and post notes and photos about your poem like Robert Candler.
Inspired by a fairly short paragraph in the center of a page in a 1918 National Geographic Magazine, an issue dedicated to the Dog, Man's Best Friend. The issue addressed their history, their role in man's success as a species, their role in daily life in towns and on farms, and especially their courageous roles during World War I. it also addressed some 'bad' dogs, but appropriately placed the blame for that on humans.
The short paragraph alluded to this this general beginning of the Man-Dog relationship. Armed with this snip of paper in my wallet....my father had said I should use it someday for one of my Toastmaster speeches...I accomplished one of the best ad libs of my life. During a speech contest, I had advanced to district finals. I was to be the last speaker of four finalists. The first speaker, the son of an evangelist who planned to follow in his father's footsteps, gave a most eloquent presentation of "A Baby's Smile". In the wings, the #3 speaker asked me, "What are we doing her? The first speaker was blowing away the crowd of over 200. I looked at #3 and said, "I can't win with this speech, that's for sure." My mind was racing. What do people like almost as much as babies? DOGS! I remembered the little snip of paper in my wallet. I remembered 2 or 3 very short stories addressing the loyalty, courage and intelligence of dogs. I could not possibly memorize the paragraph....but I could explain it as my inspiration and read it. As I began my speech, I picked 3 people in the crowd to use as 'barometers' of listener response. One was an old farmer. He was weathered and tan and had hands like hams. He was not a Toastmaster, but his wife was. She had dragged him along. He looked uncomfortable in his suit, probably prefering overalls. As I related the stories, I could see his involvement. During the 3rd little story, I saw him wipe the corner of his eye and touch his wife's hand. He had had dogs in his life...some good ones too...some he still thought of occasionally and missed, I'm sure. When I summed the speech with the reading of the paragraph from National Geographic, I saw him squeeze his wife's hand - hard. I'm sure he thought he was whispering to her, but half the room heard him as he openly sobbed and said, "My dog would do that. My dog would do that." People all over the room were apparently affected by his response, as were the judges. The dogs won that day.