Angry Red Dog Rug by Bascom Hogue
by John Updike
She must have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car.
Too young to know much, she was beginning to learnTo use the newspapers spread on the kitchen floorAnd to win, wetting there, the words, "Good dog!Good dog!"
We thought her shy malaise was a shot reaction.
The autopsy disclosed a rupture in her liver.As we teased her with play, blood was filling her skinAnd her heart was learning to lie down forever.
Monday morning, as the children were noisily fed
And sent to school, she crawled beneath the youngest's bed.We found her twisted and limp but still alive.In the car to the vet's, on my lap, she tried
To bite my hand and died. I stroked her warm fur
And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears.Though surrounded by love that would have upheld her,Nevertheless she sank and, stiffening, disappeared.
Back home, we found that in the night her frame,
Drawing near to dissolution, had endured the shameOf diarrhoea and had dragged across the floorTo a newspaper carelessly left there. Good dog.