Category Archives: Dogs

High Coo – Oct 3 – Happy Birthday James Herriot

James Herriot

James Alfred Wight (3 October 1916 – 23 February 1995), better known by his pen name James Herriot, was a British veterinary surgeon and author.

“He is best known for writing a series of eight books set in the 1930s–1950s Yorkshire Dales about veterinary practice, animals, and their owners, which began with If Only They Could Talk, first published in 1970. Over the decades, the series of books has sold some 60 million copies.

The franchise based on his writings was very successful. In addition to the books, there have been several television and film adaptations including the 1975 film All Creatures Great and Small; a BBC television series of the same name, which ran for 90 episodes.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Herriot

“Wight’s obituary confirmed his modesty and preference to stay away from the public eye. “It doesn’t give me any kick at all,” he once said. “It’s not my world. I wouldn’t be happy there. I wouldn’t give up being a vet if I had a million pounds. I’m too fond of animals.” By 1995, some 50 million of the James Herriot books had been sold. Wight was well aware that clients were unimpressed with the fame that accompanied a best-selling author. “If a farmer calls me with a sick animal, he couldn’t care less if I were George Bernard Shaw,” Wight once said. See  “James Herriot Dies at 78; Wrote ‘All Creatures Great and Small'”The Buffalo News. 24 February 1995. Retrieved 3 March 2021.

Today’s humble haiku – Happy Birthday James (Wight) Herriot

You loved animals

more than fame – fortunately

you shared their stories

Commemorative plaque at 23 Kirkgate in Thirsk

High Coo – Homage to Pablo Neruda and A Dog Has Died

Graveyard dog – https://www.flickr.com/photos/rwhgould/5614834863

“Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean Communist poet and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda. Neruda wrote in a variety of styles such as erotically charged love poems, surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.” https://www.best-poems.net/pablo_neruda/index.html

It took 355 words to say, “that’s all there is to it.” No, Pablo, we both know there’s more to it. Grief doesn’t end with a burial.

A Dog Has Died

by Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.
Someday I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.
Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.
No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.
Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.
Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.
There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don’t now and never did lie to each other.
So now he’s gone, and I buried him,
and that’s all there is to it.

https://www.best-poems.net/pablo_neruda/a_dog_has_died_1.html

My humble haiku response: No Goodbyes for My Dog

We may wash our hands

we may bury a body

but love will live on

St. Keanu Reeves hugs a dog – Amazon.com

High Coo – Homage to Lisel Mueller and What the Dog Perhaps Hears

https://bothendsofthelead.com.au

“A dog’s hearing is four to five times that of a human.” See https://dogsonlygear.co.uk/dog-hearing-vs-human-hearing/

Lisel Mueller is a German – American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for her book Alive Together: New & Selected Poems in 1997. Her poems are extremely accessible, yet intricate and layered. While at times whimsical and possessing a sly humor, there is an underlying sadness in much of her work.” See https://www.best-poems.net/lisel_mueller/index.html

Today we honor Lisel Mueller and her provocative poem:

What The Dog Perhaps Hears

by Lisel Mueller

Lisel Mueller

If an inaudible whistle
blown between our lips
can send him home to us,
then silence is perhaps
the sound of spiders breathing
and roots mining the earth;
it may be asparagus heaving,
headfirst, into the light
and the long brown sound
of cracked cups, when it happens.
We would like to ask the dog
if there is a continuous whir
because the child in the house
keeps growing, if the snake
really stretches full length
without a click and the sun
breaks through clouds without
a decibel of effort,
whether in autumn, when the trees
dry up their wells, there isn’t a shudder
too high for us to hear.

What is it like up there
above the shut-off level
of our simple ears?
For us there was no birth cry,
the newborn bird is suddenly here,
the egg broken, the nest alive,
and we heard nothing when the world changed.

https://www.best-poems.net/lisel_mueller/what_the_dog_perhaps_hears.html

And here is my humble haiku response: Can You Hear It?

Always on alert –

together we are stronger.

