How Could You?

Copyright © Jim Willis 2001, all rights reserved
Posted w/permission and for reference source: 

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 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 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.
If for some reason you can not keep a puppy or dog you adopt from us…
under NO circumstances is it to be placed in an animal shelter… 
return it to me and I will find it a home… 
this is not a refund offer…
it is a placement offer.
However, I would be willing to refund a percentage of the adoption fee in certain situations.
A Dog's Prayer 
Author Unknown
Treat me kind, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is
more grateful for kindness than my loving heart.  Do not break my
spirit with a stick, for I would lick your hand between 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 the sound of your footstep falls upon my ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside for I am now a
domestic animal, no longer used to the bitter elements.  And I ask no
greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.
 If you had no home, I would prefer to follow you through ice and
snow, rather than rest on the softest pillow in the warmest home in
the land.

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 fresh 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.

And master, when I am very old, if the Great Master sees fit to
deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you.  
Rather hold my trusting body gently.  I shall leave you knowing, with
the last breath I draw, my fate was always in your hands.





© Kiss My Cocoa aka Chocolate Great Danes