Archive | Poems & Tributes RSS feed for this section

It Matters To Me

8 Oct

It Matters To Me


As I walked along the seashore
This young boy greeted me.
He was tossing stranded starfish
Back to the deep blue sea.
I said “Tell me why you bother,
Why you waste your time this way.
There’s a million stranded starfish
Does it matter, anyway?”
And he said, “It matters to this one.
It deserves a chance to grow.
It matters to this one.
I can’t save them all I know.
But it matters to this one,
I’ll return it to the sea.
It matters to this one,
And it matters to me.”
I walked into the shelter,
The owner greeted me.
She was helping Misty learn to trust.
She was struggling I could see.
I said, “Tell me why you bother,
Why you waste your time this way.
Misty’s only one of thousands,
Does it matter anyway?”
And she said, “It matters to this one.
She deserves a chance to grow.
It matters to this one.
I can’t save them all I know.
But it matters to this one,
I’ll help her be what she can be.
It matters to this one,
And it matters to me.

Author Unknown

A Dumped Dogs Prayer

5 Oct

A Dumped Dog’s Prayer

I Waited For You

Don’t close the door! Don’t push me away.
Why are you leaving? Don’t make me stay.
Slow down the car, I can’t keep up.
This pavement is hot and my pads are cut.
I’ve got to quit running or my heart will pop.
Every muscle is aching. Why don’t you stop?
I’m so hungry and thirsty. Darkness is near.
But I shouldn’t leave, he will come for me here.
Several weeks have passed, I am dead on my feet.
They call me a nuisance because I eat off the streets.
Every car that passes, I chase it to see
If it’s my master coming for me.
Though I approach those that come near
With trust in my eyes and no sign of fear.
With hate in their voices and a cold, heartless stare,
They threaten to kill me – they don’t even care.
Batter my body with rocks that they throw,
I will not leave, he will come, don’t you know?
Overtaken with weakness, my body is numb.
I’m sick and so lonely. Oh please, let him come!
I will go back where he first threw me out.
I’ll wait for him there, he will come, no doubt.
My thoughts are fading. My chest feels like lead.
I’m sleepy, so sleepy – I can’t lift my head.
It’s so quiet, so peaceful — all remains still.
There is my master at my home on the hill.
Yes, I can see him, he’s calling my name.
His voice is so gentle, his hands are the same.
He decided he wants me. Things will be fine.
I really do love him, that master of mine.
My tail wags with pleasure. I can’t catch my breath.
He came in my dreams, but so did my DEATH!!

~~Author unknown

The Familiar Spirit! “poem”

3 Oct

The Familiar Spirit!

“Poem/Tribute”

When feeling sad because I miss

my angel dressed in fur

I Close my eyes and feel you by my side,

right where you always were

I feel your love and see your face

with the light that shined within your eyes

Please Know, that a part of my heart belongs to you

You will always shine inside

A sign from the Bridge

A Thousand Horse but None to Ride!

3 Oct

A Thousand Horse but None to Ride

Painted Heart

A Thousand Horse but None to Ride

With flying tail and flowing mane

Wide nostrils never stretched by pain

Mouths bloodless to the bit or rein

and hooves that iron never shod

and flanks un-scarred by spur or rod

A thousand horse the wild the free

Like waves that flow over the sea

came thickly thundering on


written by: Lord Byron

The Rescue Dog

24 Aug

Rescue Dog


Once I was a lonely dog Just looking for a home.

I had no place to go, No one to call my own.

I wandered up and down the streets, in rain, in heat and snow.

I ate whatever I could find, I was always on the go.

My skin would itch, my feet were sore, my body ached with pain.

And no one stopped to give a pat or gently say my name.

I never saw a loving glance; I was always on the run.

For people thought that hurting me was really lots of fun.

And then one day I heard a voice so gentle, kind and sweet.

And arms so soft reached down to me and took me off my feet.

No one again will hurt you: was whispered in my ear.

You’ll have a home to call your own where you will know no fear.

You will be dry, you will be warm, you’ll have enough to eat

and rest assured that when you sleep, your dreams will all be sweet.

