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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










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


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



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




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.


Beautiful, blues-busting breed—

Behold! Best Buddy!

by Sue Storms


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


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


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


Hello all,

For quite a while, I’ve wanted to start a friendly contest for those who write pet-related literature and call it the “Petlitzer Prize” (kind of an all-companion-animal-focused Pulitzer Prize). I was recently a reader at the Dog Days of Stockholm in Stockholm, Wisconsin, and was very impressed by several of the pieces read by other authors there. In fact, I asked the evening’s emcee, Peter Hautman, to allow me to reproduce his charming poem “A Note from the Dog,” to get things started (posted below). For this first round, I will have entries be strictly pet-related poetry, but in the future, other forms of fiction and nonfiction will be the categories in turn—such as short stories, news articles, blogs, children’s lit, humor, bumper stickers phrases, etc.

Here are some basic ground rules for Petlitzer Prize entries in any or all categories:

1. You must be the author of the piece. Plagiarism is an absolute no no!

2. Entries should not have been previously published in book form (on your own blog is fine) as of the date you submitted it. Meaning that if you get it snatched up by Random House the week after you send it to me, you’re still qualified for this prestigious contest—and congratulations! 🙂

3. For Round 1, I must receive your entry by October 15, 2010. A winner will be chosen and posted by no later than Halloween. (In the future, there may be readers’ choice contests wherein readers may vote for their favorite pieces. For this first round, however, I will be the sole judge.)

4. Please be sure to have a second pair of eyes proofread your entries well. Grievous typos/grammar gaffs will most likely disqualify you.

5. You may only enter one piece in any given round, but you may enter a different single piece in every subsequent category throughout the year. New categories will be posted shortly after the after the deadline is reached.

6. Winners (First, Second and/or Honorable Mention, depending on the number and quality of submissions) will receive a certificate of achievement for their efforts and have their work posted on my blog, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc. If you have a website, please be sure to submit your URL to be directly linked from my blog in case you win.

7. Winners may also have their works (or excerpts from them) read live on Dr. Robert Forto’s very popular Blog Talk Radio show “The Dog Doctor.” (Air dates will be announced in advance.)

8. No pornography whatsoever will be allowed. Nor will pieces depicting gratuitous violence toward animals (except for the purpose of decrying such acts or as truly salient parts of a story’s plot). I have the final say as to whether entries will be accepted. People of all ages and walks of life may be seeing or hearing these, so the work must be acceptable for a general audience.

9. Send your submission in a Word doc or pasted directly into an email with Petlitzer Prize Entry in the subject line, along with your full name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and a short (sentence or two) bio about yourself if you wish, to me at <>. None of your contact information will be shared without your express permission. They’re only so I can notify you of who won the contest and/or to mail you your certificate.

Guidelines for Round 1—Pet-related Poetry:

You may submit any form of poem (rhyming, free verse, limerick, haiku, etc.) as long as it pertains to companion animals and/or the human-animal bond. Poems may be of humorous or serious nature. Please keep length to no more than two pages.

Tell all your animal-loving friends about this contest. I want to be flooded with wonderful submissions!—Sid

Here’s the inaugural Petlizer Prize submission:

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?

– Pete Hautman

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