This site is no longer being updated. Read more on pet behavior and wellness at The Wildest.


By Nancy E Allen, July 2020, Updated June 2021
common mix dog

The rescue people guess he’s a mix
of feist and mountain cur, a common

stray in this area. That first night,
before we thought to move his crate

to our bedroom so he could sense us near,
breathing, it was in a distant room

where first he whimpered and then from deep
in his belly began to howl and howl,

barely a breath between, the same mournful
music of bagpipes at a funeral.

He was calling his pack, calling them
to him, so alone. I imagine him

howling in dark mountain ravines, curled
in blown leaves for a bed, chasing rabbits

at dawn, his ribs sharply protruding,
hungry all the time. Beside my desk

while I write, he curls in his smallest shape,
lets out long sighs, gets up and follows me

when I move. This one won’t get away.

Photo: Nancy E Allen

Nancy E Allen is a poet and dog lover living in the Appalachian Mountains. Her poetry has been published in a number of journals, including Gargoyle, Tar River Poetry and the Sow’s Ear Review.