Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem-black nose June 4, 2016

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:30 am
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Little black nose

Pink panting tongue

Sparkling black eyes

Two paws on my leg

invitations to puppy fun.


poem-lost moments February 15, 2016

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:19 am
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I had some errands to do,

and it’s always so hard to leave you

after I’ve come home,

so I went to the library,

and the grocery store,

and then to fold my mother’s laundry.

When I pulled into the garage,

he told me you were in trouble,

I rushed to see you.

You looked at me with anguish in your eyes,

your belly hugely distended. I told you to come,

you went straight to the car, because the car is always good.

I raced you to the vet, my hand on your shoulder,


I sat on the exam room floor with you

feeling your racing pulse and your icy breath.

I held you as you died.

Thirty minutes of pointless errands

when I could have been with you,

thirty minutes less pain you would have endured,

thirty minutes I will not get back, but will always regret.

I’m thankful for the fifteen minutes I had to hold you.

I’m so sorry for your anguish in my arms.




My heart dog OJ died of gastric torsion on Friday.  He was fine at lunch.  Dead at 5:00.  We don’t know how it happened after 15.5 years, but standard poodles are deep chested dogs that can be prone to bloat, though it’s not in his line.  I had hoped he’d go in his sleep, not suffering so much, but it was easy to request the shot to save him from his agony, though by then it was likely only moments of ease.



poem-first mourning February 13, 2016

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:58 am
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And so I wake on the first morning

without my heart dog.

No thumping tail to greet me

No clicking nails tattooing down the hall.

No urgent woof encouraging me

No stinky kisses

to comfort me aching.

No rolling for a belly rub

with contended sighs and eyes blinking

nonchalantly, as if you were surprised

to find my hand caressing you.

No need to put my purse up high,

or guard food on the counters.

No rattling as you did dishwasher pre-wash.


Only bits of fluff, still hiding in corners

after your last hair cut,

a hundred photos,

and a million memories of a sweet-tempered,

loving heart that beat with mine.




Oh, how I miss my boy today.



poem- today

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:57 am
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grief is a roller coaster,

clicking forward minute by minute

and then with an errant thought

dropping my belly to my knees.


poem-oh! February 12, 2016

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:46 pm

I burst into tears

at the sight of pizza on the counter.

There is no longer danger

of your nose sniffing out a snack

your tongue stealing it with sneaky swipe.

Your bright eyes no longer follow me.

Your tail no longer wags in joyful greeting.

I am bereft

that food is safe

but you are gone.


One year to the day after we had to put down our miniature poodle Dusty, we came home today to find our dear, sweet OJ, (Kimelle’s Optimum Jive) bloating from gastric torsion.  I rushed him to the vet where he died in my arms 10 minutes later. And so my prophecy came true.  In one year I lost my 3 old men: Dusty (16.5), Dad (100.75), and OJ (15.5).  Be careful of the words you speak.

I gave OJ this ghastly hair cut last weekend, and saved the hair to spin and felt.  What a melancholy, precious task that will be, when I can bear it.






poem-tryst May 11, 2015

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:18 pm
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He cries when you sees you,

low whimpers of delight.

His frailness is endearing

if it doesn’t keep you up at night.

He rubs his head against you

he murmurs adoration

When you scratch behind his ears

his tail waves in celebration.

His love is pure and when he looks

so deeply in your eyes

You know these daily trysts

will last until he dies.



(and if he’s as old as my boy is, that may not be as long as one would hope).



poem-dreaming April 1, 2015

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:47 pm
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Last night,

I wept over your broken body,

watching bloody pools expanding

beneath your feet.


you needed seven anti-anxiety pills

and still paced and cried,

your heart throbbing.

Were we dreaming side by side?

Did you see my vision?

Were you scared by day

from mother dreams

of death?




(The dog again.  Sigh.  Put him in the Gentle Leader halter after dinner and he calmed down.  Might try that during the day tomorrow.)



poem-window love March 24, 2015

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:50 am
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It’s time for spring cleaning,

but if I wash your nose prints

off this glass

then the last trace

of you will be erased

and you will truly be



poem-distress signal March 10, 2015

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:41 pm
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WOOF wooooof!





My 15 year old standard poodle is still unable to manage alone after we had to put down our 16.5 year old miniature poodle last month.  We now allow him to sleep in our bedroom. Last night, after he’d been pacing and whimpering from 1:30 to 2 a.m. (post snack and pee-break) I actually got out of bed to lie beside him on the floor for 20 minutes until he settled.  I’m not sure if that’s enabling, but we were all able to sleep afterwards.  A visit to the vet this week, and a trip to his favourite kennel master next week, and I have hopes that perhaps he’ll be able to cope soon.  The mourning process is a challenge for us all.


poem-anxious sovereignty March 4, 2015

You and I are independent souls.

I move through the house;

You rest comfortably in contented sovereignty.

You do not need to dog my heels

to glorify each moment at my side

or expect me to worship at your feet.

You ignore me for hours,

sleeping in peaceful, self-sufficiency.

We are independent souls,

until the moment I step outside the door,

and calamity explodes in barks and whines.

It pants, scratches, and pees displeasure

at this, your desperate circumstance,

wailing at the injustice of loneliness,

vomiting up fathomless grief.

For the hours I am present, I do not exist;

for the hour I am absent, I make your world

a cavernous void.

Dog ironies

amid anxieties.



OJ is not doing well since Dusty went to the Rainbow Bridge.   We’ve tried swaddling as per Thundershirt.  We’ve got the Rescue Remedy.  He’s in his safe, contained space.  We fill the Kong with goodness.  Still the dog thinks the world is ending when I walk out the door.  Got any other suggestions?  Except a new dog companion.  Hubby imagines a dog-free household in our near future.  (I’m allergic to cats, so that’s not an option either).


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