Pets

They give us companionship, unconditional love and joy.

Come and share information and stories about your pets.  Whether they be fid or fur, reptile or fin, we welcome you to our message board. 

Come, join us and share your knowledge, stories and love for your pets.

 

They give us unconditional love and joy.   Come and enjoy sharing information and stories about your pets.  

Whether they are fid or fur, reptile or fin, we welcome you to our message board.   Come, join us and share your knowledge, stories and love for your pets.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

CECIL FRANCES ALEXANDER (1818-1895)

 

How Could You?
Copyright Jim Willis
2001

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 have 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
goodbye 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 you, My Beloved
Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May
everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

Also see anniversary update at the end of this page.

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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 America's
shelters. Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a non-commercial purpose,
as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice. Please use it
to help educate, on your Websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet
office bulletin boards. I appreciate receiving copies of newsletters which
reprint "How Could You?" or "The Animals' Savior," sent to me at the address below.

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. If you are a member
of an animal welfare organization, I encourage you to participate in the
Spay/Neuter Billboard Campaign from ISAR (International Society for Animal
Rights); for more information, please visit: http://www.i-s-a-r.com

Thank you,
Jim Willis

http://jimwillis0.tripod.com/tiergarten/id21.html

 

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