A Doggo and His Ball

Poem and Palinode

Franco, a little doggy I care for several days a week.

I have been writing some short stories lately, and though I am late for National Poetry Month, have been in the mood over the past few days to experiment with different poetry forms. I am always in the middle of a longer creative writing project, so it has been nice to write some shorter pieces and put out a piece of creative writing more often.

I came across this challenge by DVerse to write a palinode. As described on their page, “A palinode or palinody is an ode or song that retracts or recants a view or sentiment to what the poet wrote in a previous poem.” It’s possible to do the poem and its recanting in a two-part poem which is what I chose to do.

A Doggo and His Ball


Franco is a funny boy,

Doggo with a favorite toy.

Balls are this doggo’s delight,

Which he dreams of day and night.

His fixation is annoying,

For the while he is enjoying,

the ball it bounces, skips and places

self into inconvenient spaces.

Only a hooman on her knees,

Face, hands or belly can retrieve

beloved bally from its snares

Under sofas, seats, beds or chairs.


Did I say my darling was a pest,

Just because he gives me little rest?

Maybe I did, but only in jest.

© 2021 Susan Joy Clark

I’m not sure my form is flawless — poem people, be gentle — but maybe light, comic verse gives me more leeway?

I’m showing off my lovely mismatched staying-at-home outfit in this pic, but it’s a good example of Franco being a darling.

This silly ditty below, by Gelett Burgess in 1895, was shared on DVerse’s page as an example of a poem with palinode, and I liked it so much I’ll share it here.

“I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I’d rather see than be one.”

Later in life, Burgess wrote —

“Ah yes, I wrote the purple cow!
I’m sorry now I wrote it!
But I can tell you anyhow,
I’ll kill you if you quote it!”

Puppy Dog Treat Taste Test

Roxy, the soft-coated wheaten terrier puppy

I’ve been doing daily care visits for Roxy, the ball of fluff above, a soft-coated wheaten terrier puppy. Today, there were two bags of treats left out, and I decided to try a dog treat taste test to see if I could figure out which she preferred.

Here were the contenders …

Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers, beef flavor

Crazy Dog Train-Me training reward treats, bacon flavor

I sat on the floor with Roxy and put one Instinct treat in one hand and one Crazy Dog treat in the other. I then presented my open hands to her with palms up and then waited to see which she would eat first.

My plan was to put my hands both at equal distance from her, but she somehow got to one side of me. She went to the Train Me treat first and ate that, but it was in the hand nearest her, so I think she was just doing what was most convenient.

I have no photos of the actual taste test but enjoy this photo of Roxy being cute.

Next, I switched treats to opposite hands. Roxy went first to the Instinct treat, but she was, again, to one side of me and chose the hand closest to her. I decided I needed to change my approach.

I put a treat in each hand once more, turned my body towards Roxy and presented two closed fists this time to her face. She sniffed at each hand but paid much more sniffing attention to the hand holding the Instinct treat and ate that one first.

Roxy’s cute little tushy. She is not tasting treats here but looking out for a deer in the neighbor’s yard.

I then switched the two kinds of treats to opposite hands and presented two closed fists to her face once more. Roxy began once more to sniff at and even lick and chew the hand that held the Instinct treat. Perhaps, that treat has a stronger smell, but it looks like we have a winner!

These treats are actually meant to be mixed in with plain Kibble and might entice a picky eater to eat.

Although it seems we have a winner, perhaps more testing is needed and Roxy probably wouldn’t mind that at all. She may have preferences, but she likes both and wouldn’t refuse either if given a chance.

Awkward Cuddles with Roxie, the English Springer Spaniel

I had the privilege to watch Roxie and some of her animal housemates, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Rory and two cats, over Labor Day weekend. Above is my perspective as she lay with her head on my chest, her doggy schnoz just under my chin.

So, this particular cuddle wasn’t awkward. In fact, it’s quite pleasant having a doggy head resting on your chest or even a doggy body comfortably laying across yours.

You can’t see it, but I am under those covers and under the doggy.

