WHEN I AM OLD…
When I am Old…
I shall wear Turquoise and soft gray sweatshirts…
and a bandana over my silver hair…
and I shall spend my Social Security Checks
on Sweet Wine and My Dogs…
and sit in my house on my well-worn chair,
and listen to my dog’s breathing.
I will sneak out in the middle of a warm Summer night
and take my dogs for a run, if my old bones will allow…
and when people come to call,
I will smile and nod as I show them my dogs…
and talk of them and about them…
The Ones so Beloved of the Past
and the Ones so Beloved of Today….
I still will work hard cleaning after them
and mopping and feeding them
and whispering their names in a soft, loving way.
I will wear the gleaming sweat on my throat like a jewel,
and I will be an embarrassment to all…
and my family…
who have not yet found the peace in being free
to have dogs as your Best Friends….
These friends who always wait,
at any hour, for your footfall…
and eagerly jump to their feet out of a sound sleep,
to greet you as if you are a God.
With warm eyes full of adoring love
and hope that you will stay and hug their big, strong necks…
and kiss their dear sweet heads…
and whisper to them of your love
and the beautiful pleasure of their very special company….
I look in the Mirror…
and see I am getting old….
this is the kind of woman I am…
and have always been.
Loving dogs is easy, they are part of me,
accept me for who I am,
my dogs appreciate my presence in their lives…
when I am old this will be important to me…
you will understand when you are old….
and if you have dogs to love too.
A MESSAGE FROM MAX:
J.D. Ellis 2001
Do you see a spirit, a soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time?
That is all I ask. To slow down if even for a few minutes to be with me. So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind, passing. Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes we age so slowly before your eyes that you do not even seem to know, until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and clouded eyes. Still the love is always there, even when we take that long sleep, to run free in distant lands.
I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the waters from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their
souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just “One more day” with me.
Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me. We have now, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor. And look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as “alpha” or as a “trainer” or even a “Mom or Dad”, come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another’s eyes, and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general. You decided to have me in your life (I hope) because you wanted a soul to share just such things with. Someone very different from you, and here I am. I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a “Dog on two feet”. I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.
Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if even for only 15 minutes. Look deep in my eyes, and whisper to my ears. Speak with your heart, with your joy and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow, and life is oh so very short.
Max (on behalf of all canines everywhere)
by Crystal Ward Kent
When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey – a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage.
If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about yourself, and most of all, about love. You will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark.
Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life’s simple pleasures – jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears.
If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or log will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information.
Your pace may be slower – except when heading home to the food dish – but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in the field.
Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details – the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop; we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essence all its own.
Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting on a screen. (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or noting the flick and flash of fireflies through the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life’s most important details slip by.
You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle looking for the cat food brand your feline must have, buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because your pet enjoys the ride.
You will roll in the snow, wrestle with chewie toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie – with a cat in hot pursuit – all in the name of love.
Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will
wear less dark clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves the crinkly sound.
You will learn the true measure of love – the steadfast, undying kind that says, “It doesn’t matter where we are or what we do, or how life treats us as long as we are together.” Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the human race.
And you will learn humility. The look in my dog’s eyes often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway.
If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will be not just a better person, but the person your pet always knew you to be – the one they were proud to call beloved friend.
I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will follow a trail you cannot yet go down. And you will have to find the strength and love to let them go. A pet’s time on earth is far too short -especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really, just for awhile, and during these brief years they are generous enough to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left.
The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun. The young pup of boundless energy wakes up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew that this journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts they would be broken.
But give them we must for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes, and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final gift and let them run on ahead – young and whole once more. “Godspeed, good friend,” we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again.
THE DOG’S COLD NOSE
by Arthur Guiterman
When Noah, perceiving ’twas time to embark,
Persuaded the creatures to enter the Ark,
The dog, with a friendliness truly sublime,
Assisted in herding them two at a time.
He drove in the elephants, zebras and gnus
Until they were packed like a box full of screws,
The cat in the cupboard, the mouse on the shelf,
The bug in the crack; then he backed in himself.
But such was the lack of available space
He couldn’t tuck all of him into the place;
So after the waters had flooded the plain
And down from the heavens fell blankets of rain
He stood with his muzzle thrust out through the door
The whole forty days of that terrible pour!
Because of which drenching, zoologists hold,
The nose of a healthy dog always is cold!
A TRIBUTE TO THE DOG
from an address to a jury in 1870 by George Graham Vest
The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. the money that a man has he may lose. It flies away form him, perhaps when he needs it most. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do honor when success is with you may be the first ones to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.