I was afraid, I must admit, I’ve lived so long in fear.

I can’t remember when I let A human come so near.

And as she tended to my wounds and bathed and brushed my fur

She told me bout the rescue group and what it meant to her. 

She said, we are a circle, a line that never ends.

And in the centre there is you protected by new friends.

And all around you are the ones that check the pounds

and those that share their home after you’ve been found.

And all the other folk are searching near and far.

To find the perfect home for you, where you can be a star.

She said, “There is a family, that’s waiting patiently

and pretty soon we’ll find them, just you wait and see”.

“And then they’ll join our circle They’ll help to make it grow,

so there’ll be room for more like you, who have no place to go”.

I waited very patiently, the days they came and went.

Today’s the day I thought, my family would be sent.

Then just when I began to think it wasn’t meant to be,

there were people standing there just gazing down at me.

I knew them in a heartbeat; I could tell they felt it too.

They said, “We have been waiting for a special dog” like you.

Now every night I say a prayer to all the gods that be.

“Thank you for the life I live and all you’ve given me.

But most of all protect the dogs in the pound and on the street.

And send a Rescue Person to lift them off their feet”.

Author unknown A poem for dog lovers all the way from Scotland

Is He the One?

24 Aug

Is he the one

Is he the one, that puppy there,
The one that likes to snuggle?
Can I take him with me,
To love and hug and cuddle?

Is he the one, the pup you got?
Boy! he’s growing fast.
Sure that’s what you wanted?
Nah, never gonna last.

Is he the one, just brought in?
They say he is too large.
Put him in the end cage,
Write down what to charge.

Is he the one, the big one there?
Yep he’ll guard our house and home.
Chain him in the back yard,
He’ll be ok alone.

Is he the one the angel asked,
Taking him away.
Never more to be abused,
Or in the snow to lay.

Is he the one the woman asked,
Her dogs all prancing round.
The one with none to wait for,
Well now he has been found.

Yes your the one I know it,
Go find a friend or three.
You will all be mine now,
Come cross the bridge with me

-M. Catlow

The Backyard Dog

24 Aug

The Backyard Dog

You see one in every community, a dog tied day after day to a back porch or fence, lying lonely on a pad of bare, packed dirt. The water bowl, if there is one, is usually empty or just out of reach. Abandoned, but chained up, backyard dogs cannot move to comfort, shelter, or companionship. In winter, they shiver, in summer, they languish . . . year round they suffer.

Of course, dogs can be forced to live outside, alone and away from their human pack, but to force this kind of life on a dog is one of the worst things you can do. Being alone goes against the dog’s most basic instinct. If you doubt this, think of all the whining, barking, clawing dogs you have seen tied alone outside. These dogs are trying desperately to get the attention of their human families.

People who keep their dogs constantly tied outside rationalize it, saying that they do spend time with them. But even the most well-meaning among them do not spend significant time with their animal companions. Under the best of circumstances, the backyard dog gets a bowl of food and water, a quick pat on the head and maybe a few minutes of contact with another living being each day.

Dogs can offer people the gifts of steadfast devotion, abiding love and joyful companionship. Unless people accept these offerings and take the time to return them in kind, it would be best not to get a dog. A sad, lonely, bewildered dog tied out back only suffers, and what sort of person wants to maintain suffering?

– Author Unknown

My Foster Dog is beautiful

24 Aug

My Foster Dog is beautiful

My foster dog stinks to high heaven. I don’t know for sure what breed he is. His eyes are blank and hard. He won’t let me pet him and growls when I reach for him. He has ragged scars and crusty sores on his skin. His nails are long and his teeth which he showed me are stained. I sigh. I drove two hours for this. I carefully maneuver him so that I can stuff him in the crate. Then I heft the crate and put it in the car. I am going home with my new foster dog.

