Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Teddy's Twelve!

Happy birthday dear doggie... Happy birthday dear Ted.

Teddy could barely contain himself before receiving his turkey patty treat. Typical teen.

Seriously, though, Ted's pretty spry for an 84-year-old. He's old for a dog. Jon and I are both very grateful for Ted's energy and elán, especially since he takes his elán to bed by 9. Typical old fart.

I'm awfully glad to have him around, particularly during the day when I'm home alone, and most of my neighbors are gone. His big bark scares all but the heartiest dog lovers. He's a sweetie, truly, he'd just lick you to death and play dead for a treat. (God, I love that dog.) However, he does tend to jump up on any stranger who stands too close to me for more than a handshake. It seemed innocent the first few times Ted did it, but he does it with such regularity I finally caught on.

He protects me.

So, in honor of Ted's birthday, I'm posting a recently completed poem loosely based on Ted's experience. FYI, he's only gotten away from me twice, and was brought home within 30 seconds each time. And he has the microchip, so we're good. I suppose you can file that first line under "poetic license."

Promise to our Terrier

I swear to God dog if you run out
on me again I won’t come looking for you.

Your first home taught you
the discipline to Sit, if not Stay. I see it,
proud in your gait. But military men leave often.

I’ve played fill-in-the-blanks with the paper
trail, the vet’s report:

a second owner, an address rich enough
to need a pure-breed (unwilling to pay?).
One broken foreleg, car damage—you’re
almost too much trouble.

Back into the sorting bin, you emerged
in the home I’m mending for you, for him.
After dinner, we’ll sit together; I’ll pull
your head away from licking that old wound.

You are no longer your own only constant.
Our commands are more like invitations.

Sit. Stay.

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