The Secret to Happiness, a poem by Venus the dog

Venus the dog running outside in the red sand with ears flopping and tongue out
A poignant poem for the times, as told by a playful pup at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
By Venus the dog

One morn at Best Friends, the animals heard
Some humans complaining, and they caught every word.
“I’m in a bad mood,” they heard someone say.
And they thought maybe humans don’t know how to play.

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Has a dog ever frowned while catching a ball? 
Has a rabbit once wept while snuggling a doll? 
They all held a meeting, and soon it was known 
If the humans need help, then they must be shown.

You see, when you smile, you stay on the ground.
But when I grin, I fly with a joy that’s unbound.

When there’s something you love, you shouldn’t hold back.
When Blinky wants a green feather, he’s on the attack.

And what about leaves? When you see them, you rake.
But not Maisy. She only sees merry to make.

And your clothes: why so drab? You should bask in the glory.
Don some colorful robes. You’ll never be sorry.

So the humans took notes, and created some slides.
And the animals begged them with rolls of their eyes:
“You are wonderful students, but have you all missed the point?
Let’s get stuffies and Kongs and tear up this joint!”

And then there was jumping and laughter and joy.
Folks threw balls, they smelled flowers, one found an old toy.
They played knights and cowgirls, some were kings and queens.
Soon, no one could remember what “bad mood” even means.

- Translated by Elizabeth Doyle, Best Friends senior writing mentor

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

This article was originally published in the September/October 2023 issue of Best Friends magazine. Want more good news? Become a member and get stories like this six times a year.

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