The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if her were a prince. When all other friends desert, he alone remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journeys through the heavens.
If fortunes drive the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks for no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue the way, there by the graveside will be found the noble dog, his head between the paws and his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true, even in death.”
His client had been suing for $200 against a man for killing his dog; the jury deliberated for two minutes before awarding $500 damages to him.
When the Man waked up he said,
‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’
And the Woman said,
‘His name is not Wild Dog any more,
but the First Friend,
because he will be our friend
for always and always and always.’
DOGS DON’T LIVE LONG ENOUGH
This is about a 10 year old dog (“Belker”) who had cancer. The vet who wrote this story told of going to the family’s home to put the dog to sleep, and out of its misery, in its own home. The parents thought their 4 year old son (Shane) should witness the experience to help get closure on the family pet’s death.
After the euthanasia procedure, the vet wrote the following : “We sat together for a while after Belker’s death wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up…”I know why”. Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I had never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, ”Everybody is born so they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody and being nice, right? Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
by Dr. Thomas J. Miranda
Jimmy lived in the country away from the city. Near his home, there was a beautiful lake surrounded by a meadow, some woods and fields.
Jimmy and his friend Willie loved to go down to the lake to watch all the animals, birds and fish. There were cardinals, crows, finches, robins and many other beautiful birds. Other creatures included butterflies, chipmunks,
squirrels, rabbits and now and then he would see a fox.
One day as Jimmy and Willie were sitting by the lake watching all the action around them, they began to wonder how long it would take to create these creatures. For example, the butterflies are very delicate, but have
beautiful colors. Wouldn’t you think that it would take a long time to paint the beautiful colors on such a creature. And what about a caterpillar? With all the legs on a caterpillar, it would surely take a long time to make one of these crawly creatures.
Willie did not know the answer, but his uncle Fred always came down to the lake to fish. “Why don’t we ask him”, Willie said. So the two boys got on their bikes and rode down to the edge of the lake where Uncle Fred was
fishing. “Do you know how long it takes to make some of these creatures?” they asked Uncle Fred.
Uncle Fred was quiet for a few minutes, then told them that these creatures are made by God in the time it takes for one of you to blink your eye. That is not much time is it? The boys were impressed!!
“But”, Uncle Fred said, “There is one creature that takes a long time for God to make”. “Do you know what animal that is?” asked Uncle Fred.
The boys thought about it for awhile and suggested a bird, a whale, a horse, but they were all wrong.
Finally Uncle Fred told them that it was the Dog!!! It takes God eight hours to make a dog. The reason it takes so long is that God spends 7 hours and 59 minutes just to make the nose. After that God can quickly finish the job in less that a minute.
CREATION VERSION I
It is reported that the following edition of the Book of Genesis was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. If authentic, it would shed light on the question, “Where do pets come from?”.
And Adam said, “Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked with me everyday. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me.”
And God said, “No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will know I love you, even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish and childish and unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself.”
And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam. And it was a good animal. And God was pleased.
And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged his tail. And Adam said, “But Lord, I have already named all the animals of the Kingdom and all the good names are taken and I cannot think of a name for this new animal.”
And God said, “No problem! Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG.”
And Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and loved him. And Adam was comforted. And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail.
After a while, it came to pass that Adam’s guardian angel came to the Lord and said, “Lord, Adam has become filled with pride. He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved, but no one has taught him humility.”
And the Lord said, “No problem! I will create for him a companion who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The companion will remind him of his limitations, so he will know that he is not always worthy of adoration.”
And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam. And Cat would not obey Adam.
And when Adam gazed into Cat’s eyes, he was reminded that he was not the supreme being. And Adam learned humility.
And God was pleased. And Adam was greatly improved.
And Cat did not care one way or the other.
CREATION VERSION II
Donald B. Thorburn
God summoned a beast from the field and He said, “Behold man, created in my image. Therefore adore him. You shall protect him in the wilderness, shepherd his flocks, watch over his children, accompany him wherever he may go – even unto civilization. You shall be his ally, his slave and his companion.
“To do these things”, God said, “I endow you with these instincts uncommon to other beasts: faithfulness, devotion and understanding surpassing those of man himself. Lest it impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words. Let no fault of language cleave an accord beyond that of man with any other beast or even man with man. Speak to your master only with your mind and through honest eyes. Walk by his side, sleep in his doorway, forage for him, ward off his enemies, carry his burdens, share his afflictions, love him and comfort him. And in return for this, man will fulfill your needs and wants, which shall be only food, shelter and affection. So be silent and be a friend to man. Guide him through the perils along the way to the land that I have promised him. This shall be your destiny and your immortality.” So spake the Lord. And the dog heard and was content.
