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The Dog. Man's Best Friend (When it Suits Him) Poetry.

Updated on August 26, 2011

Mini Schnauzers head popularity lists world-wide

Dog for all reasons.  Mini Schnauzer.
Dog for all reasons. Mini Schnauzer.

The Devoted Friend and Capricious Master

Living in England it is heartening to see the many well kept dogs. Not so visible are the thousands of badly treated and abandoned creatures; those bred for dog-fighting and more used in animal experiments, the last gaining more acceptance in 2011.
Dogs and primates are chosen for toxicity testing; brain and other surgery as well as dental experiments. The beagle is the preferred canine due to its good nature. The UK claims it has the strictest laws regarding use of animals for experiments. This is true, but these laws really protect the laboratories and drug companies in the last analysis. Most animals used in vivisection, drug and poisons experiments live a short life filled with pain and are afterwards euthanized to check the effects of the experiments.
Meanwhile, under a conservative government, animal's rights activists have been assaulted by police and jailed.
In my mind, drug companies using these techniques against our fellow creatures live in a moral wasteland, along with politicians, banks and insurance companies. It is more true today that "The worst offenders remain unhung."
Despite all we do to the creatures who share our brief stroll in the sun (rain in UK!), dogs especially still love us unconditionally and trust us and our tawdry lives would be diminished without them.
So today here are a few items of verse from my anthology which I hope you enjoy as you are sharpening your pen to protest all the other cruelty.

The Canny Canine.

Slurp, slurp, slurp, the dog.
Round his head an auric fog
Of good sense and canine wisdom.
He rests a spell; resets his style
And sticks out his hot tongue a while...

Do you North Americans remember "Spuds" McKenzie, the bull terrier, who became a super star doing TV advertising and films in the 1970's? He was indeed a beautiful example of his breed, but I often wondered if he missed being a real dog for a while!

It's a Dog's Life

"Spuds" McKenzie, super-star,
Are you happy the way you are?
Bedecked, beribboned, decorated,
Shampooed, perfumed, often feted.

Patted, fondled, loved and lauded;
Rich and famous, much applauded.
A master chef prepares your food;
In your life there's nothing crude.

You're never scolded, much less cuffed,
Your eyes are lined, your nails buffed.
But we bet you'd throw it all away
To be a real dog for just one day.

The Spanish, on the whole, do not hold animal's rights as highly as most Anglos seem to. That's not to say that pet owners in Spain are not legion and most are wonderful owners.
So the following story could have happened anywhere, but it did occur in a Santander pet shop, closed for the weekend.

The Sunday Pet Shop

At last the puppy sleeps.
His tormented day fades:
The hot pet shop, iron cage;
Constant prying fingers.

He longs for that familiar face
He will never see again:
The warm tongue, the soft teat,
His safe retreat from the world.

Once again, contented, he nuzzles
The little furry face wrinkles.
He dreams the steady heart-beat;
His lips taste that rich milk.

I gaze, stricken, through the glass
At his neon-daubed prison.
If I could just pick him up.
But he's light-years away.

Stay in dreamland, furry heart,
For you are one of the lucky ones
Who will soon find loving arms.
The curs on the street shiver
In the cold Cantabrian dawn...

Separation and divorce can cost another area of anguish nearly as bad as parting from the kids. That's the loss of the company of the family pets.
Here's when it happened to me in 1991 when my wife and I separated. If it is a bit sentimental, well, thet durn barker meant a lot to me! (In fact, I missed Chico much more than the wife!).

Chico: A Mini-Schnauzer.

I gaze into those guiless eyes,
Liquid pools of shy surprise.
A lifted paw, a questing nose,
Tufts of hair between his toes.
This innocent, beloved friend,
Trusted partner to the end.

Diffident, he's loyal and true.
The things he calls his own are few:
His rubber bone, a simple toy,
Which fills his vibrant life with joy.
This innocent, etc.

Although I doubt it can be true
A God above formed me and you.
On man he practiced day and night,
To create this perfect little mite.
This innocent, etc.

The day I flew away from Spain
And left you standing in the rain
It broke this silly heart in two,
And, worse, it did the same for you.
My innocent, beloved friend,
We'll be together at the end...

You don’t see half as many scrap metal dealers in Britain today. We have no industry crying out for steel scrap, and property prices have encouraged investors to buy up the lots and turn them into housing.
But back in the last century, “totters, also called “rag and bone men“” combed the streets, crying “rag bone, rag bone” as they had for several hundred years. Everything had value and was recycled.
Many streets contained the small to large scrap dealers, one of which I worked for when the British navy and I had a falling out and I took my leave for a year.
I was so fit and strong lifting heavy bits of iron and steel, I could have held a bull out to piss, as the Aussies say.
During my year there in London’s Deptford in the East End, at Bernie Flanagan’s yard, I befriended the Alsatian yard dog. Many years later, I wrote this poem which recalled Fred and the legions of other unhappy mutts imprisoned in the unhappy yards of London’s scrap dealers, defending to death the rubbish. For their sake alone, it’s a good thing these foul businesses and mindless, grubby and money-grubbing owners are no more.

Forgotten Fred.

Mean and nasty, ugly as sin,
Proudly guarding his heap of tin.
Chained up tight to a rotten log,
That’s old Fred, the junkyard dog.

