Dog days (‘Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really’)

Kate Meyer-Currey

For Jas 

When you told me you had lost 
Your dog, Baloo, you said he 
Left a void and life seemed 
Empty, it made sense. I shunted 
My car the day my dog, Roger, 
Died. I remembered your dogs, 
Baloo and Angel, who I knew as 
Part of your family. This poem is
For all our lost dogs; because 
We miss them. 

My dog, Roger, was a satanic 
Black cocker-spaniel. A pure 
Party animal with rockstar 
Swagger and manners to 
Boot. He dominated every 
Social situation. And us, too. 
That was our fault. We fell
Victim to his narcissistic 
Manipulation, his wheedling 
Whines, his luxuriant black
Mexican bandit moustache
And the thousand-yard stare
Of his chocolate eyes. He 
Could have run a narco-ring 
From his basket and fled to 
Bolivia with a stolen credit
Card. Now I work in forensics, 
I even wonder if he had Canine 
Personality Disorder. After all, 
He could growl and wag his 
Tail at the same time. He often 
Swallowed sharp objects and 
Made the vet a fortune with his
Munchausens. He also took 
Household objects hostage
Just like Charles Bronson. We
Negotiated for their safe return 
Like the FBI with a ransom of 
Dog treats to keep our fingers. 
I still have scars and Stockholm
Syndrome to this day. His rap 
Sheet was yards long; featuring 
Theft, GBH and Coercive Control.
He lied to save his skin but hiding 
Under the desk and barking after 
Every offence gave him away. 
Holidays saw him confined in the 
High Security Boarding Kennel, 
Where he bullied his cell mate like 
A seasoned lag and struck-up 
Illicit liaisons in the exercise yard. 
We were in the doghouse for days
After he was released back into 
Our care. But on his mug-shot, 
Butter wouldn’t melt. His hellraiser 
Lifestyle got him in the end. 
Live fast, die young; typical him. 
I still see him in every wayward 
Spaniel dragging its owner in a
Zig-zag course from lamp-post 
To trodden sandwich, bounding 
Through the undergrowth like 
Tigger, flaunting a stick. 

Roger is my lost companion.
Angel and Baloo are yours. 
They shared the calm safety 
Of their chosen home, as 
Adopted pack-brothers, who 
Bonded with each other and
Your family. They witnessed 
Your human losses; Angel
Was there when you grieved
Your mother. He stayed by 
You, present with silent concern
When no words helped. He 
Left first; but I still see him 
Stretched out in your lounge 
Like a polar bear bug with his 
Arctic blue husky gaze fixed
On the door waiting for your 
Husband and son to come 
Home. At first he wasn’t so
Sure about brother Baloo, 
With his brindle-coat and his
Bear-like head; he had been 
King of his personal sofa for 
Some time. But as you did,
He felt the pain of Baloo’s
Mistreatment that had not
Damaged his gentle heart
And made him welcome. 
Now Baloo has gone to join 
Angel, his friend, in some other
Place, where they will rest, 
Side by side, reminiscing, just 
As they always did, listening, 
Intent, for your voices at the door. 

Dog days are short but they 
Live long in memory. We have 
Shared our lives, since one 
Curious wolf-cub stumbled into 
The firelight and stayed with us
Staring into the lonely dark.
Our bones lie together in the
Ashes of lost fires. 

Kate Meyer-Currey was born in 1969 and moved to Devon in 1973. A varied career in frontline settings has fuelled her interest in gritty urbanism, contrasted with a rural upbringing. Her ADHD also instils a sense of ‘other’ in her life and writing. 

County Lines (Dancing Girl Press, forthcoming 2021), 

Family Landscape: Colchester 1957 (Not Very Quiet. 2020), Invocation (Whimsical Poet, 2021), Dulle Griet, Scold’s Bridle, Recconnaissance,(RavenCageZine,2021), Fear the reaper, (Red Wolf Journal, 2021), Stream: Timberscombe (A River of Poems, 2021), Not so starry night (SheSpeaks, 2021), Dimpsey (Snapdragon, 2021), Mask (Disquiet Arts, 2021), Magnolia Stellata (Constellations, Literary North, 2021), Challenge (Poetry and Covid, March 2021), Scorpio rising (Noctivagant Press, April, 2021), Scrapheap Challenge (Handyuncappedpen, April, 2021), Scrubber in PPE, (Skirting Around, April, 2021), New perspective (Planisphere HQ, April, 2021), Hilly Fields, (Pure Slush, Lifespan Vol 2, April 2021), Kintsugi (Aurora, Kira Kira, May 2021), Dregs (Seinundwerden, May, 2021), Trigger (Collateral, forthcoming), Minimum credula postero (Ponder Savant, May, 2021), Palisade: Seville Oranges, December (Odyssey, May, 2021), Morning: A38, Sunflowers, Devon Autumn, Dawn Chorus, Colours of Stars (Bloom, May, 2021), Rude awakening (Granfalloon: A Speculative Fiction Zine, June 2021), Restless, (Open Door, June 2021), Purple Jellyfish Shirt (Mono, June, 2021), Re-emergence (Her Inside: Women in the Lockdown, June, 2021) 

‘Gloves’ was also listed in the top 100 of PoetryforGood’ competition. 

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