Written by Poetry

NaPoWriMo Day 29: The Brotherhood of Mutts

A poem about my too trail dogs — Tank and Murphy — and how they have become trained trail bosses, pack members, and unexpected bothers.

NaPoWriMo Day 29 - The Brotherhood of Mutts

Todays’s NaPoWriMo prompt asks me to write a paean to the stalwart hero of your household: my pet(s).

I wrote a poem about my too trail dogs — Tank and Murphy — and how they have become trained trail bosses, pack members, and unexpected bothers.

The Brotherhood of Mutts

Tank was the puppy.
A mutt through and through.
His father was a Bulldog.
His mother?
A mixed Border Collie and Chihuahua.
Mostly white with a few black spots.
And that underbite.
You could catch that underbite on a corndog.
About knee-high but surprisingly tough.
Tank’s not the puppy anymore.
Now he’s the big brother.
A big brother that helps keep Murphy in line on the trail.

Murphy is the puppy now.
A tiny pup of a black lab mother.
But then he grew.
And grew.
Then grew some more!
We sensed a giant breed slept within his bones.
We were right!
When his mix was revealed it made total sense.
Rottweiler and Mountain Cur.
Two of the biggest monsters of the dog world.
Then you add the wit of a Black Lab.
What a combo!
The sharp lab brain combined with raw muscle.
Smart and strong.
Yet, still a puppy.
Still a little brother despite his size.
He could outrun Tank in a heartbeat.
But can’t go anywhere without him on the trail.

Tank used to be at the bottom of the food chain.
Now Murphy is low man.
Murphy wants to be in charge but dog rules are in effect.
Tank runs the show.
Tank is the trail boss.
He knows how far he can go and when to come back to me.
Like a little general he maintains the march.
Murphy, however, has no idea what far is.
The world is huge and exciting to his puppy eyes.
He could sprint off into the distance in a flash.
At full speed, I would never catch him.
But he will not leave Tank’s side on the trail.

Why does Murphy bow to Tank?
Murphy is three times Tank’s size.
Yet, he respects Tank’s authority to a fault.
Dog rules versus all that excitement in this new world?
Something in Murphy’s head tells him to stay close.
Because despite Tank’s size, Tank is the big brother.
It probably comes from Tank’s Bulldog father.
Maybe Tank’s Border Collie mother gives him command authority.
Always herding Murphy back to me on the trail.
Experience and age has a rank.
Still, Murphy’s Mountain Cur side wants to hunt.
The Rottweiler side wants to defend.
Those are his father’s traits in conflict — run or stay.
Murphy’s mother splits the difference.
The Black Lab breaks the tie.
And a place withing Murphy tells him to never leave Tank on the trail.

Looking at them, you would never know they were brothers.
Different breeds, different parents, different sizes.
Yet, they are brothers none the less.
Adopted by a family, now part of their own pack.
They are my rucking trail buddies now.
Old enough to mind and still young enough to go miles.
Going up and back, up and back, up and back.
Never leaving each other’s sides.
It is a brotherhood that keeps them close and safe.
It is also a match-up that no predator would cross.
One big dog – all black.
You’ll never see him coming until it’s too late.
One little dog – mostly white.
He will hear or smell you coming from a mile away.
They are the best of friends on good days.
And fight as brothers on-off ones.
Together, the could pull a sled through the Yukon.
Constantly looking forward to getting me off the couch.
They are the bothers that get me back to rucking on the trail.