Friday, April 30, 2021

POEM #30- Raising Rooney-

 “I've Got RooneyAll Over Me”

“I’ve got Rooney

all over me,”

says Armando

plucking a yellow hair

from the bottom

of his backpack. 

“I’ve got Rooney

all over me too,”

I think. 

On my navy hoodie,

on the living room couch

where he sleeps

every chance he gets.

Across the backseat

 of my car. 

I’ve got Rooney

all over me 

in other ways too.

His exuberance

as he yanks off his vest

and dances around the room 

inviting me to play.

His intense focus

and eagerness to please

when I put him 

on a long stay

and walk across the room. 

His huge heart

in trying things

that are hard

or scary for him.

He hates metal bleachers

But he would do them if I asked. 

His endless patience

In dealing 

with the little ones 

as he accompanies

a sad four-year-old to class

Or listens to a six-year-old read. 

His huge love

how he bounds across the room

or walks the hall endlessly

with a kid who is 

frustrated or broken-hearted.

He just knows who needs him. 

Soon Rooney

will leave me.

But really he won’t.

I’ve got Rooney 

all over me. 

© Carol Wilcox, 2021

Thursday, April 29, 2021


 Almost every year I've done April poetry,  I've managed to work in an abecedarian. Here is this year's.

Back to school, August 2020 (we didn't actually go to school until November).

"Rooney: An ABCdarian"

Amigo, ally, angel,

Backporch buddy, 

Clandestine couch cuddler,

Deep dirt digger, aka Doctor Destructo,

Excited about everything,

Faithful friend,

Galaxy’s go-to guy,

Happy to host visitors,

Intelligent and intuitive,

Jump on genius,

Killer of computers and cords,

Lover of ladies,

Mischievous mascot,

Never met a stranger,

Outstanding observer of odors,

Patient preschool protector,

Quiet comforter of kids,

Reluctant reading station,

Snoring stuffy assassin, 

Tiny bit timid,

Unabashed admirer of Uncle Craig,

Velcroed vest remover,

Worry wart and water wader (but only if necessary),

eXcellent example of all that is good,

You are loved

From A to Z. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

POEM #28- RAISING ROONEY- Two tri-cubes

When you spend a lot of time with someone, you get to know all of their little nuances. That's definitely true for me, with Rooney. I wonder how long it will take his person to know him well...

Today I'm attempting the tri-cube, a poem that has three stanzas, each with three lines, and each line with three syllables. I wrote two.

"On greeting a special friend"

you extend

to full stretch

yawn widely

people think

that means you’re

calm, relaxed

i know you’re

struggling for 


© Carol Wilcox


"It depends on the situation..."

when i fuss

about work

you are stressed

when I fight

with my sons

you exit

when a kid

needs soothing

you draw close

(C) Carol Wilcox,2021

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Poem #27- RAISING ROONEY- "Excursions"

Service dogs have to be ready to perform in lots of different settings. Pre-COVID, at least once a month, training classes were held somewhere off-site-- a park, a museum, downtown. During the past two summers, we've also gone somewhere every Wednesday. The dogs love, love, love strutting their stuff in public and we usually have lots of fun. 

Tonight's poem is a (bad) acrostic.

Rooney at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, Summer 2020


Every few weeks, without

Xception, we take to the streets

Check out new spaces

Utilize our skills

Review commands

Strut our stuff

Impress onlookers

Outshine everyone

Nail down new learnings and

Show off supremely!

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2021

Monday, April 26, 2021

POEM #26- Raising Rooney

 Pre-Covid, Rooney was a first-grade reading station. Once or twice a week, we'd go down to the first-grade class. During independent reading time, the kids would rotate to stations. Of course, everyone wanted to read to Rooney. He'd be patient for 15 minutes, but then he would get a little bored and start to fidget. And the first graders just kept reading...

I stacked two tankas together to tell this story.

"In Which I Become a First Grade Reading Station"

A reading station? 
Me? I just have to sit here?
Listen to kids read?
Doesn't seem too difficult.
Don't forget to bring my treats.

Wait! I've already
heard this story. Several times.
Can I take a nap?
No? How about tug of war?
Enough reading for today!

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2021

Sunday, April 25, 2021

POEM #26- Raising Rooney- "Your New Owner Should Know..."

One of my students made this using a Google app.

"Your new owner  should know…"

you don't like when people fight
or when they get mad and fuss at their computers,
you also would prefer people did not engage in road rage
and you, like most dogs, 
actually don't like to have your ears scratched
partly because ear scratches
are often followed by cold, smelly drops,
however, you adore booty rubs
and will stand for hours
if someone will scratch, 
that itchy spot 
on your right hip.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Poem #24: Raising Rooney- "Training Class: A Poem in Two Voices"

Rooney and I go to training class together on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. It's always interesting, to put it mildly. He's gotten much better as he's gotten older, but when he was younger, it was awful. We would practice and practice and practice, and then we'd get to class, and he'd see his friends, and get really excited, and forget everything he had ever learned. A poem in two voices seemed the perfect format. 

Rooney at a training class outing, Summer 2020

"Rooney at Training Classes: A Poem in Two Voices"

                                I am a service dog-in-training.

