Ode to the Abandoned Dog

I wrote the following poem at a time that I was volunteering at the Cochrane & Area Humane Society. So many dogs come through shelters that for whatever reason are abandoned. The other day my husband and I were having a discussion about how the number of families that have animals has increased so much from when we were children. I remember living in the PMQ’s (Private Military Quarters), Currie Barracks area in Calgary (1970’s). Families would get dogs, but postings came around so often, and with the moves (most likely overseas) the animals would be left tied to the steps. Other families would take in the dogs, or they would become ‘pound puppies’. Recently, the phrase ‘looking for a fur-ever home’ has been coined to help people realize that acquiring a pet in their home is for the duration of it’s life.

Ode to the Abandoned Dog
(Praise to the Shelter Volunteer)

They abandoned me
I know not why
Here I sit on my porch and cry.

The neighbours they just look
And shake their heads
Inside they go to their warm feather beds.

The day turns to night
I shiver and shiver
The moon comes out, but it’s just a sliver.

No need to bay
I’ve got their attention
It’s so cold out my cries reach perfection.

Men approach me
I’ve had enough
I bark and snarl as they grab me by the scruff.

I try to act tough
But as I’m tossed into a dark crate
I push my nose against the small grate.

Lights and strange noises
Pass before my eye
I shrink inside the shadows, afraid I might die.

My body bounces
In this small box
Suddenly the motion stops.

As the door opens
I try to escape
Rough hands stop me before I reach the gate.

I’m shoved into a small space
I struggle and claw
But it’s of no use, I close my jaw.

And then there’s this face…

Her touch is gentle
Her eyes are sad
I wag my tail a little; I don’t want her to be mad.

She pats my face, my ears,
My head
I nudge her hand as she leads me to a soft bed.

In front of me she places a bowl of water
I take a drink
I try not to think…

Of where my family is
And why they left me

Of who this lady is
And why she is so kind to me

Of where I am
And why I am here

For the moment
I feel safe
She’s brought me food now, I take a taste.

It’s good, crunchy
And yummy
I yawn, now I’ve got such a full tummy.

I lie down
And chew the corner of the nice fluffy bed
She sits beside me and holds my head.

My need to play and chase
For now will keep
As I drift off to sleep.

For now, I am still, for in this moment
The arms that hold me
Make me feel loved.

It is enough
I snuggle close
Trying to get the most

Of her warmth and comfort
I wag my tail
It flaps against the rail.

My new home is small and tall and different
From what I’ve known
But I am grateful for the love I’ve been shown.

I nestle deep
Into the bed
And lay down my very weary head.

© By Patricia L. Atchison
September 2012


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