The Life and Poetry of Ted Kooser

By Mary K. Stillwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
King, A Dog of the North

Take what is given, and make it over your way.

—Robert Frost, Vogue

King, A Dog of the North, a “richly detailed and absorbing story” about a German shepherd, Kooser recalls, perfectly suited the twenty-year-old patient who had, because of his illness, regressed to half his age. He recounts his fevered reading, following King’s adventures as he “made his way through snowdrifts, up and down the sheer faces of mountains, through flooded, ice-choked streams.” The young college student was so absorbed in the story that when his girlfriend of four years returned to Ames to break up with him, he didn’t argue.

When his fever broke and he was feeling better, Kooser searched his hospital room for the book that had so captured his imagination. He described its cover in detail to his parents, who not only had no recollection of seeing it but also told him that he had been far too ill to read anything. In his delirium, he finally saw, he had written, printed, bound, and published King’m order “to snatch himself from the jaws of pneumonia.” IfLentil gave Teddy a way to feel special by serving the community through his music, King pointed the young

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