A Dog’s Life

Dogs can be trained to not beg.
This is what we were told, and it’s
Probably true. Whack’em on the nose
Admonish in stern voice. Let them know
Entreating for food is not a choice. The
Owner’s parent, however, is harder
To train. My dad refused point blank. “Teach
Your dog not to ask”, he said. To be frank,
That was all we got for our pains. Each
Pet knows – as does every grandchild –
Who will be firm and who will be mild. Our
Current dog looks at my mother-in-law
Lifts up her eyes and holds out her paw
Gets pheasant and beef, sometimes chicken
Gives undiluted adoration and a good finger
Lickin’. The cat can’t be bothered to wait:
He sits in her lap and eats from the plate.
Moral of the story, word to the wise
Dogs are parents make the best allies.


In which Tyra teaches Joey how to be a watch dog

So our cat is being raised by the dog.
He’s learnt to tilt his head like she does
The better to hear, and she goes nervously
To him if there is any fear that someone
Is going to catch it for pushing ornaments off
The table again. No surprise then
That today he was initiated into the
Rite of Passage – or the Rite of the
Lane, at any rate – the first associated
With attaining Watchdoghood: the
Guardian and Protector of the
Neighbourhood. She demonstrates the
Position on the Perch, paws out, tail
Behind. From here you can see them
She explains, go down the lane to the
Garage and into the street. In case
They need you to find them. You never know
She warns, if they’ll come back. It’s vital
Therefore, that we keep track.
Joey cranes his neck, tries not to make
It too apparent. He’s sure he’ll grow into it
But right now there’s an inherent impediment:
He can’t see over the balcony wall. He
Can’t let on that he’s not tall. Studiously
He inspects the rail. A cat can never be seen
To fail. 

Gratuitous Picture of Dog Attached (You’re Welcome)

My daughter thinks time stands still
While she plays with her dog. She’s not
Done licking my hand, she explains, chill,
Mom. It’s late, maths awaits, but what
I clearly don’t understand – the eye-roll
Punctuates the exasperation –
Is how time and tide wait, and no bells toll,
And the earth stills its rotation;
Clock hands twiddle their thumbs, because
The dog and her human haven’t played all day.
And here’s the riddle: Why is it so late, calculus
Takes so long! she wails. This is probably not
A good time to weigh Time taken against
Time spent, and when we wonder where the years
Went, will those hours learning calculus
Help us calculate value-per-lick versus
The short end of homework’s stick?