An Oregon Poet Goes to the Dog

Two poems salute the canines in our lives who teach us to celebrate each moment.

Nanook stands in for Alexi

Nanook stands in for Alexi. Photo courtesy of
{link:}Northwest Samoyed Rescue{/link}

Samoyed Homecoming

A day of showers mixed with sun,
the shrubs all trimmed, the mowing done,
the parents leave for Beaverton
to pick up their Samoyed son

Alexi’s coming home!

Azlaleas, rhodies in full bloom,
stacks piled high of choice puppy food,
plastic bags to retrieve dog do,
and snuggled by the fence a new Dogloo

Alexi’s coming home!

Evening bring a twist to this tale–
the rains increase, the winds do wail
and over the yard a Siberian veil,
formed by a blanket of half-inch Hail

Alexi’s coming home!

May, 2006

It Takes a Whole Neighborhood to Raise a Puppy

Admirers to ooh and ah over my striking
Samoyed coat and regal appearance
when I take Peg or Bob for walks

Squirrels to banter and play “bet you can’t catch me”

Cats to teach me humility and who’s in charge

Children who come over to chase me
and be chased, to make me laugh and bark

A backyard neighbor to listen to my woes
and sing folk songs from my ancestral home

Trampoline artists and harpists, pianists
and pirates, dancers and drummers,
swimmers and sauna-takers
to entertain me across the fence

The many birds who instruct me in the art
of conversation, share gossip and
inspire me to try to take flight

Alley strollers who relieve my lonely vigils
atop the jacuzzi by the back gate

A mail carrier who greets me and the rest
of my canine neighbors by name,
who has watched me grow

I know I am needed here–
what would they all do without me?

I remind them to live joyfully,
to howl when they are sad,
to remain ever curious,
to meet the world with a wide-open heart–
I teach them about love

It takes a whole puppy to raise a neighborhood

Kathy Ryan, an Oregon poet who make art from the fabric of everyday threads, lives in the Willamette Valley of Western Oregon. She is compiling her chap book and gives readings. These two poems are her contributions to dog rescue awareness.

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