Love is protection.

officiallypets.com

High Coo – Homage to Spike Milligan and The Dog Lovers

Crying for help – learn.theanxiouspet.com

Not all stories are happy. Today I recognize poet Spike Milligan and his poignant poem The Dog Lovers. Briefly, “Terence Alan “Spike” Milligan KBE (16 April 1918 – 27 February 2002) was a British-Irish actor, comedian, writer, musician, poet, and playwright.” He is also cited as having a major influence on The Monty Python Flying Circus. See https://mshistorytoday.com/spike-milligan/

While noted for his comedy, Spike Milligan could also describe tragedy. For example:

The Dog Lovers

by Spike Milligan

Spike Milligan

So, they bought you
And kept you in a
Very good home
Cental heating
TV
A deep freeze
A very good home-
No one to take you
For that lovely long run-
But otherwise
‘A very good home’
They fed you Pal and Chum
But not that lovely long run,
Until, mad with energy and boredom
You escaped- and ran and ran and ran
Under a car.
Today they will cry for you-
Tomorrow they will buy another dog.

https://www.best-poems.net/spike_milligan/the_dog_lovers.html

My humble haiku response: The Truth Hurts

It seemed right back then

to buy the good life – but we

seemed to miss the point

firstaidforpets.net

High Coo – Homage to Paisley Rekdal and Once

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/golden-retriever-dog-running-on-fresh-maya-karkalicheva.html

Paisley Rekdal teaches at the University of Utah and was the state’s Poet Laureate from 2017 – 2022. She has received many awards and scholarships and writes both fiction and poetry. For her biography and bibliography see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paisley_Rekdal and https://www.paisleyrekdal.com/

Today’s dog poem comes from her 2016 book Imaginary Vessels

Once

by Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal

white field. And the dog
dashing past me
into the blank,

toward the nothing.
Or:
not running anymore but

this idea of him, still
in his gold
fur, being

what I loved him for
first, so that now
on the blankets piled

in one corner
of the animal hospital
where they’ve brought him out

a final hour, two,
before the needle
with its cold

pronouncements,
he trembles with what
he once was: breath

and muscle puncturing
the snow, sudden
stetting over the tips

of the meadow’s buried
grasses after–what
was it, a rabbit?

Field mouse? Dashing
past me on my skis,
for the first time

faster, as if
he had been hiding this,
his good uses. What

a shock to watch
what you know unfold
deeper into, or out of

itself. It is like
loving an animal:
hopeless, an extravagance

we were meant for:
startled, continually,
by what we’re willing

to feel. The tips
of the grasses high
in the white. And the flat

light, drops of water
on the gold
coat, the red, the needle

moving in, then out,
and now the sound of an animal
rushing past me in the snow.

https://poets.org/poem/once

My humble homage haiku: Moving Toward the White

Winter’s coming soon –

leaving and joining loved ones

’til we come round right

https://cloud9vets.co.uk/dog-euthanasia-all-you-need-to-know/

High Coo – Homage to Kim Dower and Naming the Puppy

Puppy in sunshine – Australian Geographic

Today we recognize contemporary American poet, Kim Dower, who teaches Poetry Workshops at Antioch University in Los Angeles. See https://www.antioch.edu/faculty/kim-dower/ and https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/kim-dower

Today’s dog poem comes from her award-winning 2019 book Sunbathing on Tyrone Power’s Grave:

Naming the Puppy

by Kim Dower

Kim Dower

They’re young and in love
so they think of human names:
Zoe, Ruby, Judy — like the name
of a girl you’d sit next to in math.
They move on to dog baby names,
Lamby, Girl, Puppy.
They like Puppy so for an hour,
that’s what she’s called.
Come here, Puppy, they sing,
her paws — pink, tender — slide
across the room. Puppy’s a sweet name,
I tell them, but soon your puppy
won’t be a puppy, and when she hurtles
through the park her teeth locked
onto a sloppy stick, a pit bull chasing her down,
how’ll it sound when you call, Puppy, Puppy,
your voices airy as frisbees floating
across the grass. I watch the puppy lick
my son’s lips, nibble his girlfriend’s nose,
devour their faces, as if they were made of sugar,
devoted fur ball all ears and eyes,
eyes that have been on this earth before.
By dinnertime her name is Gwen,
a star’s name, a nurse’s, or what you’d call
the middle child of a noisy family.
I watch Gwen pour herself
into their arms. There is no name
for the way she loves them.
No name for a sun that shines only for you.

