from thirst hunger and malnutrition
Freedom from pain, injury or disease
express normal behavior
fear and distress
When I was
a puppy I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me
your child and despite the number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered
throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad” you would shake your finger at me as ask “how
could you?” – but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly rub.
housetraining 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, listing 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 and stops for ice-cream (I only got the cone
because ” ice cream is bad for dogs” you’d say) I took long naps in the sun waiting for you
to come home at the end of the day.
you began to spend more time at work and on your career, and more time
searching for a human mate. I waited for you patently, comforted you through
your heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided about bad decisions, and
romped with glee at your homecomings and when you fell in love.
your wife is not a “dog person” – still I welcomed her into our home, and
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 banish to another room, or to a dog
crate. O how wanted to love them but
became a “prisoner of love”.
began to grow, I became their friend, they clung to my fur and pulled
themselves up on their wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my
ears and gave me kisses on the nose. I
loved everything about their - touch because your touch was now so
infrequent, and I would have defended them with my life if need be.
sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams. Together we waited for the sound of your
car in the driveway. There hade been a time, when others asked if you had a
dog, you produced a photo from your wallet and told them stories about
me. These last 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.
have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an
that does not allow pets. You made the
right decision for your ”family,” but there was a time when I was your only
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 paper work 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 or cat, even ones 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”. I worried about him, and the lessons you had just taught him
about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a pat on the head, avoided my
eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leach with you. You have a deadline to meet, and so have I
had left the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move
months ago and made no attempt to time me another good home. They shook their heads and said “how could
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 changed your mind- that this was all a
bad dream …. Or at least someone who cared, 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..
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 quite room. She placed me
on the table, rubbed my ears and told me not to worry. My heart pounded with anticipation of what
was to come, but there was also a sense of relief, the prisoner of love had
run out days. As is my nature I was
more concerned about her. The burden
which she bears weights heavily on her and I know that, the same way I knew
your every mood.
placed a tourniquet around my foreleg, as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand the same way I used to
comfort you so many years ago. She
expertly slipped 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”.
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 won’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. 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
meant for her. It was for you.. My
beloved master I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever.
one in your life continue to show you so much loyalty?