Poetry for Pets

Mother Doesn't Want a Dog

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they smell,
And never sit when you say sit,
Or even when you yell.
And when you come home late at night
And there is ice and snow,
You have to go back out because
The dumb dog has to go.

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they shed,
And always let the strangers in
And bark at friends instead,
And do disgraceful things on rugs,
And track mud on the floor,
And flop upon your bed at night
And snort their doggy snore.

Mother doesn't want a dog.
She's making a mistake,
Because more than a dog I think
She will not want this snake.
—Judith Viorst

This is the very first poem we learned as part of our Well Trained Mind grammar stage memorization routine. Well before we seriously thought of a dog as a pet. Back then we had a stick insect, and a more useless pet I cannot imagine. Then came the leopard gecko, only slightly less useless because you could actually hold him. But not too often, and only if you washed your hands immediately after to guard against salmonella poisoning. Most of your time with a gecko is spent buying, caring for, catching, powdering with calcium dust, and cleaning up after a batch of extremely stinky crickets.
So as pets go, I have to say, dogs win hands down for being more snuggly than an insect or reptile. Sweet, playful, smarter than a gecko, sometimes naughtly, but in firm possession of all our hearts here in the suburban jungle.

I can't remember where I heard this story: A woman is in her kitchen, when she hears her husband call out from the bathroom, "Honey, can toothpaste go bad?" Turns out he had used the dog's poultry-flavoured paste by mistake. Still makes me chuckle.


  1. That picture of her on the stairs never fails to crack me up: she looks SO incredibly goofy. She also looks somewhat Afghan-ish, too, with all those long limbs.

  2. Ahem. You aren't blogging enough. Just thought you'd like to know.

    And I am just replying to your email...

    Hey - I saw you on another blog! You and I were both commenting on it at the VERY SAME TIME. How cool is that!?