What do Pacemakers, Dog Parks and Poetry Have in Common?

There are things that usually come in pairs like Abbott and Costello, peanut butter and jelly,  bacon and eggs, hand and glove. You know what I mean. They just go together. But, sometimes the strangest things are linked—like pacemakers, dog parks, and poetry. Let me explain.

The Pacemaker

When you get a bit older (well, a lot older, actually) things begin happening to your body and you find yourself in need of some new “devices” other than computers, tablets and cell phones. I developed Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) and discovered, in addition, that my heart would stop beating for several seconds. at a time.   I was told I that I needed a pacemaker and last month, a couple of weeks before Christmas, I had one implanted. It did not go as well as planned. One of the lead wires being inserted punctured the ventricle and went through the pericardium. A BIG problem. I spent a couple of days in ICU and a few more in the hospital before I could come home. The procedure was not the simple procedure it was supposed to be and my recovery was slower than I had anticipated.

The Dog Park

psychological benefit of owning a dog

When I came home, my energy level was quite low and I felt exhausted from just a little exertion. This is what brings me to the subject of the dog park. You see, I live in this wonderful town named Fountain Hills in Arizona. I consider it my personal Brigadoon, only it doesn’t disappear for 100 years at a time. But it is lovely and it has a fantastic dog park.

Jack and I have two dogs—Dizzy, a 16-year-old Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix, and 7- year-old Smarty who is part Vizsla and part who-knows-what. The dog park covers three acres of off-leash romping space where they run, play and just be dogs. We go every day because we live in a condo with no yard available


After I returned home from the hospital, it was a while before I could go to the park. Jack took Dizzy and Smarty and came home with greetings from some of the other dog owners. After a couple of weeks, when I had a bit more “starch in my legs” I ventured out. I was met with wonderful warm greetings and hugs— something I had not expected.

It was lovely.

The Poetry


We generally meet at a Ramada in the park and a number of dog-owners were there. Anyone with a dog is welcome.  And some, who don’t have dogs, come for the conversation and to watch the dogs play. Dane, who has a beautiful  Siberian Husky named Glacier, (picture to the right), announced that he had written a poem for me.

Imagine that!

A poem!

For me!

The poem is a fun poem designed to make me laugh and it did just that. But the thoughtfulness overwhelmed me. It was so much fun that  I want to share it with you. Read on.

The Poem

A Dog Park Tale

This is the story
Of the “Dog Park Queen”
It was thought to be Glacier
Turned out it’s Irene

Her daily arrival
Heralds restrained adulation
As if to confirm
her past coronation.

Each day she attends
Becomes a great party
With Jack and her charges
Dizzy and Smarty

They don’t leave too early
Or stay very late
The kids just need time
To defecate.

Her kingdom was happy
Her subjects played hard
In what seemed to be
An oversized yard.

Then all at once
The Queen fell quite sick
Thank God for her knight,
Sir Handsome Harwick.

He rushed to her aid
Without hesitation
The problem it seemed
A heart palpitation.

The sky became dark
Wagging tails became still
The Queen must survive
She has a strong will.

With hands clasped in prayer
And paws crossed in hope
Neither man nor the beasts
Found it easy to cope.

Now was the time
We could not wait
The Queen must be saved
This was her fate.

A healer was summoned
Who promised the cure
As all said quite calmly
You’ve nothing to fear.

As time lost its measure
We waited with dread
Would our monarch recover
As the healer had said?

A fortnight later
To all our surprise
Our Queen reappeared
A sight for sore eyes.

The realm is now stable
Back to the fun
“Let it be written,
Let it be done.”

By Dane Cunningham
Formatted and typed by Bonnie Cunningham


There is so much more to say here—about this town, about the people and about these wonderful best friends we call dogs. The dog park brings people together. Anyone with a dog is welcome (and we’ve even had a few people come without dogs because it is such a nice place to be).

And More

Dogs seem to have best friends, too, and it’s fun to watch.  Archer and Smarty are resting (see below).  They had been chasing each other and rolling in the grass. They will both be ready for naps when they get home.  And here is one of my personal favorites, Rocky, the English Sheep Dog who doesn’t know he’s not a lap dog and sometimes tries to back up to you and scrunch up on your knees hoping he can make it to your lap.

Archer and Smarty

It took a while after I received the pacemaker for things to settle down. I am almost 100% again. I had good care in the hospital. And my beloved Jack was holding everything together and seeing that I had everything I needed both in the hospital and at home.  I had my sons Christopher and Kevin there to help and encourage me. And, after coming home. I had the greatest therapy available anywhere, two beautiful loving dogs and a dog park with friends like Dane and Bonnie who write me poetry. And there were many who seem genuinely interested in my well-being.

It was a pacemaker, a dog park and some poetry that helped me through. Thank you to each one of you. It is people like you that make life rich and wonderful and bring joy into every day. 

I am truly blessed.

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