Six dogs, one bunny, two canaries, one (wild) robin, a lot of turtles, and an aquarium full of fish. No, this not the inventory of a local pet store but just some of the pets that Anthony Buccino of Nutley has owned over the years.
Buccino, who is down to one 95-pound chocolate Lab named Zamboni these days, is the author of Retrieving Labrador Days (Cherry Blossom Press, 64 pages, $15), a collection of dog tales in prose and verse, based on the dogs he has owned throughout his life.
Besides his actual pets and their stories, Buccino, the author of 10 books, said he was partly inspired by a book he read at Boy Scouts summer camp in the mid 1960s, Mutts, Mongrels, Mischief, edited by William B. Coates. “This book implanted the idea of pet stories in my head,” he said. “It just took a while before I started to write them down.”
Buccino’s book contains such snippets as “Zamboni Chooses Cheerios Over Family,” “Dog Hair Here, There and Everywhere,” and “Who Are the Doggies in Your Neighborhood?” Then there are poems, such as “Town Pub,” that can make anyone who’s ever owned a pet a bit misty-eyed:
“…In comes the old veterinarian
I recognize him, seen him here
In the Town Pub before;
His office is up the street.
I remember Butch, the first dog
I as an adult had to put to sleep.
And, Libby, of course, the same thing
And my still not knowing how to halt the tears
And Stormi who died before she got to his office
And I see the dogs–like on a TV in my head
And I wonder who they play with
On the other side of the light.”
Buccino plans to participate in PHANfest1 in Secaucus on June 13, a benefit for food banks in the area. He also has a book reading scheduled for August 11 at the Barron Arts Center in Woodbridge, and he’ll be reading with Jessica DeKoninck at the Carriage House Poetry Series in Fanwood on October 19.
In addition, he has two other books that are nearly complete Yountakah Country – A Poetic View of Nutley, Old and New and Sometimes I Swear in Italian, which contains stories about growing up Italian-American. His poetry and essays have appeared in several literary journals and publications.
He also writes about commuting in northern New Jersey on NJ.com and contributes to NJ Voices, also on NJ.com.