http://kimdowerpoetry.com/design17/poems/sunbathingontyronepowersgrave/naming_the_puppy.htm

My humble homage haiku: Shining for You

God, I love your smile

and the way you snuggle in

any time of day

sunshineanimalhospital.org

High Coo – Homage to Paul Zimmer and Dog Music

Singing Dog Study at Ancient Origins

Paul Zimmer (born 1934 in Canton, Ohio) is an American poet, and editor. Zimmer graduated from Kent State University, directed the university press at Pittsburg and helped found the Pitt Poetry Series. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Zimmer_(poet)

Paul Zimmer @ pennyspoetry.wikia.com

Paul now describes himself as “an old poet” and wrote this poem:

Dog Music

by Paul Zimmer

Amongst dogs are listeners and singers.
My big dog sang with me so purely,
puckering her ruffled lips into an O,
beginning with small, swallowing sounds
like Coltrane musing, then rising to power
and resonance, gulping air to continue—
her passion and sense of flawless form—
singing not with me, but for the art of dogs.
We joined in many fine songs—’Stardust,’
‘Naima,’ ‘The Trout,’ ‘My Rosary,’ ‘Perdido.’

She was a great master and died young,
leaving me with unrelieved grief,
her talents known to only a few.

Now I have a small dog who does not sing,
but listens with discernment, requiring
skill and spirit in my falsetto voice.
I sing her name and words of love
andante, con brio, vivace, adagio.
Sometimes she is so moved she turns

to place a paw across her snout,
closes her eyes, sighing like a girl
I held and danced with years ago.

But I am a pretender to dog music.
The true strains rise only from
the rich, red chambers of a canine heart,
these melodies best when the moon is up,
listeners and singers together or
apart, beyond friendship and anger,
far from any human imposter—
ballads of long nights lifting
to starlight, songs of bones, turds,
conquests, hunts, smells, rankings,
things settled long before our birth.

My humble homage haiku: Dog Song for Paul Zimmer

Canine cantata

a dog provides the music

for lush poetry

https://bgr.com/science/singing-dog-new-guinea-extinct/

High Coo – Homage to Ogden Nash and Two Dogs HaveI

Old man and two dogs pinterest.com

(Frederick) Ogden Nash (born 1902 in Rye, New York and died 1971 in Baltimore, Maryland) was cited by The New York Times as “America’s best-known producer of humorous poetry.” Nash once remarked, “I could have loved New York had I not loved Balti-more.” He composed over 500 pieces and was known for his unconventional rhyming schemes. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogden_Nash

Here is one of his famous poems about dogs:

Two Dogs HaveI

by Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash

For years we’ve had a little dog,
Last year we acquired a big dog;
He wasn’t big when we got him,
He was littler than the dog we had.
We thought our little dog would love him,
Would help him to become a trig dog,
But the new little dog got bigger,
And the old little dog got mad.

Now the big dog loves the little dog,
But the little dog hates the big dog,
The little dog is eleven years old,
And the big dog only one;
The little dog calls him Schweinhund,
The little dog calls him Pig-dog,
She grumbles broken curses
As she dreams in the August sun.

The big dog’s teeth are terrible,
But he wouldn’t bite the little dog;
The little dog wants to grind his bones,
But the little dog has no teeth;
The big dog is acrobatic,
The little dog is a brittle dog;
She leaps to grip his jugular,
And passes underneath.

The big dog clings to the little dog
Like glue and cement and mortar;
The little dog is his own true love;
But the big dog is to her
Like a scarlet rag to a Longhorn,
Or a suitcase to a porter;
The day he sat on the hornet
I distinctly heard her purr.