Lady passed away just before last winter. I had rescued Lady from the Lancaster shelter hours away from being PTS

At home I leave him in the crate till all the other dogs are in the yard. I get him out of the crate and ask him if he wants ‘outside.’ As I lead him to the door he hikes his leg on the wall and shows me his stained teeth again. When we come in he goes to the crate because that’s the only safe place he sees. I offer him food but he won’t eat it if I look at him, so I turn my back. When I come back the food is gone. I ask again about ‘outside.’ When we come back I pat him before I let him in the crate, he jerks away and runs into the crate to show me his teeth.

The next day I decide I can’t stand the stink any longer I lead him into the bath with cheese in my hand. His fear of me is not quite overcome by his wish for the cheese. And well he should fear me, for I will give him a bath. After an attempt or two to bail out he is defeated and stands there. I have bathed four legged bath squirters for more dog years than he has been alive. His only defense was a show of his stained teeth that did not hold up to a face full of water. As I wash him it is almost as if I wash not only the stink and dirt away but also some of his hardness. His eyes look full of sadness now. And he looks completely pitiful as only a soap covered dog can. I tell him that he will feel better when he is cleaned. After the soap the towels are not too bad so he lets me rub him dry. I take him outside. He runs for joy. The joy of not being in the tub and the joy of being clean. I, the bath giver, am allowed to share the joy. He comes to me and lets me pet him.

Dee Oh Gee. was rescued him from the Carson Shelter he was due to be PTS that day. He was the best companion I could ever hope for.

One week later I have a vet bill. His skin is healing. He likes for me to pet him. I think I know what color he will be when his hair grows in. I have found out he is terrified of other dogs. So I carefully introduce him to my mildest four legged brat. It doesn’t go well.

Two weeks later a new vet bill for an infection that was missed on the first visit. He plays with the other dogs.

Three weeks later he asks to be petted. He chewed up part of the rug.

Eight weeks later his coat shines, he has gained weight. He shows his clean teeth when his tongue lolls out after he plays chase in the yard with the gang. His eyes are soft and filled with life. He loves hugs and likes to show off his tricks, if you have the cheese.

Someone called today and asked about him, they saw the picture I took the first week. They asked about his personality, his history, his breed. They asked if he was pretty. I asked them lots of questions. I checked up on them. I prayed. I said yes. When they saw him the first time they said he was the most beautiful dog they had ever seen.

Six months later I got a call from his new family. He is wonderful, smart, well

Dee Oh Gee at the Shep Memorial Fort Benton Montana. Shep watched with anxious eyes as the body of his beloved owner was placed on a train and pulled away. Shep was to meet every train from then on for the rest of his life Shep Forever Faithful

behaved and very loving. How could someone not want him?

I told them I didn’t know.

He is beautiful.

They all are.

~ Martha O’Connor

The Last Will & Testament of an Extremely Loved Dog

21 Aug

The Last Will & Testament of an

Extremely Loved Dog

By Eugene O’Neill

 I, Silverdene Emblem O’Neill (familiarly known to my family, friends and acquaintances as Blemie), because the burden of my years and infirmities is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my life is near, do hereby bury my last will and testament in the mind of my Master. He will not know it is there until after I am dead. Then, remembering me in his loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask him to inscribe it as a memorial to me.

 

  I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their days hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have, and to obtain objects they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and my loyalty. These I leave to all those who have loved me, especially to my Master and Mistress, who I know will mourn me the most.

 

  I ask my Master and my Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life, I have tried to be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain. Let them remember that while no dog has ever had a happier life (and this I owe to their love and care for me), now that I have grown blind and deaf and lame, and even my sense of smell fails me so that a rabbit could be right under my nose and I might not know, my pride has sunk to a sick, bewildered humiliation. I feel life is taunting me with having over lingered my welcome. It is time I said good-bye, before I become too sick a burden on myself and on those who love me.

 

  It will be a sorrow to leave them, but not a sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We accept it as part of life, not as something alien and terrible which destroys life. What may come after death, who knows?

 

  I would like to believe that there is a Paradise. Where one is always young and full-bladdered. Where all the day one dillies and dallies. Where each blissful hour is mealtime. Where in the long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning, and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth and the love of one’s Master and Mistress.

 

   I am afraid that this is too much for even such a dog as I am to expect.

