Classic Art: Dog Wanted

This 1932 poem was just begging for our attention and some illustrations by Robert L. Dickey.

Dogs Howling

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A 1932 poem by Margaret Mackprang called “Dog Wanted” was just, ahem, begging for our attention, so we found some fabulous canine art by Robert L. Dickey to go with it.

“Digging Doggy” by Robert L. Dickey

Post Cover "Digging Doggy" by Robert L. Dickey

I don’t want a dog that is wee and effeminate.
Fluffy and peevish and coyly discriminate;
Yapping his wants in a querulous tone,
Preferring a cake to a good honest bone.

“Dog and his Bone” by Robert L. Dickey

“Dog and his Bone” by Robert L. Dickey

I don’t want a beast that is simply enormous,
Making me feel as obscure as a dormouse
Whenever he hurtles with jubilant paws
On my shoulders, and rips with his powerful claws
My sturdiest frocks; the kind of a mammal
That fits in a parlor as well as a camel.
That makes the floor shake underfoot when he treads,
And bumps into tables and bounds over beds.

“Dogs Eating Hat” by Robert L. Dickey

“Dogs Eating Hat” by Robert L. Dickey

The sort of a pet that I have in my mind
Is a dog of the portable, washable kind;
Not huge and unwieldy, not frilly and silly,
Not sleek and not fuzzy, not fawning, not chilly—

“Poodle Tricks” by Robert L. Dickey

“Poodle Tricks” by Robert L. Dickey

A merry, straightforward, affectionate creature
Who likes me as playmate, respects me as teacher.

“Cat Guards Bowl of Milk” by Robert L. Dickey

“Cat Guards Bowl of Milk” by Robert L. Dickey

Arid thumps with his tail when he sees me come near
As gladly as if I’d been gone for a year;
Whose eyes, when I praise him, grow warm with elation;
Whose tail droops in shame at my disapprobation;
No pedigreed plaything to win me a cup—
Just a portable, washable, lovable pup!

— Poem by Margaret Mackprang
© The Saturday Evening Post – March 5, 1932

“Soots 1926” by Robert L. Dickey

Robert Dickey illustration from 1926 Post story, “Soots” by R.G. Kirk.

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  1. I remember the Rockwell piece of the cop and the runaway kid. I “ran away” once when I was seven. My mother helped me pack some clothes. And then asked me about food. Even then I was ruled by my stomach and promptly had lunch and just like that: the grievance vanished into the aether. btw–loved the author’s description of her degree.

  2. I love this poem, especially that last line: “…a portable, washable, lovable pup!” Our mixed breed dog lived for seventeen happy years and fit all those requirements.

    Mary A. Berger


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