Happy National Puppy Day

Posted March 23, 2017 & filed under Notebook, WITS People.

On the occasion of National Puppy Day, we thought we’d republish a letter from our Executive Director, Robin Reagler, celebrating all that we love and learn from our pets. It was originally published in the WITS newsletter, A New Leaf, in 2001.

My dog Jake is not a great writer, and yet he has managed to teach me a few important things about how to live my life.

Jake is a foundling. I found him in June on a Sunday afternoon. People were playing baseball in the park. He’d been hit by a car and was limping. He followed me for miles. Maybe I am the foundling. He did find me, in a sense. I was chosen.

That week I was sitting in a 3rd grade classroom in our summer camp. They were sharing news of the day and practicing description. I described (poorly, so as to receive some student assistance) my new puppy.

The next day I received a note from a student in that group, Chelsea, who wrote, “Dear Ms. Robin, Take good care of your puppy.” I have tried my utmost.

As a steadfast puppy observer (severely biased by parenthood) I have abstracted a few wisdoms that I suspect to be the guiding principles of Jake. But first, let me provide a few vital statistics:

Name: Jake

Memorable features: polka dot eyebrows, floppy right ear flops, missing the right hind leg

Age: almost 3

Likes: peanut butter, bones, people food, treats, running like wind, swimming in the bayou, assisting in household chores as the sous chef in the kitchen, jr. gardener in the yard, laundry boy, etc.

Dislikes: taking a bath, his sister Moriah the cat

Nicknames by loved ones: Jacob, J-Chamber, Glow dog, Poco, Poky, Pokemon, Jakomon

Nicknames by strangers: Tripod, Troika, Lucky, Hopalong

And now, Life according to Jake:

  • If you don’t know what something is, smell it. If you still aren’t sure, taste it.
  • When you want something, but someone else has it, ask for it. If that doesn’t work, beg. If THAT doesn’t work, do some tricks.
  • When someone makes you nervous, keep moving. When you have a good feeling about someone, strike up a friendly conversation. If they ignore you, keep moving.
  • Every decision is an everyday decision. If you make a mistake, keep moving.
  • If your people are sick, give them a kiss and stick close by for a while.
  • Joy is everywhere. It is not hiding. It is ours for the taking.

So by the grace of a dog, I keep my eyes and ears open. I try to pay attention to the wonders on either side of my path. The classroom is everywhere.

All my best,

Robin

My Friend’s Puppy

Posted June 7, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

 

Scout is golden like my hair

She has a brother that is black like the night

She likes to sleep upside down on her back

When she’s awake, she runs around and sniffs people

She has a ridge that looks like a mohawk on her back

If you leave your shoes out, she will grab them and run away

It’s hard to catch her because she is so  fast

I like to hold her leash when she goes on a walk

and pet her on her head.

By Tatjana, 2nd grade

Speak

Posted August 12, 2010 & filed under Notebook.

 

Once I spoke the language of dogs.
Once I understood their happy barks.
Once I smiled a dog’s smile.
Once I heard a high-pitched sound.
Once I spoke the language of dogs.
How did it go?
How did it go?

By Andrew, 2nd grade
[photo by nybird via flickr]

I Walk Alone

Posted April 16, 2008 & filed under Poem of the Day.

Wynton’s eyes see the night in a whole different dawn,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.
Listening to the music that takes his mind away,
Not into the night, but a whole new day.

Ignoring the world that continues to die,
Sad-hearted people harmoniously cry,
But not Wynton Macklin in a world all his own,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.

X-girlfriend’s shoulder colder than an igloo.
His best friend is dating who?
It won’t matter to Wynton unless it’s lyrics to a song,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.

As the world falls apart, Wynton is left alone.
Keep calling but reality won’t answer the phone.
So Wynton stays proud as he grows alone,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.

man_dog_boardwalk.jpg
By Wynton, age 14

(originally posted on July 16, 2007)

Ode To My Dogs

Posted October 4, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

My dogs bark and bark as if they see a ghost, but actually I feel joy once I open the door.

I feel love once I touch my dogs. I am sure they do too.

It seems scary things and evil is being pulled away when I am face to face with my shining dogs. Shining like stars in the night sky and the light the sun gives us, my dogs run toward me. When they get hurt I feel my heart bri-said-sit.jpgeak….

I will always love my shield dogs.

Evil is too weak to take my love away.

by Jeong, 3rd grade
Condit Elementary