Well, I did it. The choices hurt so much to make that I nearly required medical assistance to withstand the pain! I was thrilled beyond measure with all the terrific submissions for this first-ever Petlitzer Prize contest and sincerely thank all those who submitted.

I should be downright ticked at these authors for making me go through the agony of having to pick just a few winners. Oh, crud. Did I type that out loud?

Congratulations to you all for your wonderfully creative endeavors in general and to those whose poems beckoned to receive additional recognition.

Next time, I’m assembling a whole panel of judges to help me bear the weight of these decisions.

I’ll include the names and poems of all those who received certificates of award here. Those and all the other fine submissions will be posted on the Petlitzer Prize link page, listed above. The top three poems will be forwarded to Dr. Robert Forto, host of “The Dog Doctor” blog talk radio show to be read during his upcoming broadcasts. I’ll post the date/time information and link here and on my Good Grief Pet Loss Facebook page when I have them.

Thank you all again!—Sid

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FIRST PLACE AWARD: LISA SELLMAN OF BROOKLYN CENTER, MN, FOR “DIVINE CANINE”

SECOND PLACE AWARD: PETER HAUTMAN OF STOCKHOLM, WI, FOR “NOTE FROM THE DOG”

THIRD PLACE AWARD: FRAN MENGAZIOL-ADAMS OF KNOXVILLE, TN, FOR “KATRINA ANIMALS LOST”

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

SUE STORMS OF EDEN PRAIRIE, MN, FOR “BOOKER”

AMY ROSENTHAL OF MINNEAPOLIS, MN, FOR “LOSING JAKE”

ANNETTE M. LARSON OF RUTLAND, VT, FOR “TELLING TIME”

JANICE BINIOK OF WAUKESHA, WI, FOR “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL CANINES”

And now, the poems themselves…

Divine Canine

My dog has issues that need to disappear

She is naughty, defiant and cavalier.

I have taken her to trainers and behaviorists, galore.

She will listen for a day or two but sadly no more.

I am frustrated and my mood is always black.

I am tired and the breeder won’t take her back.

With screams of anger, I yelled at the ceiling,

“Why is my life so hard?  I hate this feeling!”

Just then a soft muzzle licked at my hand,

She was the teacher and I listened for her command.

Embody the essence you seek in me

And we shall live in harmony.

When I am afraid be present and strong.

Loose your sense of right and wrong.

As I jump up on you and scratch your arm,

Give love to everyone and wish me no harm.

When I am distracted and hard to reach,

Caress me gently with hands that teach.

I am your dog but I will lead the way.

I will teach you peace without delay.

Breathe and let your troubles disappear,

Resistance may come, but we shall persevere.

All the answers of the universe are near,

All we have to do is choose love and not fear.

I knew my dog was special you see,

For she laid back down and winked at me.

Our future is glorious, for this woman and her canine.

Inner peace and stillness is now mine.

by Lisa Sellman, Top Dog ~ Aloha Pet Care & Dog Training

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A Note From the Dog

When the freezer died
And the meat had to be eaten quickly
I was happy.

When you lost your job
And stayed home all day
I was overjoyed.

When you had your cardiac event
And the doctor told you to go for a walk every single day
I was ecstatic.

How would you live without me?

by Pete Hautman

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Katrina

Animals Lost

With all the tales lost

Among the rubble.

Broken trees scattered,

Covering the barks,

Pieces and odors of our

Hardest decisions.

The purrs and last licks,

Were received as final

Choices were made.

Too-familiar smells,

Little noses and paws,

Poking through to us all.

Those tender eyes

Can hold much more

Than the deepest flood.

For within them is the comfort,

The purest kind of love.

For those sweet beauties left,

Wagging, wandering and waiting.

For the moans and the cries

That are no more.

For those who are not found.

If you listen to the silence,

Pure as the day,

A mound of huddled tears,

A mass of hearts that say,

Their prints,

Will never, ever, ever

Wash away.

by Fran Mengaziol-Adams

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Booker:

Booker

Beloved, bagpiping boy—

Barky boss begging biscuits, but bestowing bliss

Bearded, bewitching bachelor bursting babes’ bubbles.

Brainy, brave burglar burying bones below boulevards.

Bouncy bronco blindly bulldozing blizzards.

Booker:

Beautiful, blues-busting breed—

Behold! Best Buddy!

by Sue Storms

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Losing Jake

There’s a hole in my heart where a dog used to be.

He’s nuzzled my soul and is now part of me.

His pain is his life and I know what to do.

But when I release him, I’m losing me, too.

The puppy I cradled three short years ago

is a ninety pound bundle of love, and I know

that he’d lick away all of my tears if he could.

It’s his sense of duty to make me feel good.

It’s my obligation to do what is best.

The love of his “master” is put to the test.

It’s a wrenching and sorrowful way that we part;

it doesn’t hurt less when the head rules the heart.

There’s a hole in my heart where my Jake has passed through.

When we say goodbye part of me will go, too.

by Amy Rosenthal

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Telling Time

My old, cold cat

Follows the sun from room to room,
Even on cloudy days.

She is my clock.

by Annette M. Larson

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For the Love of All Canines

Whether fluffy, sleek,

or hairless skin,

Or blocky build

or cattail thin

Whether striped, spotted,

or large or small,

How can we not

love them all?

Whether bug-eyed, pea-eyed,

blue-eyed or brown,

Or flop-eared, prick-eared,

or folded down,

Whether coarse or curly,

or silky fall,

How can we not

love them all?

Whether spirited

or calm as night,

Or sweetly shy

or strong of might

Whether work or leisure

is their call,

How can we not

love them all?

For with their differences

put aside,

The same canine heart

beats inside

So faithful that

we must recall

We cannot fail

to love them all

by Janice Biniok

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