Friday, March 11, 2016

I Wish I'd Written This

Freedom Ride
Leigh D C Spencer

They know, you know

When you slip that temporary leash on them
they vibrate
while you sign their release papers

The lap they sit on
in the getaway car
belongs to the new
absolute
love of their life

They know
a savior
when they see, lick, and smell one

Susie was a skeletal Chihuahua mix
two years old and e-listed
for being a stray and too thin

My son’s was the lap she sat on
and the pillow she slept on that first night
Home
wrapped around his sleeping head

Seven years later
she has her own staircase
to reach the top bunk
where my teenager 
HER teenager
sleeps

She hangs over the edge
protective gargoyle

Never doubt
all twelve healthy pounds of her
would face any threat, real or imagined
for him

Sarah was fifteen
same owners her whole life

They couldn’t afford to have her teeth cleaned
so they dropped her off to be put down

Spry, adorable, and surprisingly quiet
Jack Russells usually bark
but not when their vocal chords are cut

I guess that surgery was affordable
when she was a pup

Sarah had her head out the open window
worshipping the sun and wind on her smiling face

When we stopped at the park,
she nearly wrenched my arm out of the socket
tearing off to run in the grass, chase pigeons, 
and play with ALL the children

Apple was twelve, fat, and blind

She literally pranced to my car
proud and happy, past all the other dogs and kennels

She wedged herself between me and the steering wheel
smiling, clumsy, endlessly goofy

My lap and then my heart
claimed as hers

Before they know
about ample food and indulgent treats
about soft, warm beds
about pats and scratches and belly rubs
about people who will never leave them
scared, hurt, or alone
about HOME – a safe place to FINALLY 
share their divine, unconditional love

Before they know any of that,
they know their greatest joy 
starts
with that temporary leash
that welcoming, open door
that savior’s lap

of the freedom ride


Yes, another one for all you (other) soppy animal lovers out there. This could almost be a companion piece to Tany Delys Mandorla's Red Collar, which I posted recently. When you finish mopping your eyes, you may ask why another so soon? I'll answer that with what Leigh posted on her facebook page a few days ago:

You GUYS!! Something truly and incredibly AWESOME happened this week! My dear, amazing friend Delaina hooked me up AGAIN with a SUPER-COOL writing opportunity.
One of her relatives is on the board and planning a gala event for the New Hampshire Humane Society. They had an idea to get original poetry about shelter dogs, have an artist make it look beautiful, and then have more artists - adoptable DOG artists - paint it with pawprints to turn it into gorgeous wall-hangings that people could bid on.
Delaina agreed to write a poem for this. THEN she recommended ME to do the same. I wrote and sent in a poem yesterday and THEY ARE GOING TO LET DOGS WITH PAINTED PAWS WALK ALL OVER IT AND USE IT FOR THE AUCTION!!
I am a million degrees beyond excited about this. I got to write something that will be used to raise money for shelter animals. Throw in my family and a messy cheeseburger and you've pretty much got EVERYTHING I love most in the world covered.

Isn't that a great use for poetry? The auction is not happening until June, but Leigh tells me she got so excited she couldn't wait to let everyone know. I love her excitement nearly as much as I love the poem, and I couldn't wait to share either.

(Yes, as many of you know, I am a crazy cat person, but I also like dogs – and in fact the dearest animal that ever came to be with me was a very large and, I insist, peerless dog.)

I featured Leigh in 'I Wish I'd Written This' once before. Click here if you'd like to remind yourselves. I'm stealing this photo from that post to use again here for obvious reasons.




Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

18 comments:

  1. OH, Rosemary, what a delightful poem! I just love this week's choice. I enjoyed the mention of all the shelter animals that made their way home. The first three lines say it all...the feel of that vibrating leash - how excited the dog must be when he/she knows home is on the horizon. And that first ride home...so amazing. I empathize with Leigh's feelings here & have to stay away from the Humane Society because I have enough. Smiles. And, yes, what a great use for poetry!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Mary! Yes, I used to volunteer as a dog walker at our shelter and my husband was always relieved when I came home alone. We have three dogs. I am currently angling for a fourth. A 15 year old doxy is calling to me.

      Thanks for reading and for your very kind words!

      --Leigh

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    1. Thank you, Daddy! :)

      --Leigh, the eldest

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  3. Well, I have to say, I totally LOVE Leigh! She so gets the inner life of dogs. I am roiling a little at the people who abandoned their dog because she needed her teeth cleaned. But otherwise, I just adored every line of this poem of prancing, happy, rescued dogs, off to better lives. Sigh. Love the photo too. What a WONDERFUL idea for a fund raiser.....................absolutely brilliant. This poem made my Friday. Thanks, Rosemary and Leigh.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sherry! Sarah was adopted by my sister-in-law in Colorado and lived out a very happy, active 3 years (she was 18 by then!), full of love, treats, KIDS to play with, and a clean, healthy mouth. Susie is the plump black and tan dog, draped across my chest in the photo. :)Goofy Miss Apple lived out the rest of her days with us. We still miss her every day.

      So glad there are other crazy dog lovers out there! I agree, this is an AMAZING fundraiser and I am THRILLED to be part of it.

      Thanks again for reading!

      Much love,
      Leigh

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  4. Yay for Leigh. She's definitely my kind of person and poet. I plead guilty to being a soppy dog lover and I just love her poem and the idea for fund raising. Thanks so much for posting this. I really do wish I'd written this.

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    1. Thanks so much, Myrna! I am a HUGE fan of soppy dog lovers. :)

      I hope their fundraiser is WILDLY successful and that the idea spreads to other shelters.

      --Leigh

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  5. A fellow animal lover! Hello and very nice to meet you! Isn't that what we all long for? To use whatever talent we have to help and solve and grow? I love this and truly wish I had written it!

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    1. THANK YOU, Carol! Nice to meet you, too.

      --Leigh

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  6. Thanks, all of you, for taking the time to comment – and to Leigh for the responses. (Smile.)

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  7. i do not have a dog, but i know dogs.
    my father had a mongrel which guarded his work site. one night we heard a scratching noise at our house's door. we opened it and saw the mongrel bleeding with several slash wounds. he has never been to our house before. till this day, i do not understand how the wounded dog had traveled from the work site to our home (a considerable distance) to warn my dad that his storehouse had been robbed. when that dog died in my dad's arms, i can feel my father crying.

    sorry for this rambling comment, but Leigh's wonderful poem does bring back the memories. :)

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    1. An emotional memory indeed, as well as amazing. One to treasure, albeit sad. I think we can all feel it with you to some degree.

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    2. No apologies needed. Dogs are so loyal and special. I loved hearing your story. I wish it had a happier ending, but thanks so much for sharing it. And THANK YOU for reading!

      --Leigh

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