Tag Archives: poem about dogs

#344: Who Let The Dogs Out?

They let themselves out, thank you very much.
On a warm, August night, 11 pm, something outside
catches their attention, and the larger of my two dogs
simply stands up on her hind legs and, using
the handle, opens the latched screen door.
And they run. Together. Free to run and roam.
They cross the busy street into the neighborhood
of brand new houses across the way and again,
partners in crime, they pillage, side by side.

I’m in the house cursing. I grab the double dog
lead and arm myself with a couple of biscuits,
and out I go. They will not come to me. I follow,
doggedly, into neighborhood streets. Calling after
them, but not loud enough to wake anyone
and unfortunately, not loud enough to get the
attention of my freedom-crazed pets. A bit of good
news: they make their way down a dead end.
They go to the very last house, and because
they are dogs, they sense another dog inside.
The house is dark. It’s 11:00 pm, but inside,
a little dog starts with the yapping. And all
the sensory lights outside go on. I manage,
somehow, with the treat, to capture one of them,
the door-handle dog, larger, younger than
the other, still with a degree of puppy love
for the humans in her care. She takes the biscuit
and I leash her up. Meanwhile, the other one
sets off a car alarm when she runs underneath
and I am certain that these people are coming
outside with baseball bats. They don’t. The dog
makes her way back down the street, goes into
another back yard through an opening in a fence,
and I am pissed at this one. She emerges.
I throw the treat down on to the pavement and
finally, she approaches. I’m feeling vindictive
and when she gets close enough I scoop
up the biscuit and deftly grab that collar.
No treat for you, I say. I lead them both home
and boy, do they get an earful.

Damn dogs. I love them both,
but at times like this, I really hate them.
But look at that face. And that other one.
My hatred is impossible to sustain
and I will snuggle with them both
before I turn in for the night.

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#176: On 29 Years of Marriage Measured in Cats and Dogs

On 29 Years of Marriage Measured in Cats and Dogs

It’s possible to measure out a marriage
in pets. Up to year 29, my wife and I have had
two cats and two dogs. Our first pets as newlyweds
were all about the same age, relatively speaking,
so about half way through our history in wedlock
the two cats and the first dog died. We rescued
our next dog not a year later from a relative,
and that dog, the best dog ever, is old now,
and, as they say, on her last legs.
For some odd reason, this year
has been a dog year, a total dog year.
Perhaps, out of guilt for running over the old
dog backing the car out of the driveway,
and despite the fact that she miraculously
survived with nothing but a tire track to show,
we took on the task of rescuing dogs.
We fostered one dog, nearly fell in love
before finding it a home. We adopted another,
only to find out days later he was deathly ill
with some intestinal parasite. We
entertained the crazy notion after that,
perhaps, out of further guilt for giving up
the sick dog, of adopting two dogs at once,
at which we tried, and then failed. Totally overwhelmed
and stressed, we found a home for one and
kept the other, a rot, hound, spaniel mix,
a friendly but rambunctious pup, cute as hell.
I don’t know what it means that we
have had five dogs in our lives in as many
months, what it says about our marriage;
I don’t know why after 28 years only two dogs
and at year 29 four consecutive visits, one permanent.
Are we not busy enough? Do we not have enough
to do? Are we so overflowing with love
that we must find ways of spreading it around?
Would it kill the kid and the old dog to have too much
of a good thing all to themselves?
One of us was less enthusiastic about the dog project,
hesitant, doubtful, trepidatious, finally giving in.
Taking on the care of an animal is a commitment
and requires mountains of negotiation and compromise.
Plainly speaking, it’s hard work.
And at the risk of seeming almost pathologically
unsentimental, writing an anniversary poem
essentially about dogs, let me just say
that marriage or wedlock would perhaps
work more often for people if they would take
it as seriously as they take the care of their beloved animals,
which I believe, despite the various and sometimes momentous
challenges along the way, my lovely wife and I have done for 29 years.

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#150: Sick Dog (an Abecedarian)


At 3 in the morning, no
Barking, but an old dog fails the attempt to
Climb the stairs,
Drops back down:
Early, the dog is sick.
Fuck. Shit everywhere,
God awful stench,
Holding back my own retching,
In every room of the main floor, I’m
Juggling paper towels, disinfectant,
Kitchen linoleum scrub,
Livid, trying not to hate my dog.
My god,
Not good,
Old dog,
Poor thing. Finally, I
Quit cursing,
Remove the carpet in the
Study, drag it outside in
The morning dark for daylight hosing or disposal. It’s
Unlikely to be salvaged, like this night’s rest, a
Veritable trainwreck. Nevertheless,
We love our animals, and will do this lamentable duty, ine-
Xorably, until the very end of their days,
You know, because there is no other option.


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