When God made the earth and sky, the flowers and the trees,
He then made all the animals, the fish, the birds, the bees.
And when at last He'd finished, not one was quite the same.
He said I'll walk this world of mine and give each one a name.
And so he traveled far and wide and everywhere he went,
A little creature followed him until its strength was spent.
When all were named upon the earth and in the sky and sea,
The little creature said, "Dear Lord, there's no name left for me!"
Kindly the Father said to him, "I've left you to the end,
I've turned my own name back to front and called you Dog, my friend."
THE RESCUER'S CREED
I promise I will take your unwanted animals.
I will heal their wounds, their diseases, their broken bones.
I will give them the medical attention they need and deserve.
I will nurture their starvation, and give them a warm place to sleep.
I will spay and neuter them, vaccinate them against the diseases that can harm them.
I will treat them and honor them.
I will buy them toys, blankets, balls, and teach them to play.
I will speak softly to them.
I will try to teach them not to fear, not to cry, and not to hate.
I will whisper sweet, kind, gentle words into their ears, while gently trying to stroke their fear, their pain, and their scars away.
I will face their emotional scars and give them time to overcome them.
I will socialize them, potty train them, teach them to be obedient, show them dignity, and hold their paws, and stroke their ears if they have endured too much and walk them over the Rainbow Bridge,
BUT most of all I will teach them Love.
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 the 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 the 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 worshiper.
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.
How Could you?
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 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 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 and 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, and 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, 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
~Copyright Jim Willis 2001 ~
Copyright © Perfect Harmony Animal Rescue & Sanctuary 1995 - 2018