Koa, Unplugged

having a little fun . . . to be read out loud



If you happen to encounter Koa,
he may erupt like Krakatoa!
Walkers with dogs are barking triggers.
Some runners also elicit tremendous vigor.

We think he was a pup abused,
that he was mistreated and his soul bruised.
He does not like big sticks as a rule,
and avoids water and our swimming pool

But a kind soul took pity on him
when he visited her back yard on a whim.
His rescue became our fortunate gift.
of a  gentle dog who always uplifts.

He greets us with “ah-roo-roo-roo”
and a wagging tail that wags his body too.
He acts like he’s the happiest boy
If only he knew –  he is our biggest joy.

Thus, there is no need for alarm.
His barking and howling conceal his charm.
He is affectionate and will lick you with glee
and protect you from every single enemy.

Inspired by my new friend, Barbara Ferguson . . . Thank you!

Once there were deer

once there were deerOnce in the woods there were deer
who stared with dark orbs containing distant galaxies
eyes that eerily resembled those of Niko our saluki
who now runs in their herd in his afterlife

Too there were rabbits the color of gray slate
who blithely foraged among wildflowers and grasses
while they twitched their white tipped tails
summoning our black lab Titus to a game of tag-you’re-it

Coyote hunkered down in surveyed thickets by day
and roamed golf course greens bathed in moonlight
howling in their wildness and bedeviling our dogs
safe inside houses protected by wrought iron fences

Today deer hover on the edge of federal land we lease
and rabbits are cute little things that happen to cross our lawns
and coyotes are threats to our schnauzers and kitty cats
we own in our three point two average household size neighborhood.

I yearn that someday again there shall be deer in the woods
and rabbits in wildflowers and grasses
and coyote in thickets
to return us to the ancient galaxy of wildness and life


A Farewell Love Letter


My dearest Niko,MarcoNiko1

Loving you has changed our lives forever.  You enriched the life of a young man who wanted a dog since he was a little boy.  You brought great delight and joy to our house.  You allowed the adoption of a scared abandoned puppy when you left for a few months.  Your mark on this earth is indelible.

You converted me into a dog lover. I, who as a six-year old, ran like the dickens just  because I heard the mere clink of a nearby dog collar. In an effort to not pass a mother’s fear to my baby, I tried to get over my fear of dogs while I was pregnant with Marco.  It got so I could at least pet a dog if the owner was right there, but that was about it.

MarcoNiko2When Marco asked if you and he could live with us in 2009, I asked if you were going to live in the yard.  He patiently reminded me that you then lived in a third floor flat. At the time, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to live with a dog, much less within our home. Now, I must get used to living without you.N-1b

As a puppy, you liked to chew on things – Marco’s socks, our wooden Balinese Buddha, the baseboards along our stairways, cardboard boxes, post-it note pads.  Once, you chewed up my reading glasses because I wouldn’t take you outside with me when I went for a smoke. Eventually, you respected our not-yours command.

You taught me to understand that our Maker had specifics in mind when creating all creatures.  You exemplify the qualities of the Egyptian Saluki that you are – regal, loyal, uniquely flexible.  You carry yourself as a royal prince, proud and tall. People often comment on your beauty and stature.  The crippling disability of lymphoma insults your regal demeanor.IMG-20110309-00107

YoYoga1u are so flexible, you can twist yourself into a small ball. You once turned so quickly while running on the tennis court that your paw pads were ripped off.

You demand we scratch your belly and we always comply.  I wish you would ask for one more belly rub.  One, just one.Belly rub

You constantly test your boundaries.  You patrol our front windows and our backyard fence. You walk the entire perimeter of dog parks.  And, whenever we carelessly leave a gate unlatched or the garage door open, you eagerly explore what lies beyond. We always found you close to home but only after you had sufficient time to visit a maze of houses and neighborhood streets.  To this day, I have no idea where you ventured for sometimes a couple of hours.

You run like the wind.  Oh how you can run!  I remember when we let you off leash once on the trails.  Your head thrust forward, you legs pumping in long magnificent strides far across Grapevine Lake.  Eventually, you heeded Richard’s beckoning, but I can only imagine the freedom pulsing through your veins during those precious minutes.  We are haunted by a twinge of guilt whenever we must keep you on leash on the trails.???????????????????????????????

SnowSundogs 10-10You have become a calm and guiding spirit for Titus, your little brother whom we adopted when you left for brief time.  Your absence demanded we live with another dog.  A week after you left, we adopted a black lab scared and abandoned next to the freeway.  Titus was rescued because we missed you so much.

Eventually you came back to live with us permanently.  You have become such a patient big brother, even when Titus persistently tugs at your collar and insists you play with him.  You calm him in many ways.  On our walks, he always sidles near you, and waits for you when you fall behind.

Titus smells your sickness.   On our most recent walks, he refuses to leave you if you’re too tired to continue.  He knows you are leaving us.  I feel his sadness and empathize with his helplessness.

I used to fear that you will leave us by escaping through fences and running away. It is ironic that you are leaving us not of your own volition, but because of a greedy illness that consumes from within.

So my fear has now become my prayer for you, Niko my love.  As you leave this earth, break through the barrier and run, run the speed for which you are created. Smell the air, chase the deer, follow the sun.  Do not look back.  Ignore our voices calling you back.  You are free.  You are Prince Niko. Your kingdom awaits.

Know that our spirits are forever bound.  I will listen for your ears flapping at night, and Richard will fondle your collar before we go out for our morning walks.  Titus will pine for your constant companionship and know your smell along our morning walk trails. Such is your legacy for those who survive you.  We shall miss you sorely.

But your time is eternity now.  Be free.  Run in our love.  Fare thee well, my dearest Niko.