Friday, April 12, 2019


I've been volunteering with a service dog organization for about two years. This is Reudi, a three-year-old lab, that was placed with is forever partner, a woman who was injured in a diving accident, a couple of weeks ago. 

April is National Poetry Month. This year, I've chosen "Dog Days" as my theme. My goal is to write a dog-related poem every day this month. April is also testing month in Colorado. The tests are grueling. Depending on kids' accommodations, the reading and writing sessions this week were between two and three hours long, with no breaks.  I had the kids in the afternoon and they were exhausted and grumpy and not all that much fun. On Tuesday, the first day of testing, I read some poems from Dear World, by Takayo Noda. I wrote a poem about dogs, then invited them to write about anything they wanted.  The kids wrote about all kids of things- the ocean, friends, soccer, baseball, and a few dogs. Here is mine (definitely first draft!) and a few dog-related ones that kids wrote. I loved that poetry allowed some of the kids, including the ones below, who had had a really hard morning to relax and have fun and be really successful. 

Dear Dog,

For as long
as I can remember
you have been
my favorite animal

I love your
wagging tail
boundless energy
loyal heart

You are my favorite
walking partner
couch cuddler
comfort when I am sad

I wish
more people
were like dogs.

© Carol Wilcox, 2019

From one of my friends that has been in the United States for two years and speaks only Spanish at home.

“Dear Dog Sky”

I like your hair
even though it’s dirty
And  even though
It’s tangles.

I like when you
Sleep face up
And it makes
you pretty

I know
when you bark me,
you ask me for food
Or water

every day you grow more
I will love you

By E

Dear Dogs,

I love how you cuddle with me.
I love how you always make me happy when I’m sad, or not.
I like how you sleep outside of my room, and in the entryway to protect me.

I like how you play with me,
I like how you dance with me,
I like how you cuddle with me.

It’s when you,
Wag your tail,
Play with me and together,
When you lay on my pillows and blankets.

So thank you.
I love you Zelda and Izzy,



Dear Dav Pilkey
tell me how can you
do the drawings so good
and your stories are too funny and fun
because the Flip O Ramas
and drawing one of the characters
is very fun
to do that activity.

Tell me when
are you going to do
a new Dog Man book
please tell me the date
or until next year

because i really love
Dog Man stories
of you
Dav Pilkey
they're too funny.


One of my favorite poets, Irene Latham, is hosting Poetry Friday this week. She's doing "happy" poems based on art this month. Check them out!


Cheriee Weichel said...

Your poems really make me wish I wasn't allergic to dogs.

jama said...

Enjoyed all these doggie poems. I also wish more people were like dogs!

Donna Smith said...

You just can't go wrong with a dog poem!

Ramona said...

Oh, Carol, I'm enjoying these poems so...even though I'm not a dog person. The third stanza is my favorite! I can see that your students loved playing with words after their grueling testing sessions. I used to encourage my students to have a book of poetry handy for whenever they finished testing.

Linda B said...

I love your poem, Carol, and I miss having a dog, have some loving memories of those in my life. And the student poems seem so heartfelt. I bet Dave Pilkey would love the one to him. Thanks!

Tabatha said...

I'm glad the students had a chance to express themselves freely after the constricted judgy-ness of the testing. Dogs really do elicit the best in us. After all, they give us their best! "I like your hair even though it’s dirty And even though It’s tangles." Sounds like they can see beyond the externals to what is really important. The gratitude for dogs (and Dave Pilkey) sounds very healthy and loving!

Linda Mitchell said...

Oh, these poems are wonderful. What a beautiful and human response to the testing situation. And, Dog Days is a GREAT theme. I love it! Couch true.

Cathy said...

Your poem makes a great mentor text for writing. Poetry from your students was an added bonus!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Fantastic - your post, month's theme, your volunteering with service dogs... Thanks for sharing all. Encouraging kids to write these poems is like having a therapy dog visit when a real one can't be there! Congrats to the young creative writers, & I agree with all their sentiments about our canine friends! Woof.

Margaret Simon said...

I am relaxing on Saturday afternoon with my dog on the sofa and Poetry Friday posts. I'm happy you were able to relieve some of the testing exhaustion with poetry. I really think it's cruel the hours kids are expected to test. We are in the midst as well.
This is a great poetry project. I'll be back to read more.

Mary Lee said...

So glad you gave the kids a chance to do authentic work of their own choosing on a day of "do this stuff this way in this amount of time in this language whether it's yours or not."

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Touching poems, Carol. Echoing others, I LOVE that you're allowing the students the time and space to unwind from the stress of testing with poetry! That's exactly what's needed to allow them to seek comfort in poetry (rather than struggle with it) as they move through life. Well done!

Carol Varsalona said...

I am glad that the dog poetry writing allowed the children to relax and have fun writing, Carol. If your students and you would like to write for my future spring gallery with their poems, please send them on to me.

Alice Nine said...

I enjoyed your poem and the ones from students. Your last line says it all... They did something to relax and feel successful. And I love that you gave them choice of topic -- a choice they didn't have to worry about being right or wrong, especially since during testing that morning all their choices are made under the right/wrong pressure.