DO I GO HOME TODAY?
by Sandi Thompson
My family brought me home.
Cradled in their arms.
They cuddled me and smiled at me,
And said I was full of charms.
They played with me.
And laughed with me.
They showered me with toys.
I sure do love my family,
Especially the girls and boys.
The children loved to feed me.
They even let me sleep with them,
All snuggled in the sheets.
I used to go for walks,
Often several times a day.
They even fought to hold the leash,
I'm very proud to say.
These are the things I can't forget,
A cherished memory.
I now live in the Shelter,
Without my family.
They used to laugh and praise me,
When I played with that old shoe,
But I didn't know the difference
Between the old and the new.
The kids and I would grab a rag,
For hours we would tug/
So I thought I did the right thing,
When I chewed the bedroom rug.
They said I was out of control,
And would have to live outside.
This I did not understand,
Although I tried and tried.
The walks stopped one by one
They said they hadn't time,
I wish that I could change things.
I wish I knew my crime.
My life became so lonely,
In the backyard on a chain.
I barked and barked all day long.
To keep from going insane.
So they brought me to the Shelter,
But were embarrassed to say why,
They said I caused an allergy,
And kissed me goodby.
If I'd only had some classes,
I wouldn't have been.,
So hard to handle,
When I was all grown up.
"You only have one day left,"
I heard the worker say.
Does this mean a second chance?
Do I go home today?
Now that I'm home, bathed, settled and fed,
All nicely tucked in my warm new bed.
I'd like to open my baggage
Lest I forget,
There is so much to carry -
So much to regret.
Hmmm.. Yes there it is, right on the top -
Let's unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss,
And there by my leash hides Fear and Shame.
As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave -
I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain.
I loved them, the others, the ones who left me,
But I wasn't good enough - for they didn't want me.
Will you add to my baggage?
Will you help me unpack?
Or will you just look at my things
And take me right back?
Do you have the time to help me unpack?
To put away my baggage,
To never re-pack?
I pray that you do - I'm so tired you see,
But I do come with baggage -
Will you still want me?
by Evelyn Colbath
A Dog Sits Waiting
By Kathy Flood
A dog sits waiting in the cold autumn sun,
Too faithful to leave, too frightened to run.
He's been here for days now with nothing to do
But sit by the road, waiting for you.
He can't understand why you left him that day
He thought you and he were stopping to play.
He's sure you'll come back, and that's why he stays
How long will he suffer: How many more days?
His legs have grown weak, his throat's parched and dry
He's sick now from hunger and falls with a sigh.
He lays down his head and closes his eyes
I wish you could see how a waiting dog dies.
Please! Do NOT abandon a Pet.
Give them at least the chance of another home,
by taking them to a pet shelter.
I Found Your Dog Today
I found your dog today. No, he has not been adopted by anyone.
Most of us who live out here own as many dogs as we want,
those who do not own dogs do so because they choose not to.
I know you hoped he would find a good home
when you left him out here, but he did not.
When I first saw him he was miles from the nearest house
and he was alone, thirsty, thin and limping from a sticker in his paw.
How I wish I could have been you as I stood before him.
To have seen his tail wag and his eyes brighten as he bounded into your arms,
knowing you would find him, knowing you had not forgotten him.
To see the forgiveness in his eyes for the suffering and pain
he had known in his never-ending quest to find you.....But I was not you.
And despite all my persuasion, his eyes beheld a stranger.
He did not trust, he would not come.
He turned and continued his journey,
one he was sure would soon bring him to you.
He does not understand you are not looking for him.
He only knows you are not there, he only knows he must find you.
This is more important than food or water
or the stranger who can give him these things.
Persuasion and pursuit seemed futile; I did not even know his name.
I drove home, filled a bucket with water and a bowl with food
and returned to where we had met.
I could see no sign of him, but I left my offering under the tree
where he had sought shelter from the sun and a chance to rest.
You see, he is not of the desert. When you domesticated him ,
you took away any instinct of survival out here.
His purpose demands that he travel during the day.
He doesn't know that the sun and heat will claim his life.
He only knows he has to find you.
I waited hoping he would return to the tree;
hoping my gift would build an element of trust
so I might bring him home, remove the burr from his paw,
give him a cool place to lie and help him understand
that the part of his life with you is now over.
He did not return that morning and at dusk
the water and food were still there untouched.
And I worried. You must understand that many people
would not attempt to help your dog.
Some would run him off, others would call the county
and the fate you thought you saved him from would be preempted
by his suffering from days without food and water.
I returned again before dark. I did not see him.
I went again early the next morning
only to find the food and water still untouched
If only you were here so you could call his name.
Your voice is so familiar to him.
I began pursuit in the direction he had taken yesterday,
doubt overshadowing my hope of finding him.
His search for you was desperate, it could take him many miles in 24 hours.
It is hours later and a good distance from where we first met,
but I have found your dog.
His thirst has been stopped, it is no longer a torment to him.
His hunger has disappeared, he no longer aches.
The burrs in his paws bother him no more.
Your dog has been set free from his burdens, you see, your dog has died.
I kneel next to him and I curse you for not being here yesterday
so I could have seen the glow, if just for a moment, in those now vacant eyes.
I pray that his journey has taken him to that place I think you hoped he would find.
If only you knew what he went through to reach it....and I agonize,
for I know, that were he to awaken at this moment, and I were to be you,
his eyes would sparkle with recognition and his tail wag with forgiveness.
Chained Dog's Plea
I wish someone would tell me
What it is that I've done wrong.
Why do I have to stay chained up
And left alone so long?
They seemed so glad to have me
When I came here as a pup.
There were so many things we'd do
While I was growing up.
But now the Master "hasn't time"
The Mistress says I shed.
She doesn't want me in the house
Not even to be fed.
The Children never walk me.
They always say, "Not now."
I wish that I could please them,
Won't someone tell me how?
All I had, you see, was love.
I wish they would explain
Why they said they wanted mine,
And then left it on a chain.
-Edith Lassen Johnson
Sadly MANY dogs are taken to shelters between the age of 6 months to 1 year.
People think they are 'adorable' when they are a small puppy. Then when the dog is
no longer small and cute and the big puppy is going through the natural chewing stage,
they 'get rid of them', like the dog was a 'disposable object' which had no feelings!
Animals do have feelings and are more loyal than many people!
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?
By 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 bellyrub.
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 dogspeak, 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 animal shelters.
Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial 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. 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. - Jim Willis