Roxie looks half asleep here, but here is anther cuddle moment. I am underneath that heap of covers.

However, we did have a few awkward moments like when she lay in the Sphinx position below completely on top of my body, with her pointy elbows poking into tender parts of me. Solution: Pull on her legs and adjust them so that we’re both comfortable.

It got even more awkward when she wanted to lay across my chest with her shoulder blade poking into my face. I somehow coaxed her out of this position.

Roxie is the most agile dog I’ve watched so far. She had the habit of walking a thin, tightrope line between me and the edge of the bed and seeing if she could lie down in the practically non-existing space. Although I have not mastered the “selfie with dog,” you can see here that it is a wonder she did not fall of the edge of the bed.

I think she must be part mountain goat … and part Tigger. One night, I could hear her on the floor by the opposite side of the bed from where I was. She must have been three or four feet away. I called her name and, a second later, she was not only on the bed but flopped up against me. My next thought was, “No wonder they call it a springer spaniel!”

Do you remember Tigger’s theme song? “Their tops are made out of rubber. Their bottoms are made out of springs.” A Tigger may be a completely different species, but I think Tigger’s theme song could be Roxie’s too.

But sweet Roxie has her merits, though she is sometimes, as her owner calls her, a “goon.” She is the only dog, so far, who has hugged me. She would stand on the bed, get up on her hind legs and place her front legs on my shoulders, wrap them around my back and put her face next to mine. That is pretty close to a human hug!

And, if her cuddles are sometimes awkward and a little uncomfortable, I can forgive her, because she is just trying to show me that she loves me and wants to be close to me.

Does your pet, dog or cat, cuddle with you awkwardly sometimes? Share your comments about their funny cuddle positions.

Amazing Talented Show Dogs Who Dance (And Sing)

Dogs are amazing creatures that help mankind in a number of ways. Besides being loyal companions, they work as hunting dogs and herding dogs, can be trained to assist the police, assist people with different handicaps and physical issues, comfort others as therapy dogs or just entertain us.

I actually think that dogs who learn entertaining stunts think of it as play. Here are some dancing dogs and one “singing” one.

Sara and Hero

Sara and Hero almost didn’t continue in the America’s Got Talent competition, but Simon Cowell saw something in their debut act. You may notice that Simon, although he has a reputation for being harsh and critical, has a serious soft spot for dogs. Hero is a Border collie, and you will notice a few other Border collies in this list. The breed has a reputation for being agile and very trainable. I love the clever little heist story told through this act.

Ashleigh and Sully

Ashleigh first appeared on Britain’s Got Talent with her adorable dog Pudsey. Sadly, Pudsey is no more, but Ashleigh continued to act with Pudsey’s friend and Ashleigh’s second dog, Sully. This act has a bit of a boxing theme, but Sully doesn’t seem too fierce.

Marc Metral and Wendy

As a puppeteer, I find Marc Metral’s act fascinating. He essentially does a ventriloquist act with his little dog, Wendy. Someone mentioned in the comments that Metral uses a false jaw for Wendy which he can operate. This makes complete sense to me, since I’ve seen ventriloquists use false jaws on audience volunteers. I’m sure the fact that Wendy is such a fluffy dog helps to hide any attachments.

Pinterest graphic showing Ashleigh and her dancing dog, Sully

Jules O’Dwyer and Matisse

Here’s another little heist story with an ending so touching I teared up a little bit. It also has its funny moments and some demonstrations of amazing dog agility.

The following three acts are from Crufts, an annual international canine event held in the UK.

Lucy Creek and Skiffle

Skiffle shows himself to be “Lord of the Dance” in this act set to Celtic music. He also “plays” some sort of wind instrument which is rather clever.

Mary Ray and Her Two Dancing Dogs

The announcer gives Mary Ray credit for introducing “heelwork to music” to the UK. Her act to “Singin’ in the Rain” is very imaginative. I love the spinning umbrellas and the foot crossing little dance steps.

Lusy Imbergerova and Deril

This faithful “army dog” helps his soldier with her morning exercises and even performs CPR. I love the storytelling in this act.

