Stories and Poems by Walt Zientek

Writer Walt Zientek shares a story and poem inspired by his dogs. Take heed: Walt's work has been known to cause more than one dog lover to cry!

We're pleased to feature two works by writer Walt Zientek, whose dog stories and poems have been widely published: ...Carry You and Touching Mediocrity. You can read more of Walt's work in the book Labrador Tales, which is available at bookstores and through LABMED, an internet-based Labrador Retriever rescue organization dedicated to funding medical care for rescued Labs. Pictured are two of Walt's biggest fans: French Bulldog Gibson and Yellow Lab Caleb

by Walt Zientek

When I brought you home, I carried you.
I held you close and made a promise that day.
As I breathed in that sweet, soft, clean smell,
I promised to carry you, and keep you safe and well.
I laughed and spoke so quietly to you
I taught you your name. You showed me your heart
And I showed you mine, as I carried you that day.

When I take you home, I'll carry you.
I'll hold you close, as I promised that day.
I'll breathe in that old familiar smell,
and keep my promise to keep you safe and well.
I'll cry as I speak so quietly to you.
I'll say your name. You'llshow me your heart.
And I will lose mine, when I carry you, that day.

For Dian, Carol, Sue, and Jim...

by Walt Zientek

She sat at one end of the sofa and placed her hand on the hip of the old sleeping dog. She smiled as she remembered the first Show they'd entered in. She recalled how the nicer folks there commented on her good points as well as gently pointing out her faults. She also recalled how other, not as nice folks, made a face and moved away.

He lightly stroked the dark yellow fur as she remembered how her hopes were never met in the Ring. The dog was fixed and took the role of pet to heart. She'd always be a mediocre Show Dog. That really didn't matter anymore.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

His right hand lifted the steaming coffee to his lips as his left draped over the brown dog's back. The frosted Autumn morning was silent, still and young. He talked quietly to the big brown dog as they waited together in that old blind. He talked of things he'd never way with other folks around.

The big dog listened well to every word. He knew the ducks were not around that day and really didn't care. He wasn't eager to swim the icy pond or fight a crippled bid, but of course he would. If his master's aim should magically turn true, he'd do the job. For him.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

She knelt down and lightly squeezed the black cheeks between her palms. She wondered if this goofy boy would ever understand the exercise. She shook her head and laughed as he just seemed to grin and hang his tongue.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The man stood silently beneath the big tree. His eyes were locked upon the marker on the ground. His mind raced through memories. He allowed his heart to speak, to cry and mourn. He placed his hand upon the stone and held it there a long, long time.

He felt a cold nose touch his arm, a wet tongue against his skin. The gangly pup nudged and pressed his head against the man. The man hugged the pup and held him closely for a little while, before they turned and walked away.

Copyright © 1998 by Walt Zietek.

Walt Zientek is a special education teacher in an urban high school. He resides in Connecticut with his wife Wendy, daughters Cory and Jamie, Yellow Lab Caleb, and French Bulldog Gibson. Walt's works have appeared in lab-related publications on three continents and in the book, Labrador Tales. His goal has always been to find emotion hidden in the ordinary.

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