Both these quotes came from the Newsletter of the American Dog Owner’s Association. This is a praiseworthy organization whose main focus is to prevent anti-dog legislations and restrictions on our rights to enjoy our dogs. As a person interested in German Shepherds, who are often labeled untrustworthy and placed on breed persecution lists, I would urge you to become a member of ADOA. Contact them at ADOA, 1654 Columbia Turnpike, Castleton, NY 12033. See their website at http://www.adoa.org
CREATION VERSION III
from the Billings (Montana) Gazette
On the first day, God created the dog.
On the second day, God created man; to care for the dog.
On the third day, God created all the other animals to serve as possible food for the dog.
On the fourth day, God created honest toil for man; so he could afford to care for the dog.
On the fifth day, God created veterinary science; to keep the dog healthy and the man broke.
On the sixth day, God created the tennis ball; so the dog might, or might not, retrieve it.
On the seventh day, God tried to rest; but he had to walk the dog.
by Dr. Thomas J. Miranda (1992)
When God pondered His first creation, He realized that such a creature must possess Love, Loyalty, Caring, Understanding and Devotion. A creature who would respect all the beautiful creatures, trees, and plants in His Kingdom. After several design sketches, He came up with a creature which had all these properties. His first creation walked on four legs, was black and followed Him everywhere. God was so impressed with this creature, He decided to give it a name. After pondering on this, God came up with a brilliant idea. “I’ll give him my Name spelled backwards”, He said. So this is how the dog got its name.
Now Dog loved God very much. Dog looked like a Labrador Retriever and went everywhere God went. When God left for work in the morning, Dog would follow Him to the gate and watch Him until He disappeared in the distance. Poor Dog was very lonely until the end of the day, when he would see God coming up the path. God would be tired after a busy day creating the stars, galaxies and everything we now have. What pleased Him so much was to see Dog waiting eagerly for Him at the gate. Dog would wag his tail, bark and jump for joy. He would follow God into the house and stay with Him until bedtime. At night, Dog would sleep at God’s feet and also keep a careful ear for any strange sounds.
Everything was so good with God and Dog until one day God let Dog follow Him to work. Dog sniffed everything he could and ran circles around God until He reached His office. One day, Dog was lying on the front step of God’s office when an Archangel went by. Dog had not seen an Archangel before so he thought it would be fun to chase him. The Archangel ran for his life and finally took flight to escape Dog. Although Dog thought that this was fun, he soon found out that this was not the proper thing to do. Several other angels also complained to God about Dog. God did not want to hurt Dog, so he decided to create a companion for Dog; especially since God was getting busier with all the creation work.
So God made man in His image and likeness to keep Dog company. Dog and man got along well, even though Dog never forgot the wonderful times he had being so near his God. We can say that “Dog is man’s best friend”, but we should remember that Dog is also God’s best friend.
And so, this is how and why the dog was created. Though man has lost sight of the Creator’s need for us to care for His Kingdom, the dog still has all the wonderful traits which God had required in His final design. So the next time you see a beautiful dog remember that the dog was the first creature created and that the wonderful traits which God planned, Love, Loyalty, Caring, Understanding and Devotion are all wrapped up in that creature with the wagging tail.
The Story of The Dog
by Eve Knowles
When the earth was newly wrought,
God made a wondrous creature
He gave its form most careful thought
and studied every feature.
He made it with graceful tail
with several rates of motion
So every wag could, without fail,
He made it with a varied bark
that produces several tones
To frighten goblins in the dark
or murmur over bones.
He made it with a moistened nose
that probes in every niche
For soothing children. Heaven knows,
it has a tongue that licks
He made it with such soulful eyes
of deepest golden brown
That no man, neither fool nor wise,
could turn its wishes down.
He made it with a coat of hair
that covers every bit
But made it soft beyond compare
for when children play with it.
He made it loyal, strong and smart,
to serve as best it can
So it could always do a part
as the ears and eyes of Man.
He made it minus gear or cog
of His most precious blend
And so with love God made the dog
to be a man’s best friend.
DOGS IN HEAVEN
An old man and his dog were walking down this dirt road with fences on both sides, they came to a gate in the fence and looked in. It was a nice grassy, woody area, just what a ‘huntin’ dog and man would like, but it had a sign saying “No Trespassing” so they walked on.
They came to a beautiful gate with a person in white robes standing there. “Welcome to Heaven,” he said. The old man was happy and started in with his dog following him. The gatekeeper stopped him. “Dogs aren’t allowed. I’m sorry, but he can’t come in with you.”
