Friday, January 4, 2013


I love poetry. And  books. And my kids. And teaching. And lots of other things too.

One of the things I love most is dogs. Last summer, right after the shooting in Aurora, Cindy Lord posted a link on Facebook. Outside Washington, D.C, it seemed, there in an organization called the Warrior Canine Connection. They raise golden retrievers and labs. The dogs are trained by veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries, and eventually, they become service dogs for other veterans.

Last summer, the Warrior Canine Connection had a litter of six Golden Retriever puppies. They allowed another organization,, to put cameras in their puppy nursery. And you could watch the puppies 24/7. And that's pretty much what I did, those first few awful days. And then I kind of got addicted and spent a lot of the rest of the summer watching them grow.

Levi, Abby, Penny, Ruby, Lucy, and Grace have moved on. But last week, a new litter was born. And today, the camera went live again, and you can watch five roly poly yellow lab babies with barrel tummies and exclamation point tails. You need to go here for a soul break!

It seems only right, then, to have a dog poem in their honor. And so I turn, again, to Mary Oliver, who has a lovely poem about her dog, Percy.

"The sweetness of dogs (fifteen) "

…I thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! How rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up into
my face. As though I were
his perfect moon.” 

Mary Oliver 

Read the rest of the poem here.

And after you are done puppy watching (which I should warn you is totally addicting and absolutely ruins any possibility of getting anything productive done all day!) you can go over and check out the rest of the Poetry Friday posts with first-time host, Matt, at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme


Margaret Simon said...

You totally captured me. I love dogs too. In fact, funny you should mention...I am featured on "Coffee with a Canine" today along with my dog Charlie.
I also love Mary Oliver. I have a quote handy, "To pay attention. This is our endless and proper work.

Violet N. said...

Lovely, both the doggy-love and the poem. Your addiction to the puppy cam reminds me of some years ago when a camera was stationed to watch the nest of some bald eagles and their eaglets, and I fell prey to a similar addiction!

Violet N.

Linda B said...

Okay, I would have commented sooner if you hadn't left that webcam link! They are so darling. I know you talked about training a service dog, Is one of these going to be 'yours"? I love the poem & have sent it on to my brother, who ran a non-profit rescuer org. for a long long time. Thanks Carol!

Carol said...

Margaret- Loved Coffee with a Canine. It seems like I have gone there before to see an author, but I had totally forgotten it. Charlie is adorable. I would love a writing buddy like that.
Violet, I probably shouldn't admit to all my addictions. I love the Explore website- last summer, beside the puppies, I was fascinated by Alaskan brown bears fishing.
And Linda, I wish one of these guys were mine to raise. Unfortunately, no. These guys stay close to Washington D.C. When they are about five or six months old, they will go to puppy parents, but they have to stay close to Washington DC because they are trained by vets at a hospital there. I'm hoping that after my boys are gone, maybe as soon as this summer, I will be able to find a similar organization in Denver.

Tabatha said...

"Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up into
my face. As though I were
his perfect moon.” -- A perfect comparison!

I'm afraid to look at the webcam link...

Steve Peterson said...

Thanks! I have two rescue dogs and, yes, there certainly is a sweetness about them that Mary Oliver (as usual) helps me feel.

Loved the last line, but also the first ones, the ever-present "yes-ness" about a dog whenever you ask them to go...anywhere!

"What do you say, Percy? I am thinking / of sitting out on the sand to watch / the moon rise. Full tonight. / So we go

Carol said...

Steve, So agree with you. I am a total dog lover, always have one or two hanging around. I have never had a purebred- all my guys come from Dumb Friends, or Rescue Leagues. Hoping to start working with the Golden Retriever Rescue in Denver in the next few months. I love the Percy poem. I lost my best "Percy", a five year old Lab/Rot rescue, who thought I hung the moon and stars. We still have another lab mix, but she is much more independent. This summer I am going to find another Percy.

Mary Lee said...

Just dared to peek at the puppy cam. All asleep. Can almost smell the puppy-breath. Some dream-twitches going on.

Carol said...

The puppies are nine days old I think, and their eyes are just starting to open. In a few more days, they will be walking and soon after that, big fun begins. If you read the comments below the camera, you can learn lots of interesting dog-related things. Molly, the woman who is the founder of WCC, along with her husband Rick (you sometimes see a blonde toddler- that's Mia, their daughter) writes under the tag, WARRIOR CANINE CONNECTION. She has lots of interesting things to say and I learn a lot from her. Earlier this week, when someone commented on the way they twitch, she said that twitching is actually the puppies' nervous systems developing.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Oh, I love this one...Oliver has another poem about Percy in her most recent book. Another treasure.