Just A Poet.

Cowboy poet Baxter Black, on the right, with Baxter the Dalmatian, at a Nashville bookstore.

Way back in 1999 my wife and I brought home a new puppy and were trying to decide what to name him. She wanted something with a poetry theme and, well, there was only one poet we could think of with a name that would fit a Dalmatian. We named him Baxter, after Baxter Black, the cowboy poet, whose occasional commentaries on NPR always brightened up our morning drives. He’d be introduced as a “former large animal veterinarian” and my wife would always ask, “What’s a former large animal?”

E-mail was still a fairly new thing back then and we didn’t have a digital camera yet but we did take pictures of Baxter. My wife scanned one, found Baxter Black’s e-mail address, and sent him the picture. He replied with, “Makes me wanna ride a fire truck!”

Not long after that he came to Nashville on a book tour for A Cowful of Cowboy Poetry, and, with a bookstore manager’s permission, we brought Baxter in to meet Baxter. They both seemed to enjoy it.

We lost our Baxter a few years later to cancer—much too soon, although there’s never enough time with any dog.

As for Baxter Black, while it’s been a while since I’ve heard him on the radio, I pull up some of his recordings occasionally if I want to chuckle—his poem “The Oyster” always makes me laugh.

And when I heard that he passed away I needed a laugh.

Hail and farewell, Baxter Black. I hope you enjoy meeting Baxter again.


Facebook Comments


  1. M.L. James

    Sorry to hear about the passing of both Baxters. They both left wonderful legacies, no doubt. This was a fine tribute to them both! Hugs, my friend! Mona
    M.L. James recently posted…Dandy…Just DandyMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The loss of Baxter Black was hard because I never knew him and the loss of Baxter the dog was hard because I did know him, and they did both leave wonderful legacies. If I can pass on what I’ve learned from both of them, well, that’s a good thing.

  2. mydangblog

    Baxter looks like he was such a lovely fellow. I’m sure it was a thrill for both of them to meet each other😊

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Baxter Black was a veterinarian and loved dogs so he knew exactly how to handle Baxter, who was often polite but reserved with strangers. They really did have a wonderful meeting.

  3. markbialczak

    Thanks for the great story, Chris. The picture is fabulous, and I do think that Baxter Black was a large former veterinarian, sizing him up to your beloved dog Baxter.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you, Mark, and I hope Miss Ellie B enjoyed this story too, or at least enjoyed a nice treat.


    Thanks for all the poetry and love in this post, my friend.


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