Thursday, 10 December 2020

Buffy Silverman is preparing a platter of poetry delicacies for us today. Find all of the Poetry Friday links at her blog.

Happy Hanukkah, Poetry Friday friends.

Our family’s celebration is bittersweet this year. Although 2020 had its joyful moments, we also experienced several transformative losses during the pandemic.

Last week, we had to say goodbye to one of our dogs after an unexpected medical emergency.

Many of you knew our beagle, Rudy, through my Poetry Friday and Facebook posts about his adventures with Sam, our Schnauzer. (My poem “Yoga Dog” about Rudy was my most recent PF post.)

Rudy came to us as a very unhealthy senior in 2015. He got well, lost 20 pounds — 1/3 of his starting body weight! — and became inseparable from Sammy.

Last January, when Rudy suffered from an eye injury, I wrote a series of Facebook/Instagram posts about his treatment and recovery. I was surprised by how many people connected with our dog and cheered him on! It was as if dozens of people had raised their hands to be Rudy’s honorary aunties and uncles.

Although we are all heartbroken, the Festival of Lights is the perfect time to acknowledge how much light and joy this silly, stubborn dog with his outsized personality brought to our family.

I wrote a double Fibonacci poem about Rudy for my Reading Rockets post about the intersection between kids, literacy, and pets. This poem didn’t make it into the post (which you can read here), so I share it here today.

Rudy’s Fib
By Laura Shovan

have not
eaten lunch.
See how patiently
I sit by my empty bowl?
My dish still has crumbs?
They’re not mine,

clone tag: -7007307561917534005

Many thanks to Poetry Friday Margaret Simon, who posted a photo of me and Rudy in her “This Photo wants to Be a Poem” series. You’ll find that at Margaret’s blog, Reflections on the Teche.

I plan to write up the hilarious, truly outlandish story of how Rudy came to be part of our family. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, look for Chapter 1 soon.

If you have a dog, especially a larger breed or one with a deep chest, please learn the signs of GDV,  commonly known as bloat.


30 responses to “Poetry Friday: Rudy”

  1. says:

    Love your writings.

  2. Oh, that’s such a beagle plea in your poem, Laura (the dog that my kids grew up with was a beagle.) So sorry about the loss of your good dog Rudy. And thanks for highlighting bloat (when we rescued our current, deep-chested hound, the rescue-place warned us that his breed was prone to bloat and to use a slow-feeding dish.)

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thank you, Buffy. As a beagle person, you know how their brains light up in the quest for food! Now that we look back, we realize that Rudy’s barrel-chested form probably put him at risk for bloat.

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss, Laura. I would have liked to have known your pal, Rudy. (I would say my dog Smidgey would have as well, but she can be “plays with others challenged” at times…ahem) I love the fib in your Fib: “They’re not mine, promise.” Smidgey utters something similar, especially when cheese is involved. 😉

  4. Kathryn Apel says:

    I can only imagine how sad you must still be feeling. Of all the animals I have loved and lost over the years, it was our Jonty Puppy that broke me for the longest time. There is just something about the devotion of a dog. Rudy was loveable and loved! I feel your pain. xx

  5. Linda Mitchell says:

    The loss of a beloved pet is so, so, so hard. I’m sorry you lost Rudy. He was some comic relief in your posts and I loved seeing him. What a pal.

    My thirteen-year-old Border-Aussie is right here as I type. She’s been a close writing buddy as I read out loud or tap out syllables. And, truly she has raised the kids with me. She knows so many secrets. I can’t help but to think about how much I love her when I think about you remembering Rudy.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      He made us laugh when we needed it most, Linda. Hug that puppy for me! (Sam is also 13. We’re giving him so much TLC.)

  6. I relate to this poem so much because Charlie, my 13 year old constant companion, is either always hungry or losing his memory because we will give hime a treat and 5 seconds later, he’s scratching at the cabinet. I hope my post and the empathy of others comforts you. Happy Hanukkah!

  7. Liz says:

    Laura, I am so sad for you. Our pups and cats are dear members of the family and it is such a loss when they leave us. That is a sweet poem and a sweet big-eared picture. I look forward to chapter 1.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Liz. Looking back on it, I realize that we brought Rudy home at a time when our family was coping with a lot of difficult things. He was so funny — a true source of joy for us.

  8. Linda Baie says:

    I am so sorry for this sad time & saying goodbye to Rudy, Laura. You have made him a “star” in many of our eyes, so we cheered last week when his emergency seemed to be over, & were saddened to hear it was not. I love the poem, that sly “They’re not mine”! Hugs for you & the family!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Linda. It meant so much to us that people cheered Rudy on when he had his eye issue — and the outpouring of love for him these last few weeks.

  9. jama says:

    Sad to hear about Rudy — looking forward to reading more about him. Good to know he was such a lasting source of light and joy in your lives. Your poem is adorable. And what ears he had!! How could anyone not love him? 🙂

  10. Fran Haley says:

    Dear Laura,

    I saw Rudy’s photo (with you) on Margaret’s blog and loved it. I wanted to write to it and maybe I still will. I love dogs and write about them frequently, Today I wrote a lighthearted one today about my son’ s little dachshund, Dennis … but here is what I think: Dogs are sent by God to remind us of unconditional love. Those loving eyes… not merely soulful, but having souls. It is what I know; I trust it. I love a good dog, and I’ve mourned several. My heart aches for the loss of Rudy and for you – I celebrate his life and the light he brought when it was most needed. Hanukkah blessings to you and yours.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Fran. What a kind note. I agree with you about unconditional love. Thank you for the Hanukkah wishes and same to you.

  11. As I said in another reply, I am sorry for your loss. The photos of Rudy are endearing and I know from your writing that he was so special to your family, a real member. I read through your response son Margaret’s post. (Thank you for your reply to my reply.) I also read your article and really like your personal touch and the addition of tips for teachers and students. I also found it interesting that your dogs have appeared in your novels. Enjoy the Festival of Light with your family.

  12. There’s such love between you and Rudy in your photo, and what a joy you were to each other, this all carries through in your poem. Sending more hugs to you.

  13. I’m so sorry about Rudy, Laura. We lost our beagle, Lucy, two years ago and I still miss her. Like Rudy, she was always ready for a meal. Hugs to you.

  14. Ruth says:

    I’m so sorry, Laura! Thank you for sharing him with us!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      It makes me smile to think of how many people became fans of Rudy last January, when he had his eye troubles. Thanks, Ruth.

  15. So sad about your dog. Your fibonacci was a wonderful tribute. He’d like it, I think.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Janice. He tricked us so many times!! Without his advocate around, Sam almost missed a meal yesterday. He is too polite for his own good, whereas Rudy would have very loudly made it clear that it was dinner time.

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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