This poem is to remind everyone to give your animals plenty of love for Valentine's Day and every day. While 24/7 dog-chaining is legal in Franklin County as long as there's a shelter, food and water, that doesn't make it kind. An entire life relegated to the dog house isn't the same as belonging to a family; being petted, played with and loved. Dogs have feelings too! When we teach young children to be kind to animals, this prepares them for more advanced lessons on being kind to other people.
Out in the county you see me sit,
Day upon night, night upon day;
Driving by, you say, "That's the pits!"
"How could they leave you chained that way?"
On their daily errands, the neighbors wave,
"God help you, Dog!" they often pray;
But sometimes, as they cannot save
Me, they daydream and turn away.
Dogs in the Capital are protected,
A short walk from my lonely yard,
Across that ever-roaring Interstate,
The law makes their lives less hard.
Out in the county, every day
And night you'll see dogs chained like me;
It's legal to ruin dogs' lives this way,
And neighbors can't help, though they see.
About me wind and weather swirl,
The colors of each season pass;
I try to romp, and roll, and twirl,
Dragging the chain through muddy grass.
In their crystalline distress,
Ice-whipped branches groan and sway,
I'm Nature's dog; To Earth I press,
Even Nature is not my friend today.
Into her heart an icy shard,
Flies in the morning to her from me;
She shares my sorrow cold and hard,
Never to thaw until I'm free;
For wherever she goes and whatever she does,
That ice in her heart stands chained with me.
Stand with me, I say, while my bright eyes shine,
Shivering, reckless and bold!
Come, be my icy Valentine
Come share my Earth so cold;
We could frolic together under my Sky,
Anytime, my schedule is open;
The love of a chained dog is a worthy
Love, so my whole life long I'll keep hoping.
What ails you, my man, indoors and warm,
That you've forgotten your "best friend"?
Left scrabbling my claws atop frozen turf,
Through days and nights with no end?
You say a big dog's not your choice
Of pet; no more that tiny pup?
Another family would rejoice
To have me, if you'll give me up.
Eager and strong, with much to give
A loving owner, I want to live,
Free of this chain, allowed to roam,
And sniff, and come inside your home;
To chase your cat, and sleep on your floor,
And lick your face, and guard your door.
Drive by to visit me,
Pray for me, wave,
Wishing that you could do more;
Or make laws to protect Kentucky's Dogs,
That's what our poem's been written for!
A dog's life is short; make it worthwhile;
Bring him in off that chain and make him smile;
Your neighbors will sleep better when you do,
And so will your family, your dog, and you.
(This poem was originally submitted to the State Journal in Feb. 2011, so this is its first resubmission.)