16 Poems Every Dog Lover Needs to Read

Whether you own a dog, aspire to one day, or simply admire the ones you see, there’s no denying the cheer that the furry creatures bring.

As man’s best friend, it’s only fitting that authors around the world have captured the delight of dogs in writing. Not only are there short stories and novels that incorporate dogs as key components, but there are also many great best dog poems. Poets illuminate the loyalty, spirit, and happiness of dogs in a variety of ways, but they also touch on grief tied to losing a dog companion.

For all of the dog lovers out there, here are 18 great dog poems that capture the spirit of these great animals.
“Waiting for Happiness” by Nomi Stone
Dog knows when friend will come home
because each hour friend’s smell pales,
air paring down the good smell
with its little diamond. It means I miss you
O I miss you, how hard it is to wait
for my happiness, and how good when
it arrives. Here we are in our bodies,
ripe as avocados, softer, brightening
with latencies like a hot, blue core
of electricity: our ankles knotted to our
calves by a thread, womb sparking
with watermelon seeds we swallowed
as children, the heart again badly hurt, trying
and failing. But it is almost five says
the dog. It is almost five.
“A Dog is A Dog” by T.S. Eliot
Now dogs pretend they like to fight;
They often bark, more seldom bite;
But yet a Dog is, on the whole,
What you would call a simple soul.
Of course I’m not including Pekes,
And such fantastic canine freaks.
The usual Dog about the Town
Is much inclined to play the clown
And far from showing too much pride
Is frequently undignified.
He’s very easily taken in-
Just chuck him underneath the chin
Or slap his back or shake his paw,
And he will gambol and guffaw.
He’s such an easy-going lout,
He’ll answer any hail or shout.

Again I must remind you that
A Dog’s a Dog – A CAT’S A CAT.
“Love Dogs” by Mevlana Jelal’uddin Rumi
Coleman Barks reads “Love Dogs” by Mevlana Jelal’uddin Rumi.
‘I’ll Never Forget a Dog Named Beau’ by Jimmy Stewart
He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn’t come at all.
When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.
Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.
He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.
He bit lots of folks from day to day.
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.
He set the house on fire
But the story’s long to tell.
Suffice it to say that he survived

Read the full poem HERE.
“A little Dog that wags his tail” by Emily Dickinson
A little Dog that wags his tail
And knows no other joy
Of such a little Dog am I
Reminded by a Boy

Who gambols all the living Day
Without an earthly cause
Because he is a little Boy
I honestly suppose —

The Cat that in the Corner dwells
Her martial Day forgot
The Mouse but a Tradition now
Of her desire less Lot

Another class remind me
Who neither please nor play
But not to make a “bit of noise”
Beseech each little Boy —
“The New Dog” by Linda Pastan

Into the gravity of my life,
the serious ceremonies
of polish and paper
and pen, has come

this manic animal
whose innocent disruptions
make nonsense
of my old simplicities-

as if I needed him
to prove again that after
all the careful planning,
anything can happen.

“Dog” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Listen to the rendition of this poem by A Poetry Channel.

“Golden Retriever” by Alan Thomas
The love in your eyes
Shows your gentle happy soul
Until the squirrel.
“The Power of the Dog” by Rudyard Kiplin
The poem begins:

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Read the rest of the poem by clicking this link.
Two poems about what dogs think (probably) by Billy Collins
Listen to Billy perform his poems in this TED Talk.
“A Dog Has Died” by Paobla Neruda
This heartwrenching poem starts:

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship

Read the full poem HERE.

Epitaph to a Dog by Lord Byron

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

Continue reading HERE.
“The Shepherd’s Dog” by Mary Darby Robinson
A Shepherd’s Dog there was; and he
Was faithful to his master’s will,
For well he lov’d his company,
Along the plain or up the hill;
All Seasons were, to him, the same
Beneath the Sun’s meridian flame;
Or, when the wintry wind blew shrill and keen,
Still the Old Shepherd’s Dog, was with his Master seen.

Click HERE for the full poem.
“Abandoned Dog” by Robert William Service
They dumped it on the lonely road,
Then like a streak they sped;
And as along the way I strode
I thought that it was dead:
And then I saw that yelping pup
Rise, race to catch them up.

You know how silly wee dogs are.
It thought they were in fun.
Trying to overtake their car
I saw it run and run:
But as they faster, faster went,
It stumbled, sore and spent.

Click to continue reading.
“Happy Dog” by Flying Lemming
I’m a happy dog at the beach
If I had the power of speech
I would tell you all
To throw my ball
I’m a happy dog at the beach

I’m a happy dog at the beach
There are no new tricks you can teach
I’m bouncy and glad
And my tail wags like mad
I’m a happy dog at the beach

Read the rest of the poem.

“A Dog’s Soul” by Unknown
Every dog must have a soul
Somewhere deep inside
Where all his hurts and grievances
Are buried with his pride.
Where he decides the good and bad,
The wrong way from the right,
And where his judgment carefully
Is hidden from our sight.

Click HERE to continue reading.

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