Hoard of Love

Covered in dirt, but she smiled

and gave me a treat.

So, I smiled.

I smelled bad, but it didn’t matter.


I started to scratch again.

My left ear, so itchy.

She turned over on her side,

a family of fleas ran across her arm.

“I love you so much.”

I loved her, too.

I gave her lots of kisses.


Just like every day,

I journeyed over the Mountains.

I stepped on something,

I cried out.

My foot was bleeding.

She patted it with a warm towel.

“Poor baby,” she said.

I kissed her.

I was fine.

I limped over the boxes and books

and smiled at her.


I went to get food.

I hit something hot,

sticking out from the walls.

I cried out as it burned me.

She patted me with her hand

—a warning, she said.

“Don’t go near the heating pipes.”

I smiled at her.

I would be careful.


One day, someone came to visit.

“ASPCA,” they said, I think.

I couldn’t hear well.

They picked me up,

touched me all over,

and looked into my ears.


“What happened to him?”

She didn’t say anything.

“How many more are there?”

“I have 30, I think,” she said.

“I take care of all of them.

I love them.

They are my children.”

I loved her, too.

I wagged my crooked tail.

I pinched it in a door,

a long time ago.


I never got to see her again.


I missed her.


I didn’t know a floor without Mountains.


I didn’t know a room without trash.


I didn’t know “food in a bowl”.


I never had a “bath”.


I never knew “your own bed”.


I itched all over and I loved her.


I was dirty, but she loved me.


I saw her in my dream and went to be with her,



I fell asleep and she was there.


I met another “her” and loved her, too.


I remember something, a dark, smelly place…

Here the sun shined,

and it smelled like food—bacon—and

soap, and fresh-cut grass.


“I love you,” he said, she said, they said.

I loved them, too.



Note: Hoarding is a mental illness and not something that can easily be fixed without therapy. So please, when you see a hoarder of animals, don’t blame the hoarder or say they are awful people. It’s a mental illness.

Often hoarders of animals are not doing it because they are cruel people. They want to help their animals but their mental illness gets in the way of actually creating a safe environment for both the hoarder and the animals.

This poem most likely depicts dogs (who often show unconditional love) from a hoarding situation being put up for adoption but remember that animals from a hoarding situation may not always be adoptable.

Remember, do not blame the hoarder.

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