The day the dog turned was written by the very talented Dan Adey in the old days of the BBC Get Writing site.
It remains one of the most profound and memorable poems I have ever read.
In the morning I wormed him.
I braised a fresh lamb’s liver and
left it to cool in his red, plastic dish.
It sat there stiff, a purple, bruised fist.
He dribbled, drooled and slavered. Scoffed
and munched his fleshy brunch. I took a cloth,
and wiped the slobber from his chops.
Every last crystal from his vast, meaty mush.
I grasped a brush and slowly caressed
the white flash of fur on his muscular chest,
pinched the flesh on the nape of his
neck. Softly stroked him to a tranquil rest.
And he slumped into a grunting slumber.
Dreaming of the litter, he lay twitching, whining.
Pining for the sour milk of his Mother; The stocky
brindle bitch, kennel club registered, papers, legit.
We had watched him with his siblings, wobbling.
Drunk little runt in the council-flat kitchen.
We ooohed, ahhhhed and coooed. Picked him
and paid for him. Named him and loved him.
Trained him and fed him. Walked, talked and
played with him; Jostle, tussle, rumble, scrap.
Fight, bite. Snarl, ruck, scratch. Boisterous
little bruiser. Our Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
When, he woke, I walked him. We trudged,
stumbled and ponderously ambled up the
muddy splodged slope of a trilby-hat hill.
The air dead-still. I threw a stick or two.
We hiked past a bow-legged pylon,
spinning fuzzed gossip from bobbins of
nylon gauze, spitting and sizzling, frazzled
in the drizzle. A spitting ripple of applause.
We kept on keeping on, one mile became
two became three. Past claustrophobic
solitary trees. Knees sore, hamstrings taut,
we split a pork-pie that I had brought.
We walked and walked. Took a long-cut
through a granite-grey brook. Wet yet happy,
we mistook a right turn for a left, drenched,
my jeans cleft-lipped on a barbed-wire fence.
I Spun a ten-pence-piece to determine our
direction. He called heads. Heads was left.
Left was right. My recollection of our path was
his smudged autograph of paws in the mud.
Good boy….good boy, good. We upped the pace.
I could taste ale in a homely pub, warm grub,
a fire place. Somewhere to sit, catch my breath,
Pour gravy on my wind-slapped face and rest.
We caught sight of our parked car, the clouds
menacingly laughed. The sky cleared It’s throat,
phlem dripped from black lungs onto my coat.
The birds sung ‘all will be rain, rain and dark’.
By the muddy exit of the country-park we saw
a couple walking, talking and chatting, patting
their Border-collie. Throwing a blue ball, fetch and
retrieve. Agile little fella, run, bob and weave.
I looked at my mutt, his hackles spiked high.
His eyes cold enamel, carnal and sinful,
a wild animal. He froze, he posed brawn,
squat thighs, hot liver on his thorned teeth.
He pounced. The collie dropped her ball, it
bounced. He ripped at her throat, her coat flayed
fur and fluff, blood on his snout, he flung her
about. His jaw like a mangle. A mis-match.
I found a good angle and drove a muddy welly into
his face. Smashed his huge skull, cut his eye.
I held his throat, his locked-jaw limp. I wanted
him to die. The collie gargled a deep, bloody cry.
By the body of the ravaged hound he panted,
red flesh proud on his tongue. My domesticated
savage. Family pet. Vicious bastard, little beast.
Licking the flesh from his razor-sharp teeth.
No remorse. Gooey gore dripped from his paws.
The couple carried the limp collie, blurting and
blubbing, sobbing and wailing. My apology failing
to forge a meaning in the smithy of the moment.
No idea of the pain that he had caused. I flung
the creaking doors shut. He sat blissfully unaware, on
the car’s back chair. The Godfathers kiss on his
bulging head. In a day or two, he would be dead.