Poems for dogs
October 22, 2008 3:40 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for poems, anectotes and short stories online which celebrate dogs and their friendship. This is to cheer my boyfriend, whose family's pet who is very ill.

My boyfriend's dog Ruigh is very ill and might be put down tomorrow. Although the dog now lives with his mother, the pet was his late childhood/teen years' friend and a very brave, funny and stubborn animal (who also happened to love liquorice sweets... Go figure). I would like to send my boyfriend poems, short stories or anectotes celebrating dogs, and would love some suggestions. Extra bonus points if the text is available on the Internet.

Many thanks!
posted by Sijeka to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also, fuck my spelling {ashamed}
posted by Sijeka at 3:47 AM on October 22, 2008

posted by vacapinta at 4:02 AM on October 22, 2008

Response by poster: eeek... thanks
posted by Sijeka at 4:08 AM on October 22, 2008

Best answer: Missing from the other thread, by Garrison Keillor from Lake Wobegon Days

Dogs don’t lie, and why should I?
Strangers come, they growl and bark.
They know their loved ones in the dark.
Now let me, by night or day,
Be just as full of truth as they.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 6:41 AM on October 22, 2008

Best answer: Also not listed in the other thread is this book, which I thought sounded like a horribly corny idea but ended up really enjoying some parts of. Poems not about, but by writers' dogs. Taken as dictation, presumably.
posted by dr. boludo at 7:04 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Check out the poet Mark Doty. He has a memoir called Dog Years, which is all about the friendships between people and dogs.

Also, he's written a number of wonderful poems about dogs in his book School of the Arts.

Here's a poem by Gary Soto.

and one by Alicia Ostriker.

Also, if you go to the Poetry Foundation website, you can search for poems about dogs. Good luck!
posted by airguitar2 at 9:45 AM on October 22, 2008

"To Flush, My Dog" By Elizabeth Barrett Browning
posted by RingerChopChop at 9:46 AM on October 22, 2008

Best answer: Here is a great poem. It might be kind of hard, but also might make him feel good in that he has treated his dog right, all the way to the end:

A Dogs Wish

You can also google for the video, but it might make him sad.
posted by Vaike at 9:50 AM on October 22, 2008

Best answer: Gene Weingarten's latest full-length piece was about old dogs (and, yeah, how they die).
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:55 AM on October 22, 2008

Best answer: This might be too maudlin for your purposes, but what immediately came to mind for me was this from Robert Frost:

The Span Of Life

The old dog barks backwards without getting up.
I can remember when he was a pup.
posted by tyrantkitty at 12:29 PM on October 22, 2008

Best answer: Well there's the poem "Monologue of a Dog Ensnared in History" here by the great Polish poet Szymborska (this one always chokes me up a bit...even as a cat person)

and a poem by August Kleinzahler from his book Green Sees Things in Waves (a great poem in itself) which I can't seem to find online, but which deserves to be here...so here goes:

Sunday Morning

How oddly content, these dogs of the homeless,
asleep at their feet in doorways, under benches,
good, healthy coats, breathing easily

Sunday morning in the fog downtown, in the quiet
as the hotels and neighborhoods awaken
to clouds of eggs and excrement, the chatter

on color TVs, spectacular reds and greens.
The ragged sleepers tremble under blankets
of newsprint, cough, turn over, curl as far

into themselves as they can, careening through
the switchback of dreams, fighting the wheel
as they barrel downhill, working that clutch

till the brakes go...Oh, with a muffled cry,
suddenly in the world like newborn babes,
except on Market, filthy and cold.

The dog opens one eye, no trouble, old routine.
Signs and dozes off again, snoring
a thin wheezing snore, muzzle to sidewalk.

He is a well-looked-after animal,
fed as best as one can, touched, held.
The man tickles behind his dog's ear.

Fella's ear twitches. He calls him Fella.
That's what the guy he got him off called him.
Good, brown, short-haired mutt,

not too dumb and doesn't make a big fuss.
All of his pleasure, all that's left of love--
ridiculous, tragic: 45 lbs. of snoring dog.

But it's mutual, you see, and genuine.
Real as warm food in an empty belly.
And, in fact, that's just what it is for them both:

Fella's dog smell, the heat that raises it,
and that sour, musty smell the man has,
they all have, the stairwells and walls have

wherever they congregate. But Fella's friend
has his own, very delicious smell,
a bit like old bones, urine, soup.
posted by FunGus at 1:27 PM on October 22, 2008

Best answer: I second MrMoonPie's recommendation for Gene Weingarten's article. This part especially makes my eyes water:

"I have lived with eight dogs, watched six of them grow old and infirm with grace and dignity, and die with what seemed to be acceptance. I have seen old dogs grieve at the loss of their friends. I have come to believe that as they age, dogs comprehend the passage of time, and, if not the inevitability of death, certainly the relentlessness of the onset of their frailties. They understand that what's gone is gone.

What dogs do not have is an abstract sense of fear, or a feeling of injustice or entitlement. They do not see themselves, as we do, as tragic heroes, battling ceaselessly against the merciless onslaught of time. Unlike us, old dogs lack the audacity to mythologize their lives. You've got to love them for that."

Hope this helps:-)
posted by invisible ink at 7:59 PM on October 22, 2008

Best answer: There's a great anthology of these, titled Unleashed.
posted by Riverine at 4:12 PM on October 23, 2008

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