppy. But his eyesight and hearing aren’t what they used to be, so maybe it is true. Given his seniority, it’s conceivable they could meet somewhere in the ethers when Toulouse says goodbye and lopes off into the sunrise. I’m glad he’s shown no interest in that, so far. But what do I know? Brian was a lifelong believer in Heaven and the Breath, the Creator, the Whole Reason for Christianity, the Holy Endeavor, all the stuff he carried in his beloved Catholicism backpack of a heart. I don’t suppose Mr. T thinks about that stuff a whole lot. He believes in a good belly rub, a bowlful of food, and a long walk at a pace that allows all the sniffing he wants. But this is my prayer and I am giving thanks for them both and asking that they do meet when an opportunity presents itself. Those two together having fun would profoundly brighten the universe. But it might have to happen before Brian comes back as an otter, the most playful wild creature ever. So, yes: amen.

About Jim Stewart

Writer at Butt in Chair
This entry was posted in Brian Doyle, Catholicism, Dogs, Otters, prayer, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A prayer for my friend Brian Doyle and my grandpuppy Toulouse

  1. Ruth Langlois says:

    Love it!

  2. Karen Snyder says:


  3. Debra says:

    You’ve touched my heart with this beautiful piece, Jim. Whenever you write about Brian I find myself truly thinking I would have liked to have known him. And Toulouse? What’s not to love about a dog that has graced this earth for so many years. So moving. So beautiful.

  4. SheilaDeeth says:

    Thanks. Beautiful and apt.

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