Celebrate Canines! It’s National Dog Day and Here is a Glorious Book That Does It Sublimely and with Heart!


08.26.21 • 7:30 pm EDT | 0 responses |

For those of my readers who are dog lovers, it is a day to celebrate and revel in the whimsy, wisdom and warmth of canines.Whether it is a a dog of rare breeding, a mutt of vague lineage or a rescue dog brought to a forever home from who knows what former domicile, dogs are life-giving.

I fought for years the arrival of a dog in our household, for I knew without a doubt, despite all the pleadings and promises, who would eventually wind up as the primary care giver; and that would be yours truly.

It did and I was and I loved doing it for I fell head over heels for a bijon frise named BJ.

He was wickedly wise and sly, a calming influence in the eye of a storm and a drinker of only Poland Spring water. He adamantly refused to drink water from the tap. No amount of urging could dissuade him from his choice.

He loved us unreservedly and we loved him for 13 years of adventures.

He loved us and broke our collective hearts when he passed.

And now on to the sublime book.

It’s a collection of poetry from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Mary Oliver. The book is a collection of poems of dogs she has known that touched and made her life richer for the knowing. It’s called “Dog Songs.”

Here’s one called “Every Dog’s Story”:

I have a bed my very own.

It’s just my size.

And sometimes I like to sleep alone

with dreams inside my eyes.

But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepy

and I awake and am afraid, though I don’t know why.

And I’m no longer sleepy

and too slowly the hours go by.

So I climb on the bed where the light of the moon

is shining on your face

and I know it will be morning soon.

Everybody needs a safe place.

Mary Oliver has perfectly captured in her poetry the commonality in the human and canine experience, and the greatness that occurs when the two combine and are shared.

BJ, I will forever be grateful, that on a winter evening, kicking and dragging my feet, I was brought to a puppy place and YOU came into our lives for 13 beautifully splendid years.

When you read “Dog Songs” to and with your young readers, you, whether dog owner or no, will feel for the moments you share in Mary Oliver’s poetic life of dogs and humans, a happy celebration of their lives and losses.


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