Sept 8 2017
The pup is like a plush toy,
plump, on stubby legs
she will too soon grow out of,
and into the powerful stride
of long and lean.
But for now, she runs as if tightly sprung,
keen to keep up with the big dogs
who mostly ignore her,
forbearing, and dignified
as she eagerly nips and jumps.
I walk behind her on the trail,
her expressive tail erect
bum-hole, round and pink
bouncing up and down with her.
She has two speeds – all-out, and full-stop,
crashing into sleep
that is mostly deep, and undisturbed
but where she sometimes also runs,
It is a golden autumn
and we frequently stop on the path;
me, lying in the grass
the big dogs wandering.
And the pup, curled-up
asleep on my chest.
My “new” pup recently turned 1. As I was writing this, I realized that this was the first poem I'd penned about her. I think because I'm very leery of dog poems in general: they're too easy, too sentimental and self-indulgent. And probably also because it feels as if I said all that needs to be said in numerous poems about her predecessor, Skookum. But Rufus is, as are all of us, unique.
I was reminded of her uniqueness, as well as our early days, while on a recent walk with a friend, when I found myself pointing out how I used to fondly call her “dumpling bum-hole”: both because of her puppyish physique, and how she carries her tail at a jaunty angle up. So I thought this was a good chance to celebrate, as well as memorialize, that golden autumn of our first year together. (The bum-hole is still happily visible. The plumpness, though, has turned into strong muscle and bone.)