I am a good boy.
                                                     I am a party animal
I go to school every day.
                                                    I go to class twice a month. 
I enter the building calmly. 
                                                    I lunge through the door.
                                                    Mama and I try again
                                                    Usually several times. 
I respond to my name. 
                                                    I don't know my name.
I greet people nicely. 
                                                    I forget four on the floor.
                                                    I lick my trainer's face. 
                                                    I sniff my friends' butts. 
I settle in my bed. 
I go to my sleep. 

                                                    I go to my mat.
                                                    With several reminders.
                                                    I try to settle but my head 
                                                    keeps popping up.
I am very quiet.
Sometimes I snore.    
                                                    I whine a lot.
                                                    Sometimes I bark. 
We practice a lot. 
I know my commands. 
I can recall from half a city block
Even if there are treats on the floor.
                                                Clearly mama doesn't work with me.  
                                                I don't know any commands.
                                                I can recall ten feet. 
                                                but I sometimes take detours
                                                for other dogs. 
I am a good boy. 
                                                I am a party animal. 

                        I am a service-dog-in training.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Poem #23- Raising Rooney- "A Gentleman"

Rooney is a man of strong opinions. What he likes, he likes. What he doesn't like, he doesn't like. Getting in and out of the car has been a huge issue. Service dogs are supposed to ride in the hatchback. Rooney much prefers the back seat. It's only in the last couple of weeks that he has consented to jump into the back of my RAV4.

Rooney in the back seat, June 2020

"A Gentleman"

I am a gentleman, Mama.
Gentlemen do not leap 
gracelessly into the back of the car.
Instead someone
(ummm, that would be you, mama)
needs to open the back door,
no, not the door on the passenger side,
and definitely not the hatchback,
someone needs to  open the back door 
on the driver's side,
and I will step delicately, 
first onto the floor, and then onto the seat,
and arrange myself for the ride. 
I am a gentleman, Mama,
Gentlemen do not leap 
gracelessly into the back of the car.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

POST #22- Raising Rooney


Rooney at the exhibition, "Art of the Brick" at the Museum of Natural History

Hey Mom,
You never told me
I have a twin
he wants to come home
with me.

(c) Carol Wilcox

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Poem #21- Raising Rooney- "Galaxy"



Who is this baby

You bring to me?

And where is Mama Star?

This baby is yappy.

This baby chews my ears.

This baby takes my toys. 

This baby lays on top of me. 

He’s my little brother?

I don’t want him.

Take him back.

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2021

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Poem #20- Raising Rooney


Star Goes Away

Mama Star.

I love her.

I glue myself to her hip.

I lay on top of her.

I pull on her collar.

I chew her ears.

I love her.

Mama Star.

She is old and creaky.

She does not like

to play bitey face

or chase squirrels

She only wants

to lay in the sun

and sleep.

And then one day

Mama Star goes away. 

I miss my friend.

Monday, April 19, 2021

POEM #19- Raising Rooney- "The Couch"

 “The Couch”

"The Couch"

Service dogs
Do not get on the furniture.

I have amended that rule.
The couch is soft,
The couch is comfy.

I do not get on the couch
When Mama is watching. 

© Carol Wilcox, 2021

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Poem #18- Raising Rooney- "In Which I Am A Heartless Beast"


Tonight's poem is a nonet- a nine-line poem that starts with nine syllables, and decreases by one syllable a line, until the last line has only one syllable. 

"In Which I Am a Heartless Beast"

When people find out sweet Roo will leave,

The response is always the same

"I could never give him back,"

Like I am coldhearted,

an uncaring beast,

whose closest friend

dies and she

does not


(c) Carol Wilcox, 2021

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Poem #17- Raising Rooney- "Failure"

Rooney, June 2020, 15 months, practicing obstacles at a park in our neighborhood

When the dogs at CaPR are about a year old, they take a test to see if they are ready to go into advanced training. We had worked really hard, and I thought Rooney would do a good job, but he failed miserably. It seems there was an unfortunate incident where he was supposed to do a recall (the trainer is on one side of the room, and dog is on the other, the trainer calls, and the dog is supposed to bypass a toy and go directly to the trainer). Rooney not only didn't bypass the toy, he decided it would be a good time to play keep away. When I went to pick him up, all the trainer said was, "His recall isn't very good." 

And so, while some of the dogs went onto advanced training, Rooney and I stayed in the intermediate class for another 8 months (it probably wouldn't have been that long except for COVID). He just started advanced training two weeks ago, while Dune, another dog about his age, has been matched, and will go into service in the next couple of months. I guess the reminder for me is that just like with kids, not everyone progresses at the same rate. 

This poem is a cherita, a Malayan story poem. The cherita has three stanzas- the first stanza is one line, the second is two lines, and the third is three. My poetry tends to be a little wordy, so I'm trying to use some structures to make me write shorter. 


 I meant  to do a good job

but the stuffie was between me and miss angela
and I knew she put it there because she wanted to play

so when she called me, I picked it up
and yes, keep away may have been a bit much
but how can a guy turn down such a great opportunity?

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2021

Friday, April 16, 2021

POEM #16- Pandemic

 Shortly after the pandemic started, my school made a video featuring everyone from my school. I figured the kids were a lot more interested in seeing pictures of Rooney...


My mama is a busy lady.

She takes me lots of places.


Bible Study.

Spanish Class.

Book club.





We have lots of fun.

And then one day




This new life is boring.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2021