Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How Could You?

Not trying to offend anyone, but now that I work in a rescue, I see and read more about this and am part of rescuing dogs from shelters. I have been trying to think of how to put it, but this says it pretty well. If you think this might be offensive to you, please don't read it.

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 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 anymore 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 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
defend 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 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

You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my
eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and lead
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 realised I could not compete with the
frolicking for attention happy puppies, oblivious to
their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and

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 couldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or
to 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
and Canadian animal shelters. Anyone is welcome to
distribute this essay for a non commercial purpose, as
long as it is properly attributed with the copyright

Remember….. They love UNCONDITIONALLY, if you give
them LOVE.

Copyrights Jim Willis for non commercial distribution


Saturday, March 17, 2007

I'll be back soon

I have been crazy busy lately.This weekend we had one of Annalynn's birthday parties Friday night, I was at a dog training camp all day Saturday and headed back tomorrow. When I get home, I'll have about an hour to get ready for her other party and then maybe this week I'll get a breather. Don't give up on me, I'll be back real soon.