 

  But peace, at least, is certain. Peace and a long rest for my weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleep in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all, this is best.

 

  One last request, I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, “When Blemie dies we must never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another one”. Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again. What I would like to feel is that, having once had me in the family, she cannot live without a dog! I have never had a narrow, jealous spirit. I have always held that most dogs are good. My successor can hardly be as well loved or as well mannered or as distinguished and handsome as I was in my prime. My Master and Mistress must not ask the impossible. But he will do his best, I am sure, and even his inevitable defects will help by comparison to keep my memory green.

 

  To him I bequeath my collar and leash and my overcoat and raincoat He can never wear them with the distinction I did, all eyes fixed on me in admiration; but again I am sure he will do his utmost not to appear a mere gauche provincial dog. I hereby wish him the happiness I know will be his in my old home. One last word of farewell, dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long, happy life with you:

 

  “Here lies one who loved us and whom we loved”. No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail. I will always love you as only a dog can.”

 

by Eugene O’Neill

The original version of this tribute was written by Eugene O’Neill for his wife Carlotta, a few days before their Dalmatian passed away from old age in December, 1940. Please give credit to the author if you should pass this moving piece onto others in the future. 

Canine Bill of Rights

21 Aug

The Canine Bill of Rights

  1. I have the right to a life that is beyond mere survival
  2. I have the right to be trained so I do not become the prisoner of my own misbehavior
  3. I have the right to adequate food and medical care
  4. I have the right to socialize with people and dogs outside of my family
  5. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected
  6. I have the right to special time with my people
  7. I have the right to only be bred responsibly-if not at all
  8. I have the right to some time and space all my own
  9. I have the right to be foolish and silly, and to make my person laugh
  10. I have the right to earn my person’s trust and to be trusted in return
  11. I have the right to be forgiven
  12. I have the right to die with dignity
  13. I have the right to give and receive unconditional love


by: Carolyn Krause

Monument to a Dog

21 Aug

Monument to a Dog

Boatswain's likeness courtesy of Newstead Abbey

Near this Spot are deposited the Remains of

one who possessed Beauty without Vanity

Strength without Insolence,

Courage without Ferocity,

and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery

if inscribed over human Ashes,

is but a just tribute to the Memory of

BOATSWAIN, a DOG,

who was born in Newfoundland May 1803,

and died at Newstead Nov 18th, 1808.


When some proud son of man returns to earth

Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth

The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe

And storied urns record who rests below

When all is done, upon the tomb is seen

not what he was, but what he should have been.

But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend

The first to welcome, foremost to defend

Whose honest heart is still his master’s own

Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone

Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth

Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth

While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven

and claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour

Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power

Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust

Degraded mass of animated dust!

Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,

Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!

By nature vile, ennobled but by name,

Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.

Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn

Pass on–it honors none you wish to mourn.

To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;

I never knew but one–and here he lies 

Boatswain Monument

Lord Byron’s Inscription on the monument

built for his beloved Newfoundland

Boatswain, 1808


HOW COULD YOU!

18 Aug

A man in Grand Rapids, Michigan incredibly took out a $7000 full page ad in the paper to present the following essay to the people of his community.

HOW COULD YOU?

The Dog that you Dumped at the Shelter

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” — but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly rub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” – – still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.” As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch because your touch was now so infrequent and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog ,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked, “How could you?”

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind that this was all a bad dream.. or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured, “How could you?”

Perhaps because she understood my dog speak, she said, “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself — a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

A Note from the Author: If “How Could You?” brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly “owned” pets who die each year in American & Canadian animal shelters. Please use this to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Please pass this on to everyone, not to hurt them or make them sad, but it could save maybe, even one, unwanted pet. Remember…They love UNCONDITIONALLY.

Now that the tears are rolling down your face, pass it on! Send to everyone in your address book and around the world! This IS the reality of dogs given up to shelters!

By Jim Willis, 2001

 

He is your friend, your protector, your dog!

You are his love, his life, his leader.

He will be yours loyal and true to the last beat of his heart!

You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion!

