Rusty: Discarded Joy

He was abandoned.
Someone will never know
what great joy they had discarded.

He was skinny, about as large as a grapefruit
when curled up into a ball
(later the vet would estimate about
seven or eight weeks old).

His tail wagged furiously
as my wife picked him up

and he immediately snuggled
himself into her arms
and fell asleep.

We took him home
and have never looked back.


Rusty: The Ballad of the Sentinel

Dear Rusty brings us tons of joy,
his tail wags through the day;
he’s not a puppy anymore
but sure does love to play.

He’s only fifteen pounds or so
but that’s more than enough
for him to mostly get his way;
he seems to think he’s tough.

A tug-of-war with well used toys
will bring ferocious growls,
but not to fear, it’s all in fun.
He saves his barks and howls

for UPS and mailman trucks
and other passers-by;
he sees them through his window pane,
throws back his head to try

to chase them off and so it seems
succeeding all the while.
A great watch dog, he’s always on
the job; he’s got his style.

It’s true he sleeps ‘tween episodes
of keeping folks at bay
and dreams about the belly rubs
he gets along the way.

Dear Rusty is our sentinel,
he keeps us safe and sound;
he bays at those outside our home,
our stalwart ShihTzu hound.


Rusty: Catch Me If You Can!

When he goes on a tear,
it’s two times, maybe three times ’round the course
from living room to bedroom and back again,
all at break-neck speed!

That which we usually experience as
purposely perambulating from one room to another,
he seems to experience as an explosion of pure joy,
his twin purposes perhaps being

the playing out of pent-up energy
and the sheer exhilaration of the game,
with his mischievous doggy grin leading the way
and ears laid back for maximum aerodynamics!

If he has stolen something
he knows he is not supposed to have,
like a sock or a paper napkin,
then all the better!

Finally comes the triumphant dive under the big bed!
Catch me if you can!
Come on!
Catch me if you can!


Rusty: When My Mama Comes Home

My tail wagging furiously,
I maniacally jump on and off the couch,
exploding with a high pitched bark I cannot control!
Mama’s home!
Goody, goody, goody, goody!

I saw her turn into the driveway
and I surround her at the door!
Do I need to pee?
Okay, I’ll go out to the flower bed, one of my favorite places,
but don’t go away, Mama;
I’m back before you can even sit down!

I’ve got my chewy treat,
and now I’m ready for kisses and a belly rub!
Just sit with me, Mama, until I play out all this rambunctiousness,
and then we can do a tug-of-war with one of my well-worn toys!

You see, it’s a ritual we have, my Mama and me!
I love my Mama, yes I do!
Just ask my Papa; oh, I love him too,
but I’m always exceptionally glad when my Mama comes home!