Something for Her Dog

She is quite serious, the woman

at the counter in front of me,

when she asks the clerk,

“Can you recommend

something for my dog?  He’s

allergic to animal products.” 

I turn my face away to avoid

being seen about to burst

into laugher and pretend

to focus on a selection

of nearby cat toys.

Puzzled but straight-faced,

the man responds to her,

in a noble attempt

to appear sympathetic,

“If you mean vegan dog food,

we only have vegetarian.”


I know nothing about dog food,

nor do I care—I prefer birds,

wild birds, feeding them only

the best, which is why I am

picky about bird seed. And

the twenty-five-pound bag

I am holding is getting heavy.

Oblivious to other customers,

the woman continues

to chat, asking the clerk

to assist her in finding recipes

for homemade dog food.

When she finally leaves, I drop

the bag down on the counter

and ask, “Is this bird seed

certified gluten-free?”


Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications including Kudzu Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Dark Matter: A Journal of Speculative Writing, Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments, Paradise Review, Pedestal Magazine, Concho River Review, The Voices Project, Weber: The Contemporary West, and other journals and online forums.  A past Pushcart Prize nominee, she holds an interdisciplinary MA from Prescott College and is co-founder of Native West Press, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit natural history press.