Introducing Haiku by Dog: Poetry Created by Canines


Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of dog-parody poetry by Susan C. Willett of the blog Life With Dogs and Cats. We hope it’s also the beginning of a long relationship between Susan and Dogster.

Dogs are natural poets. Consider:

They express themselves eloquently. With just a few barks and a woof, they can tell you everything you wanted to know about that squirrel in the tree and what needs to be done about it.

They have an awesome sense of timing. They know the best moment to place muddy paw prints on your clean clothes.

They are souls brimming with emotion. They overflow with sadness when you walk out the door without them, and they jump for joy when you come back — even if you’ve only been gone for two minutes and 12 seconds to take out the trash.

Lilah, Tucker, and Jasper -- such emotion.
Lilah, Tucker, and Jasper — such emotion.

Why do dogs like haiku?

Based on a type of ancient Japanese verse, haiku in English is written in just three lines, with a pattern based on syllables: five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third and final line.

The challenge is to capture a feeling, a moment, a thought in those three short lines. Kind of like Twitter, only deeper.

The form is perfect for dogs, who, you have to admit, aren’t very good at rhyming and don’t have the patience for long-form free verse.

On with the haiku: Introducing Lilah

Lilah is one of three poet dogs, who live with four poet cats (see their work on our sister site Catster), who write haiku. Here are a few of her poems.

A rescued Border Collie mix, Lilah is a patient dog, except when it comes to dinnertime. Sometimes the humans are late with a meal, and they must be reminded of the importance of prompt service:


Lilah is a vigilant watchdog, keeping an eye on the birds and squirrels out of reach behind the evil glass barrier. Smooshing her snout against the window, she leaves a trail of nose prints.


Lilah is a firm believer in squeaker removal and takes this job quite seriously, though she stays silent on her exact technique.


Check back for more Haiku by Dog in the coming weeks, featuring Jasper, a rescued 70-pound Catahoula mix, and Tucker, a terrier whose main reason for existence is to play ball. Expect new poetry by dogs every other Tuesday. You also can read Haiku by Cat over on Catster.

If your dog could write haiku, what would it be? Go ahead, give it a shot in the comments.

About the author: Susan C. Willett is a writer, photographer, and blogger whose award-winning original stories, photography, poetry, and humor can be found at Life With Dogs and Cats. She lives in New Jersey with three dogs and four cats (all rescues) and at least a couple of humans — all of whom provide inspiration for her work. Refusing to take sides in the interweb’s dogs vs. cats debate, Susan enjoys observing the interspecies interaction among the varied inhabitants of her home — like living in a reality TV show, only furrier. In addition to Life With Dogs and Cats, you can find more Lilah, Jasper, and Tucker (and the rest of the gang) on Haiku by Dog™, Haiku by Cat™, and Dogs and Cats Texting.

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