Mad Dog Publishing Company , 2006.

ISBN#: 0965597474

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The first time I met Floyd Salas – nearly three decades ago – he was accompanying a dog, a large, beautiful pooch named Sergie. The two had much in common: they were friendly, smart and tough if riled. As I grew to know Salas better and better, I learned that he feels incomplete without a dog or cat in his life. His poems can draw our attention to how precious interspecies relationships can be, and to how much we can gain if we give of ourselves. Few accomplished prose writers have also written poetry this powerful, and few writers have so well captured the essence of our relationship with those creatures we call pets.

from the Forward by Gerald Haslam, author of Haslam’s Valley and Grace Period

Book Reviews

“…close, emotional studies about the dogs and cats he’s known.”

—Berkeley Daily Planet

"Salas’… line drawings capture the animals’ moods and personalities. His poems do the same – clean, unembellished portraits of dogs and cats. A particularly moving piece is “Such is the Sustenance of Loving” that tells the story of a neglected dog Salas and his friend rescue. You feel the dog’s abject pain as starkly as his new owners’ love and devotion. Happy in his new home, the dog’s gratefulness wrenches your heart. Why can’t all such dogs find caring homes, Salas seems to ask."

—Oakland Tribune

Book Excerpt


When dog meets dog
they stand off and freeze
for a second
to consider the possible force
and if
no sign of fangs
or snarl
they step toward each other
and finally meet noses
their tails

Their stance speaks
Dogs don’t lie
like people do
In the greeting
is the meaning
The nose to nose decides
Will this be a standoff?
twitching tails?
And usually
the tremor
like a pebble shivering

Dogs are honest
They don’t have the crooked tongue
Action speaks louder than words
tongue laugh
or tail wag

In the ferocious bark
is the wagging tail
though fear is apparent
in the stiff-limbed posture
if he feels it

God made us need each other
Loneliness is evermore
Animals lean together in social bonding
and teach us
without ambition
or the predatory leer
that love
wags the hindmost tail


This is the reality now Sergie
this mound of earth
under the camellia bush
with a bouquet of orange poppies
alive at its foot
the shade that sprinkles it
even in the sunshine
There will always be sprinkles on this gravesite
summer or winter
raining or shining
I sprinkle it now with my tears

One of the poppies is dying though
The brown bud of a withered face
smiles out
through the bent strands
of its petals
peeking up through the bent brim
of an old straw hat
though his bloom’s all gone
like yours was
these last two years

I suck in air to ease the cramp in my gut
Miki my Japanese puppy
nibbles some grass on your grave
A bird trill thrills me
from the big bush over your head
The sun warms me
The long branches of a thin plum tree
burst into beads of green buds
and rows of buttons of white flowers
spin like a fleet of flying suns
over the green clover
in the speckled shade
of a knobby pear tree

This is the reality
You down in the deep damp hole
The rain seeping into your ears
trickling through the fears
a slow movement
of flesh and bone
back to silt
back to the mud of my back yard
back to these earth clods
spongy with a whole night’s rain
This is my pain

This is the reality
hanging from the doorknob
redcross of its rabies tag
and green heart
of its license

a breeze on me
shadow of leaves
flickering on my page
no you around
on top of the ground
No Sergie
to sniff noses with
no sweet and earthy canine smell

The reality is
there is
no trace of you
aside from this small mound of dirt
in the yard
and the warm coral
of my brain
the pain
in my chest

This is the reality