Roy Herndon Smith

We rescued five pups
from a cardboard box lying
in a field beside
a two-lane black-top.
Three we quickly found homes for.
We decided not
to take the last two
to the shelter, but to keep
them until we could
find homes for them too.
We had two small children and
two indoor cats, so
we put the pups in
the garage. We named one, Snaps,
the other, Zipper.
When they got too big
for the garage, we put them
in a fenced-in part
of the yard, next to
the house. When we moved, we bought
a house with a big
fenced-in back yard with
plenty of room for them, but
Snaps climbed the fence and
got out. So we put
a long chain on him, but found
him a day later
hanging off the top
of the fence, the chain strangling
him. To keep him safe,
we built a high fence
around a part of the yard
right beside the house
and put them in it,
with a dog house. We gave them
water and food, cleaned
the pen, rubbed their heads,
talked to them, and took them to
the vet—we loved them.
Almost a decade
later, Zipper got sick, and
we put her to sleep.
A year later, we
moved to another city,
to an apartment
with no yard, no dogs.
We made arrangements for Snaps
to be fed, watered,
and taken care of.
A few months later, we learned
he had been put down.

Almost twenty years
have passed; each day now, I think
of them out, alone
most of the time, in
the cold, snow, rain, sun, and heat,
of Snaps abandoned
with no one he knew
at the end. I realize
we never found or
made a home for them.
We put them out in boxes
by sides of houses.