Why Rescue? I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter...the cast-offs of human society. I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness, and betrayal. And I was angry.
"God," I said, "this is terrible! Why don't you do something?"
God was silent for a moment, and then spoke softly, "I have done something," was the reply. "I created you."
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."
"My animals have taught me to not see breeding, pedigrees, colors, physical or personality oddities..."
"Look into my eyes; no human will ever love you as much as I do."
"Many people will walk in and out of our lives, but only true friends will leave paw prints in our hearts."
"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."
Fetching papers, chasing sticks,
Showing off their latest tricks,
Dogs are loyal and loveable and smart.
Mooching goodies, running laps,
taking baths or walks or naps,
Dogs will win you over from the start.
Handsome faces, funny mugs,
Nudging, nuzzling, begging hugs,
Dogs can make those blues and blahs depart.
Lean or chubby, short or tall, bushy tail or none at all,
On your lap or on the go, wagging out a big hello,
Dogs will find their way into your heart.
I got to the gate of Heaven yesturday
after we said good-bye.
I began to miss you terribly,
because I heard you cry.
Suddenly there was an Angel and she asked me
to enter Heaven's Gate
i asked her if I could stay outside
for someone who'd be late.
I wouldn't make much noise you see,
I wouldn't bark or howl.
I'll only wait here patienly
and play with my tennis ball.
The Angel said I could stay right here
and wait for you to come
Because Heaven just wouldn't be Heaven
if I went in alone.
So I'll wait right here, you take your time,
But keep me in your heart.
Because Heaven just wouldn't be Heaven
Without you to warm my heart.
A faithful dog will play with you
and laugh with you...or cry...
She'll gladly serve to stay with
you, nor ever reason why...
And when you're feeling out of
sorts, somehow she'll understand.
She'll watch you with her shining
eyes and try to lick your hand.
When everything is said and
done, I guess this isn't odd,
For when you spell Dog backwards
you will get the Name of God.
My family brought me home cradled in their arms,
They cuddled me and smiled at me and said I was full of charm.
They played with me and laughed with me and showered me with toys.
I sure do love my family, especially the little girls and boys.
The children loved to feed me; they gave me special treats.
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'll not 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 one and the new.
The kids and I would grab a rug, for hours we would tug.
So I thought I did the right thing when I chewed the bedroom rug.
They said that I was out of control and would have to live outside.
This I didn't 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 then they each kissed me good-bye.
If I'd only had some training as a little pup.
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 I have a second chance?
Do I go home today?
If you don't want to be greeted with paws and swinging tails, Don't come inside because dogs live here.
If loose hair that doesn't match your clothing or furniture bothers you, don't come inside - because dogs live here.
If you don't like the feel of a cold nose or wet tongue, Don't come inside because dogs live here.
If you don't want to step over many scattered toys, Don't come inside because dogs live here.
If you think that a home ought to smell of perfume, Don't come inside because dogs live here.
But if you don't mind all of this, you will be instantly loved when you come inside because dogs live here!
A man and his dog were walking along a road... The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead...He remembered dying, and that the dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them...After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold...He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?" "This is Heaven, sir," the man answered..."Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked..."Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open..."Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked..."I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets." The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going...After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book... "Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?" "Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there". The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in." "How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog... "There should be a bowl by the pump." They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, hen he gave some to the dog...When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them... "What do you call this place?" the traveler asked... "This is Heaven," was the answer..."Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too." "Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell." "Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?" "No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."
So this is where we part, My Friend,
and you'll run on, around the bend,
gone from sight, but not from mind,
new pleasures there you'll surely find.
I will go on, I'll find the strength,
life measures quality, not its length.
One long embrace before you leave,
share one last look, before I grieve.
There are others, that much is true,
but they be they, and they aren't you.
And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought,
will remember well all you've taught.
Your place I'll hold, you will be missed,
the fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
And as you journey to your final rest,
take with you this...I loved you best.
Jim Willis 2002
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 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, 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, especially 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. 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 or cat, 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, 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. 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 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.
Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and, shall we say, love.
The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye and where the other should have been was a hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner.
Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby, striped type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, and even his shoulders Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. "That's one UGLY cat!!!" All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave. Ugly always had the same reaction.
If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around your feet in forgiveness. Whenever he spied children, he would come running, meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love.
If you ever picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find. One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbor's dogs. They did not respond kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was laying, it was apparent Ugly's sad life was almost at an end.
As I picked him up and tried to carry him home, I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. It must be hurting him terribly, I thought. Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear. Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying, was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye towards me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring.
Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion. At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.
Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly.
Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be thankful. He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply. To give my total to those I cared for. Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but for me... I will always try to be Ugly.
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that BEFORE you get me.
2. Give me time to understand what it is you want from me.
3. Place your trust in me, it is crucial to my well-being.
4. Don't be angry at me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, entertainment and friends. I have only YOU.
5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget.
7. Please don't hit me. I can't hit back, but I can bite and scratch and I really don't want to do that.
8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right foods or I've been out in the sun too long or my heart is getting old and weak!
9. Take care of me when I get old. You will get old too.
10. Go with me on difficult journeys. NEVER say, "I can't bear to watch, or let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if you are there. And always remember, I LOVE YOU!