Bernard the Lab

Snow white snout betrays no smile
Eyes that trust, might take a while
Slow to rise, he spots the treat
He isn't steady on his feet...
Head down low, he makes his way
Closer, closer, I smooth the gray
Upon his face and he looks up
I picture him as a little pup.
He lets me pet him on the head
Then wanders back to his twirled-up bed
Curls into a little ball
To close his eyes, and forget it all

The next day I went back again
Determined to make this dog my friend
I had stopped to buy a special treat
His eyes lit up at the sight of MEAT
Once again he was slow to rise
But I saw a little more trust in his eyes
His tail thumped twice, then one big heave
Brought him within an inch of me
This time he let me rub his side
I named him 'Bernard', and then I cried.

By day three, he was more than a friend
I could hardly wait to see him again.
The new copper glint, in his old cloudy eyes
Gave serious doubt to his earthly demise.
When he held me in his steady gaze
I finally got it! "This dog plays"!
His puppy-paws were put back on
As we sprinted toward the patch-work lawn
I searched around and found a stick
He brought it back! "Bernard knows tricks"!

For almost a month we played this game
His smile returned, he wasn't as lame
His spirit was back, he trusted again
His tail went crazy, when he saw his 'friend'.
His winter years weren't spent by a fire
Where dignified dogs curl-up and retire.
They weren't spent in a cozy home
Lavished with love, and his own special bone
Bernard's winter years, were spent behind bars
Snatching at moments, and healing up scars.

My month-long friendship with Bernard the Lab
Ended one bleak winter day
I snatched our stick from where I'd stashed it
But no Bernard came out to play.
No white snout was there to greet me
No more glint from trusting eyes
No more thumps of wagging friendship
They needed space; he was euthanized..

About this poem

Volunteers at shelters often encounter situations that can only be explained as cruel. Bernard was dumped off at a local shelter after he was too old to care for.

Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted by lovingempath on June 09, 2022

Modified on April 24, 2023

1:55 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,866
Words 378
Stanzas 5
Stanza Lengths 12, 10, 10, 10, 8

Robin Loving

Sometimes the words flow like a murder of crows. They've held my secrets for the past 65-years. And sometimes they repeat them back to me, and laugh. more…

All Robin Loving poems | Robin Loving Books

38 fans

Discuss the poem Bernard the Lab with the community...

  • AIDA
    Your "Bernard the Lab" poem is heartwarming and inspiring. It beautifully portrays the joys and trials of building a friendship with a rescued dog, and the transformative power of love and trust. Your vivid descriptions, playful tone, and heartfelt emotion make this poem a delightful and meaningful read.

    Your poem flows smoothly and creates a clear narrative arc that engages the reader from start to finish. Your use of sensory details, like the snow white snout and the copper glint in Bernard's eyes, creates vivid images that bring the story to life. Your choice of words and rhyme scheme create a playful and upbeat tone that perfectly matches the playful nature of Bernard and the love you share with him.

    As for improvement suggestions, I would urge you to consider varying the structure and form of your poem to add more depth and dimension to your storytelling. For example, you could experiment with different stanza lengths, use metaphors or similes to enhance your descriptions, or add more emotional depth to your reflections on Bernard's fate.

    Overall, your "Bernard the Lab" poem is a touching tribute to a beloved pet and a testament to the power of friendship and compassion. I am sure it will resonate with pet lovers and poetry enthusiasts alike, and inspire them to cherish and celebrate the furry friends who bring joy and love to their lives. Well done!
    LikeReply 11 year ago
  • FLi
    Your poems pierce through the heart but it was so well written and beautifully conveyed that even with the presence of pain, I'll still stay it was a good read.
    LikeReply 11 year ago
    • lovingempath
      I'm pretty sure we have enough 'pain' in the world...but I think it's important to remind people that even if we can't solve very many problems on the 'global stage'...there's probably an old dog at the shelter that you can bring new life to. It's a win/win situation. Thank you for your comment Francelle! :) 
      LikeReply 11 year ago
  • Symmetry58
    You, for sure, have a way with words. This is beautiful and very playful and sad. I'm thinking you'd be a sure bet at writing a children's book.
    LikeReply 11 year ago
    • lovingempath
      Thanks Steve. I do have an artist friend who offered to illustrate a book with me. I would need to get away from the 'dead dog' theme though, I think :).
      LikeReply1 year ago
    • Symmetry58
      Away from dead dog??? Kids LOVE dead dog stories....or was that just me??? *blush* Well, off to therapy.
      LikeReply 11 year ago
    • lovingempath
      LOL :)
      LikeReply1 year ago
  • wtcob
    I read this poem early on and it stuck with me through the reading of the entire 134 poems. Not only did I like the flowing pace, but the beginning to end told a story that was relatable. Nice job!
    LikeReply 11 year ago
  • jerrylogie
    It tells a sad yet beautiful story that tears at ones heart. It rhyme and flow are excellent and it is one of those special poems that you not only read twice but want to read it to others as well.......
    LikeReply 11 year ago


Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)


Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


"Bernard the Lab" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jun 2024. <>.

Become a member!

Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

Bernard the Lab

June 2024

Poetry Contest

Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.

Special Program

Earn Rewards!

Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!



Are you a poetry master?

Who is credited with creating the first poetry slam event?
A Grand corps Malade
B Victor Hugo
C Kerry James
D Marc Smith