I am an Animal Rescuer

28 Jul

I Am an Animal Rescuer

By: Annette King-Tucker

I Am an Animal Rescuer
My job is to assist God’s creatures
I was born with the need to fulfill their needs
I take in new family members without plan, thought, or selection
I have bought dog food with my last dime
I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand
I have hugged someone vicious and afraid
I have fallen in love a thousand times
and I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body

I have Animal Friends and friends who have animal friends
I don’t often use the word “pet”
I notice those lost at the road side
And my heart aches
I will hand raise a field mouse
And make friends with a vulture
I know of no creature unworthy of my time

I want to live forever if there aren’t animals in Heaven
But I believe there are
Why would God make something so perfect and leave it behind
We may be master of the animals,
But the animals have mastered themselves
Something people still haven’t learned

War and Abuse makes me hurt for the world
But a rescue that makes the news gives me hope for mankind
We are a quiet but determined army
And making a difference ever day

There is nothing more necessary than warming an orphan
nothing more rewarding than saving a life
No higher recognition than watching them thrive
There is no greater joy than seeing a baby play
who only days ago, was too weak to eat

I am an Animal Rescuer
My work is never done,
My home is never quiet
My wallet is always empty
But my heart is always full

In the game of life, we have already won
~ Written from the heart by:

Annette King-Tucker
Wild Heart Ranch Wildlife Rescue
Claremore, Ok
www.wildheartranch.org

How Could You!

28 Jul

A man in Grand Rapids, Michigan incredibly took out a $7000 full page ad in the paper to present the following essay to the people of his community.

HOW COULD YOU!

  When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” — but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly rub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” – – still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.” As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch — because your touch was now so infrequent — and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog ,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked, “How could you?”

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind — that this was all a bad dream… or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured, “How could you?”

Perhaps because she understood my dog speak, she said, “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself — a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

A Note from the Author: If “How Could You?” brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly “owned” pets who die each year in American & Canadian animal shelters. Please use this to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Please pass this on to everyone, not to hurt them or make them sad, but it could save maybe, even one, unwanted pet. Remember…They love UNCONDITIONALLY.

Now that the tears are rolling down your face, pass it on! Send to everyone in your address book and around the world! This IS the reality of dogs given up to shelters!

By Jim Willis, 2001


His Apologies

28 Jul

Master, this is Thy Servant. He is rising eight weeks old.
He is mainly Head and Tummy. His legs are uncontrolled.
But Thou hast forgiven his ugliness, and settled him on Thy knee…
Art Thou content with Thy Servant? He is *very* comfy with Thee.

Master, behold a Sinner! He hath committed a wrong.
He hath defiled Thy Premises through being kept in too long.
Wherefore his nose has been rubbed in the dirt and his self- respect has been bruised.

Master, pardon Thy Sinner, and see he is properly loosed.

Master, again Thy Sinner! This that was once Thy Shoe,
He has found and taken and carried aside, as fitting matter to chew.
Now there is neither blacking nor tongue, and the Housemaid has us in tow,
Master, remember Thy Servant is young, and tell her to let him go!

Master, extol Thy Servant, he has met a most Worthy Foe!
There has been fighting all over the Shop — and into the Shop also!
Till cruel umbrellas parted the strife (or I might have been choking him yet),
But Thy Servant has had the Time of his Life — and now shall we call on the vet?

Master, behold Thy Servant! Strange children came to play,
And because they fought to caress him, Thy Servant wentedst away.
But now that the Little Beasts have gone, he has returned to see
(Brushed — with his Sunday collar on) what they left over from tea.

Master, pity Thy Servant! He is deaf and three parts blind.
He cannot catch Thy Commandments. He cannot read Thy Mind.
Oh, leave him not to his loneliness; nor make him that kitten’s scorn.
He hath had no other God than Thee since the year that he was born.

Lord, look down on Thy Servant! Bad things have come to pass.
There is no heat in the midday sun, nor health in the wayside grass.
His bones are full of an old disease — his torments run and increase.
Lord, make haste with Thy Lightnings and grant him a quick release!

by Rudyard Kipling