Well, how can you blame the little dog,
Who was once the household darling?
He romps like a young Adonis,
She droops like an old mustache;
No wonder she steals his corner,
No wonder she comes out snarling,
No wonder she calls him Cochon
And even Espèce de vache.

Yet once I wanted a sandwich,
Either caviar or cucumber,
When the sun had not yet risen
And the moon had not yet sank;
As I tiptoed through the hallway
The big dog lay in slumber,
And the little dog slept by the big dog,
And her head was on his flank.

See https://www.best-poems.net/ogden_nash/two_dogs_havei.html

Here is my humble homage: Thank you Ogden Nash

Little poem, big poem

your words tumble forward like

happy autumn leaves

Cute Puppies Enjoy Fall – SouthernLiving.com

High Coo – Homage to Edgar A. Guest and A Boy and His Dog

Little boy with his dog https://www.flickr.com/photos/chanelchat/8197795239/

Poet Edgar Albert Guest (born 1881in Birmingham, England died 1959 in Detroit, Michigan) is one of my first poetry heroes. He published some 11,000 poems in the Detroit Free Press and syndicated across 300 other newspapers. Known for his optimistic and sentimental verse, Guest was named Poet Laureate of Michigan, my home state. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_A._Guest

This is one of his famous poems about dogs:

A Boy And His Dog

by Edgar Albert Guest

Edgar Albert Guest

A boy and his dog make a glorious pair:
No better friendship is found anywhere,
For they talk and they walk and they run and they play,
And they have their deep secrets for many a day;
And that boy has a comrade who thinks and who feels,
Who walks down the road with a dog at his heels.
He may go where he will and his dog will be there,
May revel in mud and his dog will not care;
Faithful he’ll stay for the slightest command
And bark with delight at the touch of his hand;
Oh, he owns a treasure which nobody steals,
Who walks down the road with a dog at his heels.
No other can lure him away from his side;
He’s proof against riches and station and pride;
Fine dress does not charm him, and flattery’s breath
Is lost on the dog, for he’s faithful to death;
He sees the great soul which the body conceals-
Oh, it’s great to be young with a dog at your heels!

See https://www.best-poems.net/edgar-albert-guest/a-boy-and-his-dog.html

My humble haiku homage: Thank you Edgar Guest

Ev’ry season and

ev’ryday, you saw the love

and shared the beauty

A boy and his dog reddit.com

High Coo – Sept 11 – National Pet Memorial Day

Tree of Life Pet Memorial Room at Stray Rescue of St. Louis
One leaf on the Tree of Life for our companion
Etta Pearl, blind, deaf Min Pin Doxie

The second Sunday of September has been designated as National Pet Memorial Day since 1972. “When a beloved pet dies it’s like losing a member of the family, so this holiday exists to allow pet owners to grieve and to honor the memory of their pets. It doesn’t matter if the pet lost is a cat, dog, bird, or fish, pets can provide companionship and comfort that’s worthy of being remembered on this day of remembrance.” See https://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/national-pet-memorial-day/

Two poems are offered today. The first comes from my book NATURAL BEAUTY AND OTHER POEMS published earlier this year.

Who Rescues Who?

In one year’s time, we have “rescued” five dogs. Or, more accurately, they have rescued me. They’ve taught or tried to teach me patience as well as gratitude and humility. Any failures were not on account of their teaching ability.

Who are they, who were they, what are their names? First, a spaniel, named Rosie. Second, an island dog from St. Thomas. Third was Etta, a blind, deaf Min Pin Doxie, and fourth, a nameless Golden Chow puppy.

Two of them came “knocking” on our back door; we brought them in, cleaned them up, had a vet check. One we fostered until a family adopted, one we adopted until heavenly-trekked. All were heart-touching, worth loving and divine respect.

We now have four adopted rescues as part of our family, all four elders in their respective breed. We are grateful to serve full- or part-time. Their presence reminds us of our interbeing creed. Their love brings tears and confirms our mutual need.

Second, is today’s haiku: National Pet Memorial Day

Sweet Etta Pearl,

we walk together weekly.

Your spirit lives on

For more information about this holiday see https://nationaltoday.com/national-pet-memorial-day/