August 18, 2010


Our dog Butch got super strong by dragging around
an anchor chain bolted to his all-weather doghouse.
Dad started out with one chain
and Butch snapped them by running full hilt
until his neck or the chain snapped.
Or he twisted the chain until it curled up in knots
and he couldn’t move.
As he snapped them, Dad sought heavier
and heavier chains until he got the anchor chain.

Butch would pace at the end of his long, heavy chain
like a lion in a Roman circus, or dig a hole in the dirt.
Even with that heavy chain on his collar,
he’d still jump from the ground up
on the pitched roof of his house,
whether you were there
or not to pet him or rub his nose,
so he could see the gas-man coming
and warn us until the danger cleared.

He was a watch dog, we’ll give you that.
And fearless, too, I’d say.
And when you walked past the end
of his chain’s reach he’d stretch out all he could
until his head was in the air
and he stood on his hind legs
pawing the air so you’d come nearer.
When you did, he’d lick your hand,
your face, and love you up.
The girls called him slobberpus.
When Butch leapt on Dad,
Pa pounded a few love taps
in his thick brown fur on his hairy jowls.
“Who’s a bum? Who’s a bum?”
He asked in all his kindness,
boxing mid-air paws balancing
with the dog that just wanted
a little love and attention.

- By Anthony Buccino
From Retrieving Labrador Days
Copyright © 2010 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.

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