Fortune’s Talker

in memory of Roscoe, a black Labrador
By Stephen Kuusisto, September 2010, Updated February 2015

Some are born to talk and that’s a story,
And some know what to do with the gift
And that’s a different story—Roscoe
Born at the guide dog school,
But too sensitive for traffic,
Roscoe was a sweet talker.
All dogs “talk” but few have nuance:
Roscoe knew. Oh he knew
When you felt rich inside
So he had a word or two for that;
And even yesterday, lame and tired in wet grass
He had encouraging things to say
To our neighbor’s dog who is young and fast.
We should all have things to share
In praise of animal faith
And with some of Roscoe’s luck
May we be wise enough
To find our better calling:
Joy.

Stephen Kuusisto teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Iowa. He is the author of Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of Planet of the Blind, a New York Times Notable Book and Don't Interrupt: A Playful Take on the Art of Conversation. His latest book, Have Dog, Will Travel, was published in 2018.