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Saturday, September 16, 2023


by Tricia Knoll

A golden retriever named Kilian is part of a Swedish rescue team in Morocco after the earthquake. He's a veteran of past disaster rescue missions and his handlers say he helped find 18 people alive under the rubble in Turkey earlier this year. —Carol Guzy for NPR

Those furry creatures I live with,
the ones on a mission to sniff hunt,
find the dead, subdue, lead the blind, 
alert to illnesses. Detect mines.
Walk side by side with people 
who need them.
K-9 simplifies the patches 
on uniform sleeves, dispatched
cars, rescue units, disaster teams.
A term coined during World War II.
Let me know them as dogs,
the faithful we call to live with us,
who serve in whatever way they can
and look for a hand, a voice, a toy
to tell them job well done

Tricia Knoll lives in gratitude with two non-pedigree dogs in Vermont. She has known search and rescue handlers. Her poetry appears widely in journals, anthologies and seven collections—the most recent being One Bent Twig (FutureCycle Press, 2023) which highlights trees Knoll has planted, loved, and worries about due to climate chaos.