Sunday, September 02, 2007



Hunting for You Tube clips
for a recent blog I played
one that blurted out
“Luke Skywalker”
which occasioned Luke,
the dog, to appear.

He listened, gathered a few
pats and then plopped down, frog-dog
style next to my desk.

His job, self-appointed mostly,
is to guard dog food.
His second calling is to let
us know if any creatures are out of place,
is particularly incensed when
squirrels who live in the back yard
get into the loquats in the front yard.
Last night he stayed up late
to figure out what cicadas are for.

I used to be afraid of Luke.

He’s a pit bull, rescued by our son
a few years ago.

I researched, found animal rescue groups,
looked for a home willing to take on
a pit bull, 8 months old, un-neutered,
no shots, extremely loving, very strong,
but by the time we found someone,
we’d fallen in love with Luke.

I bought a dog training book,
got through four or five lessons before
he ate it, picked up a donated kennel
to give him time to get used to the other
animals here — the other dogs wanted
kennels too.

One of our cats adopted him as his best friend,
and we finally made the back yard fence
and gate escape-proof.

A lot of credit for Luke’s socialization
goes to Zed, a mixed breed, big
black and brown and white dog
with one blue eye and one brown one,
who is the sweetest tempered being
I know, and taught Luke how
to be a good dog.

My worst Luke nightmare
has happened twice — once someone
left the gate open, another time
the front door blew open
giving him the opportunity
to bolt, or rather, charge
someone walking by with dogs.

Both times, I called “Luke, good dog come,”
and he did it.

We let Luke and Zed play tug
with a largish rag.
Sometimes I hold the rag and Luke
pulls. He will let me reach into his
mouth, the way a baby will, and
pull out the rag. He’ll let me take
food away from him too, or out
of his mouth.

My cousin’s husband has a pit mix
with whom he plays tug by holding
with his teeth one end of a soft rubber
bone. Tyson, the dog, locks onto the
other end. Both growl. It is hilarious.

We take the responsibility
of caring for a pit bull very seriously
in exchange for which he gives
us constant love and companionship,
guards the food and
is happy to retreat to his kennel
“office” if we ask him to for the
sake of small children, or visitors
who are reserved in the face
of dog love.

Luke is a lovely being,
gentle and bold of heart.

Remember his name, or Roxie,
instead of the name of that football
playing jerk who ran dog fighting rings.

Luke's first day with us, worried, hopeful,
hungry, full of kisses.

©Susan Bright, 2007

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-ninety books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

Announcement: The Plain View Press e-store is online.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though I am one of those who is terrified of pit bulls and am
uncomfortable with licking dogs, I loved this poem.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
I have a picture of my dog Daisy when she was young playing tug of war with a little yellow plastic dog bone, she on one end and me on the other, mouth and teeth to mouth and teeth. Ah, good times.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i saw your post on herdomain about your new pitbull companion. you will find they make the most wonderful additions to your family. he will be your best friend. those of us that are fortunate enough to have one in our lives, also need to be aware and accept the huge responsibility of being a responsible owner and a good ambassador for the breed. lots of exercise, games they have to figure out, obedience training and love.

i also have a rescued pitbull and he's the best in every way. he lives nicely with our other dog tula, also a rescue. he loves to work and play. he is a clown and makes me laugh. he takes his jobs seriously (walking, riding alongside me on the bike, obedience training). he loves games that he has to figure it out. hiding toys and then go find. or stuffing toys inside something and he has to pull them out, kong toys where you freeze their food overnite with some peanut butter in there, and they have to work to get the food out of the kong. we still encounter challenges, he is 'other' dogs excited - but he is learning how to cope with it better and we work on this every day. he's lots of fun to work with, as they are so eager to please.

thanks for helping luke - you will find in the long run, that although it seems you have helped him -- he will end up helping you in more ways than you know. they are wonderful friends and companions.

all the very best

9:49 AM  
Blogger Twylite said...

I, too, saw your post on HerDomain. As the owner of a VERY exuberant 12 month old Rottweiler male, who charges through the patio furniture, sending tables and chairs flying, completely unaware that his back-end did all that... I completely relate to being the owner of a big dog who happens to be a breed with a bad rep. Congrats on being an intelligent, caring owner. Love your boy.. he will be your rock, your companion, your light.


3:10 PM  

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