This is my favourite poem, from a book of poetry called “Dog Lovers’ Poems – a collection of prose and verse compliled by Jeff Kennett”. I think this will definitely go down in history as a classic poem, loved by dogs of all shapes and sizes and breeds all over the world. I also think that all dog owners should own a copy and should strive to live by it.
The Dog Owners “If”
If you can curb your dog when all about you
Are losing theirs and couldn’t give a damn,
If you can train him how to “come” and “sit” and “stay”
Whilst others only run away and scram,
If you can keep him quiet, not too noisy
And wake your neighbours from their hard-earned sleep
If you can stop him jumping fences
And not rush out to snap at passing feet.
If you can keep him groomed, and wormed, and healthy
And see he gets his shots down at the vets
And make him sit beside you in the surgery
And not taken on a dozen other pets,
And in the winter sees his bed is draught free,
And sees he always gets enough to eat
And never let him fossick in the dustbins
That every Monday morning line your street.
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With half an hour’s walking on the lead
If you can keep him heeled and right beside you,
And not a threshing, withering fiend,
And when at night you settle with the paper
Into your usual warm and comfy chair,
Do you drop a loving hand to tell him
How happy you are knowing he is there.
And if when he is old, you love to help him
Face the cold, the aches, the ravages of time,
And with his life’s a burden, not a pleasure
You’ll help him to that other world sublime,
If you can say that all these rules you’ve followed
And have never shirked your duties to your dog,
Your life has been the richer for him,
And he has thought you… not a man, but God.
By Marcia Clarke
Here are some more poems about dogs which I particularly like, found on a website about working sheepdogs in Canada
It is not by the boot
the kennel and chain
that a dog can be trained
or made man’s loyal friend.
But only by love.
For those who understand,
no explanation is needed.
For those who do not,
no explanation will prevail.
By Mark Hayton, July 1936
Give our dog a chance
If a dog lives with encouragement, he grows in confidence
If a dog lives with fairness, he learns to be patient
If a dog lives with approval, he learns to like himself
If a dog lives with security, he learns to have faith
If a dog lives with accepting everything he has learned, he learns to find love in the world
But above all
He has to be given the chance to live before he learns
And only man can give him that.
By Sylvia Bishop, May 1983