Saving one dog may not change the world, but the world has surely changed for that one dog.
A Letter to Rescue:
"Please Help! After two long years of being on a waiting list for a dog, we have been notified by the breed rescue that, at long last, our number has come up and... WE ARE HAVING A PUPPY!!!
We must get rid of our children IMMEDIATELY because we just know how time consuming our new little puppy is going to be and it just wouldn't be fair to the children.
Since our little puppy will be arriving Monday we must place the children up for adoption this weekend! They are described as:
One male Child--His name is Tommy, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), light blonde hair, blue eyes. Four years old. Excellent disposition. He doesn't bite. Temperament tested. Does have a problem with peeing directly into the toilet. He has had the chicken pox and is current on all his shots. Tonsils have already been removed. Tommy eats everything and is very clean, house trained and gets along with others. Does not run with scissors and with a little training he should be able to read soon.
One female child--Her name is Lexie, Caucasian(English/Irish mix), strawberry blonde hair, green eyes, quite freckled. Two years old. Can be surly at times. Non-biter, thumb sucker. Has been temperament tested but needs a little attitude adjusting occasionally. She is current on all shots still has her tonsils, is very healthy and can be affectionate. Gets along with other little girls but does not like to share her toys and therefore would do best in a one child household. She is a very quick learner and is currently working on her housetraining. Shouldn't take long at all.
We really do LOVE our children so much and want to do what's right for them. That is why we contacted a rescue group. We simply can no longer keep them. Also we are afraid they may hurt our new puppy. I hope you understand that ours is a UNIQUE situation and we have a real emergency here! They must be placed into your rescue by Sunday night at the latest or we will be forced to drop them off at the orphanage or leave them along some dark, country road. Our priority now has to be our new puppy.
Thank you for your understanding and help!"
-Author: Robyn Christensen
One child came upon another child on the beach one day.
The second child was walking along, looking down, then every few feet would bend down, pick something up out of the sand, and toss it into the ocean.
The first child asked what kind of game this was.
The second child replied, "I'm saving starfish."
The first child was incredulous. "Are you kidding? There are too many!
What are you going to do? Spend all day and all night out here, tossing starfish back into the ocean?
You'll never save them all. And anyway, in the grand scheme of life, they're just starfish. It doesn't matter if they live or die."
The second child scooped another starfish up from the sand, considered it briefly, then hurled it into the ocean.
"It mattered to that one."
The Pet Store Puppy
I don't remember much from the place I was born. It was cramped and dark, and we were never played with by the humans. I remember Mom and her soft fur, but she was often sick, and very thin. She had hardly any milk for me and my brothers and sisters. I remember many of them dying, and I missed them so.
I do remember the day I was taken from Mom. I was so sad and scared, my milk teeth had only just come in, and I really should have been with Mom still, but she was so sick, and the Humans kept saying that they wanted money and were sick of the "mess" that me and my sister made. So we were crated up and taken to a strange place. Just the two of us. We huddled together and were scared, still no human hands came to pet or love us.
So many sights and sounds, and smells! We are in a store where there are many different animals! Some that squawk! some that meow! Some that Peep! My sister and I are jammed into a small cage, I hear other puppies here. I see humans look at me, I like the 'little humans', the kids. they look so sweet, and fun, like they would play with me!
All day we stay in the small cage, sometimes mean people will hit the glass and frighten us, every once in a while we are taken out to be held or shown to humans. Some are gentle, some hurt us, we always hear "Aw they are So cute! I want one!" but we never get to go with any.
My sister died last night, when the store was dark. I lay my head on her soft fur and felt the life leave her small thin body. I had heard them say she was sick, and that I should be sold at a "discount price" so that I would quickly leave the store. I think my soft whine was the only one that mourned for her as her body was taken out of the cage in the morning and dumped.
Today, a family came and bought me! Oh happy day! They are a nice family, they really, really wanted me! They had bought a dish and food and the little girl held me so tenderly in her arms. I love her so much! The mom and dad say what a sweet and good puppy I am! I am named Angel. I love to lick my new humans!
The family takes such good care of me, they are loving and tender and sweet. They gently teach me right and wrong, give me good food, and lots of love! I want only to please these wonderful people! I love the little girl and I enjoy running and playing with her.
Today I went to the veterinarian. it was a strange place and I was frightened. I got some shots, but my best friend the little girl held me softly and said it would be OK. So I relaxed. The Vet must have said sad words to my beloved family, because they looked awfully sad. I heard Severe hip dysplasia, and something about my heart... I heard the vet say something about, back yard breeders and my parents not being tested. I know not what any of that means, just that it hurts me to see my family so sad. But they still love me, and I still love them very much!
I am 6 months old now. Where most other puppies are robust and rowdy, it hurts me terribly just to move. The pain never lets up. It hurts to run and play with my beloved little girl, and I find it hard to breath. I keep trying my best to be the strong pup I know I am supposed to be, but it is so hard. It breaks my heart to see the little girl so sad, and to hear the Mom and Dad talk about "it might now be the time". Several times I have went to that veterinarians place, and the news is never good. Always talk about Congenital Problems. I just want to feel the warm sunshine and run, and play and nuzzle with my family.
Last night was the worst, Pain has been my constant companion now, it hurts even to get up and get a drink. I try to get up but can only whine in pain. I am taken in the car one last time. Everyone is so sad, and I don't know why. Have I been bad? I try to be good and loving, what have I done wrong? Oh if only this pain would be gone! If only I could soothe the tears of the little girl. I reach out my muzzle to lick her hand, but can only whine in pain.
