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.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you for sharing in the poetry and the animals with me.


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