Friday, September 14, 2007

Dog Poetry

Our family dog, Caesar, has been with us for over 10 years and saw my kids grow from elementary school to college age. He’s a medium-sized mutt (mostly cocker spaniel), a gentle and sociable soul. We thought we lost him a month ago when he had a major stroke, but he has made an amazing recovery and we are even more grateful to have him around. In honor of Caesar (pictured here) and to commemorate the founding of the American Kennel Club on September 17, 1884, I am showcasing doggie poetry today. Here’s one poem that reflects my own tendency to provide voiceovers for my dog’s behavior and actions:

by Maya Gottfried

To: My Person
From: Your Little Friend
Re: My Apologies

I’m sorry about the stain on the piano bench. Accident,
won’t happen again.
And my most sincere regrets about hair on that nice wool suit.
I feel terrible about chewing on your custom-made leather shoes. Though,
they were on the floor.

P.S. Have you seen my chew bone? I was sure that I’d left it on your pillow?

From: Good Dog by Maya Gottfried (Knopf, 2005)

Just for fun: Kids can investigate the drawing contest sponsored by the American Kennel Club. They could make their own drawings of their dogs, another pet, or a pet they might like to have some day. Also for more information about adopting pets that may not be “pedigreed,” they can investigate how to find homeless dogs or cats from area animal welfare organizations across the country. Or some kids may simply want to adopt a virtual pet, or for just plain puppy silliness, choose their favorite dog picture!

Dog poem collections to dig for:
*Arnold Adoff. Friend Dog (HarperCollins, 1980)
*Douglas Florian. Bow Wow Meow Meow (Harcourt, 2003)
*Kristine O’Connell George. Little Dog Poems (Clarion, 1999) and it’s sequel, Little Dog and Duncan (Clarion, 2002)
*Charles Ghigna. Good Dogs/Bad Dogs (Hyperion, 1992)
*Maya Gottfried. Good Dog (Knopf, 2005)
*Lee Bennett Hopkins. A Dog’s Life (Harcourt, 1983) and Pups, Dogs, Foxes, and Wolves: Stories, Poems, and Verse (Albert Whitman, 1979)
*Tony Johnston. It’s about Dogs (Harcourt, 2000)
*Myra Cohn Livingston. Dog Poems (Holiday House, 1990)
*Jack Prelutsky. Dog Days: Rhymes Around the Year (Knopf, 1999)
*Joyce Sidman. The World According to Dog: Poems and Teen Voices (Houghton Mifflin, 2003) and Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
*Marilyn Singer. It’s Hard To Read A Map With A Beagle On Your Lap (Holt, 1993);
A Dog’s Gotta Do What a Dog’s Gotta Do: Dogs at Work (Holt, 2000); The Dog Who Insisted He Wasn’t (Dutton, 1976)
*Amy E. Sklansky. From the Doghouse: Poems to Chew On (Holt, 2002)
*Jane Yolen. Raining Cats and Dogs (Harcourt, 1993).

Hey, poetry lovers, check out the Poetry Friday round up at HipWriterMama's!


Elaine Magliaro said...


One of my cats had an episode last November. I thought she was going to die. She couldn't meow or use her hind legs. (She is quite old.) I was a wreck. She is a gentle cat with a very sweet disposition. A few days passed and she seemed fine again. Ten months later she is still with us.

I hope Caesar has many more happy days with your family.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Hi, Elaine-- thanks for your sweet words. Yes, I have since learned that animals have an amazing capacity for recovering from such "events." Thank goodness! Hope all is well with you--

Anonymous said...

I'm no longer your advisee, having finally earned my degree. So I'll stop by here to say hi now & then. I'm glad Caesar's doing better.

Birthdays today: William Carlos Williams, Hank Williams, and Ken Kesey.

Thank you ever so much for all your help as I made my way through the MLS program. And also for some fun classes. I like your blog, too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sylvia
Just wanted to say thanks for the collection of dog poetry - really useful list and I'm going to check some of them out. I've just put a collection of dog poems together on my site.
Greetings from England