11 People Foods Doggies Can Eat and Six They Can’t

It's a DoggyDog World

You are busy cooking or eating dinner, and your canine pal is looking at you like you are leaving him out of something important and how could you do this to them? Should you give him a little scrap from your plate? Is it healthy or potentially harmful?

Photo by Daniel Brunsteiner on Unsplash

Here are 11 foods dogs can eat and seven they can’t.

  1. Peanut butter

Photo by Sydney Rae on Unsplash

Dogs love peanut butter, and peanut butter is healthy for them. It is a good source of protein, heart-healthy fats, niacin, Vitamin E and Vitamin B. Don’t, however, give your dog sugar-free peanut butter as it may contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute that is toxic for dogs. Raw, unsalted peanut butter is best.

2. Carrots 

Photo by Harshal S. Herve on Unsplash

When your doggy chews a carrot, he may also be removing plaque from his teeth. Carrots are high in fiber and help to prevent runny poo. Carrots are packed with nutrition good for both humans and dogs, including beta-carotene/Vitamin A. They provide a low-fat and low-calorie snack.

3. Pumpkin

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

You can give your dog canned or cooked pumpkin to help with digestive issues. Pumpkin is also a good source of beta carotene/Vitamin A and fiber.

4. Salmon

Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

Salmon is very healthy for both dogs and humans with protein, healthy fats like Omega 3s and amino acids. Salmon is good for the brain, joints, immune system and a healthy coat.

No sushi for the doggy! Raw salmon can have parasites that can make dogs sick and cause vomiting and diarrhea. Be sure to cook salmon thoroughly before giving it to your dog.

5. Some berries

Photo by Weak Lifter on Unsplash

Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are all berries that are healthy for dogs to eat. Strawberries have fiber and are high in Vitamin C. They also contain an enzyme that helps to whiten dogs’ teeth. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals. Blackberries are also full of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Try giving your doggy frozen berries as a snack.

6. Eggs

Photo by Natalie Rhea Riggs on Unsplash

Cooked eggs are healthy for dogs and have the benefits of protein, riboflavin and selenium.

7. Coconut

Photo by Jonas Ducker on Unsplash

Coconut has a number of benefits for dogs, including boosting the immune system and helping combat bad breath and skin conditions.

8. Green beans

Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash

Green beans are a good snack that are high in fiber but low in calories.

9. Yogurt 

Photo by Peter Hershey on Unsplash

Yogurt is good for protein and calcium and has probiotics that are good for your dog’s digestion. Plain yogurt without flavors or sweeteners is best.

10. Oatmeal

Photo by Carlos T on Unsplash

Oatmeal has vitamins and minerals and dietary fiber that is good for a dog with digestive issues.

11. Apples

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

People Foods Doggies Can’t Eat

  1. Chocolate

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

You may have heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, and that is right. Chocolate contains methylxanthines that are toxic for dogs. It can cause diarrhea and vomiting. A large amount can cause seizures and even death. Dark chocolate is especially harmful.

2. Garlic and Onions

Photo by Matthew Pilachowski

Onions and garlic can kill red blood cells and cause anemia.

3. Certain Nuts

Photo by NordWood on Unsplash

Macadamia nuts, walnuts and pecans are toxic for dogs. Macadamia nuts are especially toxic and can cause vomiting, lethargy, inability to walk and can affect a dog’s nervous system. Cashews and peanuts are safe and okay in moderation.

4. Almonds

Photo by Irina Kostenich on Unsplash

Almonds are not toxic to dogs like some other nuts are, but if your dog does not chew it properly, it can get lodged in the esophagus or tear the windpipe.

5. Grapes/Raisins

Photo by Bill Williams on Unsplash

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure for dogs and can cause vomiting and other symptoms even in small amounts.

6. Avocados

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Avocados have persin, a substance that might cause vomiting or diarrhea for your dog.

Now when you sit down to eat and your doggy looks at you with longing eyes, you will know what you can safely give him.

Photo by Lorca Wiles on Unsplash