Tag Archives: national poetry month

Embarrassing Dog Stories: Poo and Poetry

Dogs. If you love them, you’ll appreciate the stories that follow. If you don’t like dogs or

What?  Me digging?  I haven't been digging.  Spring for dog-lovers.
What? Me digging? I haven’t been digging. Spring for dog-lovers.

are an extremely fastidious person, you should stop reading now and wait for my next post, which will undoubtedly be more literary and appropriate. However, when such great stories come my way, I must share them. I thought this was going to be an April Fool’s story, but it’s true…

The weather is warming up here in Minnesota and a winter’s worth of dog poo is thawing out of the snow right now. Cleaning up that nasty stew of poo is an annual ritual for local dog-owners, and the other day my friend who has two Golden Retrievers raked up three huge bags of dog poop. Because you don’t want such foul things festering in your garage, she put the bags by the garage door waiting for garbage day.  The following day (not garbage pick up day) the bags disappeared. She couldn’t figure out what would have happened to them…..

until she saw the receipt from a local charity thanking her for her donation.

Of course, I’ve been repeating this story all over, which has led to other people telling me their embarrassing and slightly gross dog stories. I heard one from a friend in NYC.  Her German shepherd died and the only way she could only think of to get it to the vet was in a large roller bag.  She was held up on the street and the robbers took the bag!  Surely, that’s the definition of karma.

Please, please, send me any great embarrassing dog tales you have. Click below to send your comment. I love to hear (and share) them.

And now, because you may be grossed out, because you came to this blog expecting something literary, and because April is National Poetry Month I’m going to elevate our discourse by sharing a dog poem by one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, from her book Red Bird.

Percy and Books
Percy does not like it when I read a book.
He puts his face over the top of it, and moans.
He rolls his eyes, sometimes he sneezes.
The sun is up, he says, and the wind is down.
The tide is out, and the neighbor’s dogs are playing.
But Percy, I say, Ideas! The elegance of language!
The insights, the funniness, the beautiful stories
that rise and fall and turn into strength, or courage.
Books? says Percy. I ate one once, and it was enough. Let’s go.

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Poet Mark Doty loves dogs. I love dogs. Hearing Doty’s poems about his dogs made me love poetry.

I never thought a Golden Retriever would lead me anywhere literary. My own Golden

Jake and pals.

Retriever, Jake, has led me a lot of places—swamps, the neighbors’ back yard after he ate all the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at their daughter’s birthday party, wading in lakes after balls that he refused to retrieve…. never to poems.  But Mark Doty’s Golden, Beau, opened my eyes to the potential of reading poetry, and just in time for National Poetry Month.

Doty appeared at the Hennepin County (MN) Library Foundation’s Pen Pals series last week. He’s funny, entertaining, insightful, and has a beautiful voice, which makes me think that poetry is best read aloud, by the poet—so intimate.  He writes about many other things, but he got me with the dogs.  Of course, even those poems are about more than canines; they’re about aging, joy, love, living in the moment.

After I finished blowing my nose and blotting my eyes in the back of the auditorium, I told Doty I’m a convert. Check out his poem Golden Retrievals on the Poetry Foundation’s Web site.

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?