Sadly, I'll be unable to attend this ever-popular event because of a prior engagement but, since I have no shortage of dog-poems in my archive, I've decided to feature some here over the next few days.
Let's start with Ghost Dogs, written one sleepless night some years ago.
The Rex referred to in the poem was a large black cross-breed that lived at the end of our narrow lane. He was a highly-strung fellow given to hurling himself at the gate when I passed by with my own dogs.
No matter how often he did this, the rascal never failed to catch me unawares.
I nicknamed him Nervous Rex because I believe it was fear rather than hostility that caused him to behave this way.
The poem, written some months after he died, is a testament to all the dogs I've encountered over the years.
Wind crashes the gate and brings to mind
Rex jumping up, black and sudden:
his frantic bark, scrabbling paws,
rips evening tranquility apart,
but tonight it is only
wind conjuring ghosts:
first Rex, fiercely unfriendly,
then, as though unleashed,
a host of other vanished dogs.
Now they run through my mind
as I trudge homeward.
an absence to be grieved for.
Every one remembered.
During Dog Days week I'll be donating 10% of online book sales to Guernsey's local animal support organisation, the GSPCA