Poetry: Mother doesn’t want a dog by Judith Viorst

Berkley the Yorkie in his frock and shoes

Mother doesn’t want a Dog

by Judith Viorst

Mother doesn’t want a dog.
Mother says they smell,
And never sit when you say sit,
Or even when you yell.
And when you come home late at night
And there is ice and snow,
You have to go back out because
The dumb dog has to go.
Mother doesn’t want a dog.
Mother says they shed,
And always let the strangers in
And bark at friends instead,
And do disgraceful things on rugs,
And track mud on the floor,
And flop upon your bed at night
And snore their doggy snore.
Mother doesn’t want a dog.
She’s making a mistake.
Because, more than a dog, I think
She will not want this snake.

From If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries.  Published by Macmillan, 1981.


Judith Viorst. (photo credit  “Through the Looking Glass”)

Judith Viorst was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1931. She’s written several works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for kids and adults.

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
This entry was posted in Families don't you love them, Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Poetry: Mother doesn’t want a dog by Judith Viorst

  1. magsx2 says:

    A great poem, couldn’t help but have a bit of a laugh. I love the photo of the dog, very cute.

    • dearrosie says:

      I’ve seen dogs wearing shoes to protect their feet from the snow, and I can understand why – the ice gets into the space between the paw pads – but I don’t know why Yorkie has to wears shoes other than the vanity of his owner.

  2. souldipper says:

    That is so very lovely! What a great poem – thanks, Rosie.

  3. Cindy says:

    Hahaha … delightful 🙂

  4. Lynn says:

    Hey Rosie!
    We have this poem in an Eighth Grade English Course book that I teach in a Unit about kids and parents…..love it!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hooray and Welcome Lynn! You’re one my most loyal – though one of the silent readers – of my blog, so I’m thrilled to see your comment 🙂 The power of good poem huh…?

      Interesting to know that the poem is being taught in the Middle-East. Do you teach any other Judith Viorst poems?

  5. Priya says:

    Yes, delightful is the word. Though I suspect the mother may not quite agree with us. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Over the years I’ve welcomed dogs, cats, hamsters and even the odd white rat, but no one in my family would ever have suggested bringing home a snake. Ugh.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    What a cute poem! Oh and that silly pooch in the frock! quite adorable!

  7. Adorable … and I’m with the mom on this one for SURE! Thanks, Rosie!!!

  8. Barbara says:

    Berkley is adorable in the little outfit!!
    I think Judith Viorst had a newspaper or magazine column years ago – I remember reading it and laughing out loud! Her books are hysterically funny, too. We had a dog when I was a child – he barked like crazy when anyone in the family arrived home, and didn’t utter a sound when a stranger drove down the driveway or rang the doorbell. But we adored him even if he wasn’t a good guard dog!

    • dearrosie says:

      Love the story of your dog Barbara! I wonder why he didn’t bark at strangers? I thought all dogs had it internally wired to *bark*.

      Besides writing poetry, Judith Viorst has also written children’s books. My favorite is “Alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day.”

  9. anna turner says:

    When I was in first grade wow it seems like forever ago I worked so hard to memorize this poem and said it before the school it was a great success and a great trip dowm memory lane bieng able to look it up and read it my kids I am glad it was here

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Anna,
      How sweet that you memorized the poem in First Grade. I can imagine that it must’ve been a beautiful experience to find it here and read it to your kids so many years later.
      Thanks for sharing your memory with us.

  10. Niamh Mulvey says:

    I love this poem and if i need to know a poem for english and i cant think of one the poems we did in class i always do that poem because i learned it in primary school when i was 10 year and i still know the words to the poem

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Niamh,
      Always a pleasure to welcome someone new to my blog. Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment.
      My congratulations on learning the poem when you were ten years old, and still being able to remember it and share it in high school.

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