Chained up tight for many a day;
The local folk keep well away.
Watching his hoard of rusty old scrap,
One eye open when he takes a nap.

No one pets him; nobody cares,
If he’s cold and lonely; how he fares.
He’s never been warmed in cosy homes;
Fred’s never tasted juicy bones.

He’s never seen any love or care;
Fleas scurry beneath his matted hair
He’s getting stiff; can’t hear too well,
This ragged king of his junkyard hell.

No one knows who named him Fred.
He won’t be mourned when he is dead.
Faithfully howling in wind or fog:
Forgotten, friendless, a junkyard dog.

Fred (really “Prince”) died in 1974 and now rests in peace.

Verse is from Charged Particles and is copyright.


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    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Faith...and those who think they are going to a better place after they die might be disappointed if they mistreated animals.


    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Dogs give that unconditional love, and it is uncomprehensible that anyone would want to treat them badly. Great writing! In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 5 years ago from North Texas

      There is way too much cruelty in the world towards animals and people, both children and adults.

      I like animals and they like me, but I am allergic to them. All of them, except maybe horses. That happened in my 20s. Before then, I got along well with cows, chickens, pigs, cats, dogs, etc.

      When I was able to do so, I used to feed the birds, squirrels, possums, and the occasional raccoon. They were my pets. I miss them.

      Tillsotitan: All animals have personalities, dispositions, and feelings that are unique to them, just like people do.

      I'm sorry you had to part with your dog. xx

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      "The worst offenders remain unhung." That pretty much sums up all the $%@heads in your poems. As for you losing your dog, yes, you made me cry. It is not a silly heart that breaks when a beloved pet is left behind.

      No one is ever going to convince me dogs don't have feelings. When I come home and my dog jumps all over me, or when I sit down and he jumps in my one's making him do that.

      Well done my friend, showing man's inhumanity to the best friend he has. Voted up, awesome, interesting and SHARED.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 6 years ago from Texas

      Bob, your poems are beautiful, you touched my heart.

      I wish you well and hope you make lots of money on hubpages.


    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      I was on here looking for your electric train hub, but couldn't find it. I stumbled upon this hub of yours. A mini-schnauzer in the photo caught my eye. I said, "Ah, I love schnauzers. Mom and Dad have three of them." But then I read the first few paragraphs and felt exactly what those words portrayed. I skipped some of the text, trying not to think. I don't know much about those things and thought I never would, but now I do.

      I tuned back in when I saw the Sunday Pet Shop poem. I've had those feelings before, too. I avoid all mall pet shops. And then I read your poem about Chico. Yes, leaving a dog and not being able to explain to the dog that you love him and he's good -- there are only a few things that compare to that heartbreak.

      So kudos to you. Your writing's so good I can't even read it in its entirety.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      laureate78...Hi. Attacking hubby through my comments? Go girl! How marvellous to have nearly five years with wolves, I love them. Bob

      PS Hubby has balls to get it on with the wolf-lady!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Hanna. I voted for Cameron, which act I rue. Ken Clarke (thanks for the spellin!) is an utter prick with his brandy flush and no-all pomposity. Bob

    • laureate78 profile image

      laureate78 6 years ago from Florida

      I am a huge animal lover. I would say I often prefer the company of man's best friend over man. They give uncondtional love and they don't talk back! That was a stab at the hubby. I volunteered at a wolf preserve for four and a half years. You would be amazed at some of the things I learned there. Thank you for sharing your poems.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      I agree with you complete with you remark about Cameron. However did he make there and keeps there? I would like to know that. Same as Ken Clarke. The whole country is screaming and yet he sits there. This was a lovely poem and well worded. Thank you, Bob.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi guys. Yes, I tried to improve Fred's (Prince's) lot while I was there. It was sad and wouldn't fly today if detected.

      Lovely comment 50

      caliliber. Both our societies have clean faces and filthy underwear. In the UK, it is these irresponsible puppy farms mostly to blame and the government under this shit, Cameron, does nothing Bob

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

      Sir, a sad and touching tell, of humans treating dogs to hell, it ain't right. Here in America the cowards drive them out on my dirt road 5 miles from town no water hole, I find them staggering in the sun the vultures circle waiting for them to fall. I stop and scoop them up, try and give them water if they can drink if not a syringe is inserted in their mouth pushing water until they swallow, if it looks as if they might be saved I turn back home and cool them off with warm water in my tub, washing and rubbing them and you see them start to come around then feed them back to health and use some money at the vet to get them shots and treatment they need. I run this on for an hour or more but they are living beings who get their breath from the same creator that gave us ours. I see it much too often and house up to 15 so far taking them to flea markets to find them homes, asking for the cost of shots or a 25 or 50 pound bag of food to cover the next one that I get. I have 5 that are here to stay, one just jumped up blocking my hand from typing for a rub and scratch. they are the best company way out here. What a sad situation created by breeders and irresponsible buyers, just plain sad, dust

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Thanks for making me cry, Bob. Animal cruelty is my hot button.

      I wonder how Fred's owner would like it if chained to a rotten log and forced to fee the fleas.

      My dogs get extra treats today! I wish I could save them all.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      You have two lucky dogs, who have two lucky best friends...Bob

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 6 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you for these five poems. I gave both our dogs a huge hug after reading them.