The veterinarians table is so cold. I am so frightened. The humans all hug and love me, they cry into my soft fur. I can feel their love and sadness. I manage to lick softly their hands. Even the vet doesn't seem so scary today. he is gentle and I sense some kind of relief for my pain. The little girl holds me softly and I thank her, for giving me all her love. I feel a soft pinch in my foreleg. The pain is beginning to lift, I am beginning to feel a peace descend upon me. I can now softly lick her hand. My vision is becoming dreamlike now, and I see my Mother and my brothers and sisters, in a far off green place. They tell me there is no pain there, only peace and happiness. I tell the family, good-bye in the only way I know how, a soft wag of my tail and a nuzzle of my nose. I had hoped to spend many, many moons with them, but it was not meant to be. "You see," said the veterinarian, "Pet shop puppies do not come from ethical breeders."
The pain ends now, and I know it will be many years until I see my beloved family again. If only things could have been different.
(This story may be published or reprinted in the hopes that it will stop unethical breeders and those who breed only for money and not for the betterment of the breed. Copyright 1999 J. Ellis)
A Dog's Prayer
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside ... for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements ... and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth ... though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land ... for you are my god ... and I am your devoted worshipper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand
ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest... and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.
-Author, Beth Norman Harris
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 abandoned 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 cactus burr 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 even attempt to help your dog. Some would run him off, others would call the county, or the city pound and the fate you thought you saved him from would have at least prevented 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 is dead. He has died, lonely and alone. I knelt next to him and cursed 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 if he were to awaken at this moment, and if I were to be you, his eyes would sparkle with recognition and his tail wag with forgiveness.
Do I Go Home Today?
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 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 ones 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 that 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 then they each kissed me goodbye.
If I'd only had some classes, 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 that mean I have a second chance?
DO I GO HOME TODAY?
-Author, Sandi Thompson
I STOLE YOUR DOG TODAY
I stole your dog today.
No, I didn't set a foot on your property, but from the condition of your dog, I can imagine what it looks like...the word "junkyard" comes to mind.
I found her along a road, with a heavy chain wrapped around her neck, still attached to rotten boards from her doghouse, with rusty six-penny nails protruding. Not only did I know that most of the town had already ignored her, judging by where I found her, but I knew that if she had gotten into the woods the "cross" that she dragged behind her would have wrapped around a tree until starvation or thirst killed her. The local populace is usually deaf to the sound or blind to the sight of an animal in need, unless they decide to shoot one for trespassing.
That her ribs showed, that her ears were filthy, that her overall condition was poor and that her coat and eyes were dull, were good indications that you didn't deserve her. But just to make sure, I checked with the local authorities for a report of a missing (unlicensed) dog matching her description and to see if you'd placed a "lost dog" advertisement in the local newspaper. You hadn't, which I can only surmise means that you do not miss her. That's rather convenient, because the fact that she is not spayed, probably unvaccinated, and possibly heartworm positive means that restoring her health could cost me around a thousand dollars.
Perhaps it may be some small comfort to know that she doesn't miss you. In fact, her very act of escape made it clear that she'd had enough of your brand of pet guardianship. It took her about a day to realize that I'm not you, that I won't hurt her, that despite our brief acquaintanceship, I love her. It took two days for her to realize that the other animals who live here accept her and that one of the joys she has been missing has been the companionship of other dogs. It took three days for her to appreciate the ecstasy of a home cooked meal and that a couch is meant to be reclined on, and that she no longer has to sleep outside - in fact, when the thunder starts, she'll get a hug and her ears rubbed, and I'll make a fool of myself with baby talk.
She has a beautiful name now. Already in the first week she has come to look more like she should. Her eyes sparkle and she has learned to wag her tail in greeting. She has stopped flinching when I make a sudden movement, because she knows now that I won't beat her, in fact, she rarely leaves my side. She's even become brave enough to bark at a cat and today I watched from the window as she initiated play with the other dogs.
No, it's clear she does not miss you or her former life of neglect on a chain.
Of all the things that have become apparent from my brief relationship with her - such as the forgiving nature of the dog, their wonderful ability to heal and to trust, the fact that love can work miracles - one of the most apparent is what a fool you are. She was possibly the most trusting, loyal and loving being in your life, and you consigned her to a life of filth and loneliness until she made the best choice she's ever made when she broke free.
Perhaps her guardian angel helped her escape. Lest anyone should mistake me for an angel, I will admit that one day I hope to be as good as she; I believe she forgave you within the first twenty-four hours of her new life for the about four years of her previous "life," while I still wrestle with the part of me that hopes that one day you will burn in Hell.
It's not clear yet whether she'll remain here or whether I'll find her a loving home where she can count on more individual attention than I can give her, but one thing is certain, this is one bit of stolen "property" who is never returning to you.
So sue me, prosecute me, plead with the courts that she is rightfully yours...I'm convinced this is the best "crime" I've ever committed. Hardly anything has pleased me more than the day I stole your dog. I need only look into her beautiful brown eyes to know that she'd defend my decision with her life. If we have one prayer, it is that you will not replace her, and if we have one special day to commemorate together, it is the day I stole your dog and the day she stole my heart.
Dedicated to "Willow" in appreciation for her wonderful good sense in running away.
Author & Copyright Jim Willis 2002