Does your dog like you?

In desiring a pet, many of you choose dogs, for home security to companionship. And for a percentage of you, one of the reasons you have a dog is to assist you on a hunt. Certainly, dogs have earned the title “Man’s Best Friend” for a reason. So for the next month, I will focus on some selections that celebrate, honor and even probe the minds of our four-legged friends.

Me, with a friend's puppy.  Ladies, get in line.
Me, with a friend’s puppy. Ladies, get in line.

Billy Collins, one-time Poet Laureate of America, writes much of his poetry about people experiencing and observing life, in everyday language we all can relate to. At times, his poetry likes to get in the minds of the speaker. But what makes for a twist in these poems is the humor that comes from an unconventional setting, like a ten year-old reflecting on his birthday as if he was turning 40. In some, he gets into the minds of, yes, DOGS! Collins is one of my favorite poets, and here is ”A Dog on his Master”:


As young as I look,

I am growing older faster than he,

seven to one

is the ratio they tend to say.


Whatever the number,

I will pass him one day

and take the lead

the way I do on our walks in the woods.


And if this ever manages

to cross his mind,

it would be the sweetest

shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass.


OK, try to keep it together there. I would say at some point we all have looked at a dog and wondered “what is this dog thinking right now”? How wonderful it would be to know there is a special bond, and the dog appreciates it.

The last line of the second stanza…can you picture it? The silence of the woods, with the only the crisp leaves crunching under your feet as you walk? And if hunting, seeing the eagerness in your dog’s eyes as you set him loose after a duck or squirrel.

Yet the dog reflects on “passing” his master, his partner on walks in the woods. The dog must plan on being around for some time, in order to pass his master, or perhaps the master is already of an older age. It is a word that can have a negative connotation, “master”. For me I get an image of a slave/boss relationship…something being owned. Yet in this poem, it is used within a heartfelt look on love, a communal bond and the friendship that exists between dog and person.

NOTE: click here to watch and listen to the poet read this poem.


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