I have to admit that I love child art. Children have no pre-conceived ideas; they create pictures, no matter the subject matter, they way they see it. Their art is never colored with preconceived ideas and emotions.
And the same can be said for children’s poetry too.
A couple of years ago, I was asked to help judge entries for the first Pets Add Life poetry contest organized by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) And I remember being blown away by the entries – no silly little rhyming couplets. We’re talking good stuff! It's no easy task! I speak from experience because my book For the Love of Cats required little verses for every letter of the alphabet.
The contest is now in its fifth year and the deadline is Friday, February 22, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. EST.
Third through eighth grade students are invited to write a unique poem about their pets, what they love about them, the joys they bring, and enter online at www.petsaddlife.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/petsaddlife or mail poem entries and submission forms to:
Pets Add Life
661 Sierra Rose Dr.
Reno, NV 89511
One student from each grade level (6 total) nationwide will win a $250 gift certificate for pet products, and a “by-line” in a nationally circulated publication. In addition, the six winning students’ classrooms will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to spend on pet-related education.
Founded by APPA, the non-profit PAL campaign is designed to demonstrate the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership and encourage increased animal adoption.
Here are two of the entries from last year to give kids some inspiration.
By Jaidyn of Tampa, FL (5th grade winner)
For years I’ve watched your ears stand up on your head.
As you waited each morning for me to get out of bed.
Your fluffy fur is so white, I knew when I picked you, you were just right.
When you walk in the sunlight and your little paws begin to run.
I feel nothing but joy and so I begin to hum.
And you seem to bark along, music makes you happy too.
I can’t imagine how sad I would be if my life didn’t include you.
Every night when I go to bed my heart feels bright.
I can’t help but smile when you snore at night.
Coach, Coach, Coach
Do you know that I care about you?
Do you love me as much as I love you?
That Very First Day
By Savannah of Newton, NC (8th grade winner)
I’ll never forget the first time I saw your precious little face,
And saw your liquid eyes, warm as hot chocolate in a wintry place,
Saw your wagging tail, and your tiny black nose,
And felt your puppy fur, as soft as the petals of a rose.
You cocked your little head, and licked me on my chin,
And then you smiled at me with an adorable puppy grin.
Now when I awake, the first thing I race to see,
Is that same puppy smile glowing up at me.
Though now it’s on a muzzle that’s growing old and gray,
It’s still the same smile I saw that very first day.
You leap up to greet me, eyes shining with love,
You rest your head upon my side, as gentle as a dove.
Then for a bit I’ll stroke your head, and rub behind your ear,
And then I’ll begin to walk away, and call for you to “come here.”
You follow me on lively paws, still jovial as a pup,
That reminds me that though ten years have passed, and your almond eyes have clouded up,
You’re still the same puppy, playful and gay,
Whose eyes I gazed into that very first day.
You’re my wonderful dog, with a spirit both docile and free,
And every day how much happiness and laughter you bring to me!
For ten years you’ve taught me to be the best person I can be,
And you’ve done that by loving me unconditionally.
I look forward to many more years with you by my side,
For I know that’s where you’ll be as long as you’re alive,
And I know if you could speak, this is what you’d say,
“I’m so glad I got you that very first day.”
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