“What kind of Heaven won’t allow dogs? If he can’t come in, then I will stay out with him. He’s been my faithful companion all his life. I can’t desert him now.”
“Suit yourself, but I have to warn you, the Devil’s on this road and he’ll try to sweet talk you into his area, he’ll promise you anything, but the dog can’t go there either. If you won’t leave the dog, you’ll spend Eternity on this road.”
So the old man and dog went on. They came to a rundown fence with a gap in it, no gate, just a hole. Another old man was inside.
“S’cuse me, Sir, my dog and I are getting mighty tired. Mind if we come in and sit in the shade for a while?”
“Of course, there’s some cold water under that tree over there. Make yourselves comfortable.”
“You’re sure my dog can come in? the man down the road said dogs weren’t allowed anywhere.”
“Would you come in if you had to leave the dog?”
“No, sir, that’s why I didn’t go to Heaven, he said the dog couldn’t come in. We’ll be spending Eternity on this road, and a glass of cold water and some shade would be mighty fine right about now. But I won’t come in if my buddy here can’t come too, and that’s final?”
The man smiled a big smile and said, “Welcome to Heaven.”
The old man said, “You mean this is Heaven? Dogs ARE allowed? How come that fellow down the road said they weren’t?”
“That was the Devil and he gets all the people who are willing to give up a life-long companion for a comfortable place to stay. They soon find out their mistake, but then it’s too late. The dogs come here, the fickle people stay there. GOD wouldn’t allow dogs to be banned from Heaven. After all, He created them to be man’s companions in life, why would he separate them in death?
WHAT DOGS DO FOR US
Keep a lonely night from being truly lonely.
Keep our homes safe.
Get us outside on beautiful fall days.
Listen to our singing.
Treat us like celebrities when we come home.
Warm up our beds on cold nights.
Star in our home videos.
Make our hearts more vigorous.
Take us outdoors on snowy winter days.
Alert us to the arrival of the mail.
Help us to live longer.
Make us smile.
Agree with everything we say.
Warm our knees with their chins.
Provide us use for old tennis balls.
Signal when a thunderstorm is coming.
Help lower our blood pressure.
Test how fast we can run.
Keep the squirrels from overtaking our yards.
Teach us the meaning of unconditional love.
Take us out on rainy days.
Teach our children about responsibility.
PUPPIES FOR SALE
A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies For Sale.” Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner’s sign. “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.”
The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37,” he said. “Can I please look at them?”
The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame.
The little boy became excited. “That is the little puppy that I want to buy.”
The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.”
The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.”
The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”
To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!”
WHEN I GOT MY DOG
I asked for strength that I might rear her perfectly;
I was given weakness that I might feed her more treats.
I asked for good health that I might rest easy;
I was given a “special needs” dog that I might know nurturing.
I asked for an obedient dog that I might feel proud;
I was given stubbornness that I might feel humble.
I asked for compliance that I might feel masterful;
I was given a clown that I might laugh.
I asked for a companion that I might not feel lonely;
I was given a best friend that I would feel loved.
I got nothing I asked for,
But everything I need.
ONLY A DOG, ONLY A HUMAN
Do you remember thinking it was time that the kids learned some responsibility and scanning the newspaper ads for a cheap dog for sale? Do you remember bringing home this little ball of shivering fur and putting her out in the yard on a chain that was too heavy on a night that was too cold? Of course you don’t remember this.
After all, she is only a dog.
Do you remember this baby crying because she was afraid and alone? Do you remember screaming at her to be quiet and finally going out there to kick her to drive home the lesson? Of course you don’t remember this.
After all, she is only a dog.
Do you remember the many times you noticed her water bowl was empty and her food bowl was covered with mold and thinking that it was the kids’ job to take care of her? Do you remember seeing that her coat was dull and lifeless and, in many places, chewed away down to the skin because of the parasites no one took the time to rid her of? Of course you don’t remember this.
After all, she is only a dog.
Do you remember her first heat and the neighbor’s male visiting her night after night? Do you remember thinking that letting her have the puppies would be a good experience for the kids? Do you remember that every one of those pups died because their mother was no more than a puppy herself? Of course you don’t remember this.
After all, she is only a dog.
I know you remember the animal control officer coming to the house, accusing you of animal cruelty and taking her away because you couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
After all, she is only a dog.
I thought you might be interested in how this girl is doing today. You see, once she found a home that gave her love, attention and proper care, she blossomed into a beautiful, loyal companion.
To these people, she is much more than only a dog.
She became a therapy dog and now goes to nursing homes and hospices where she brightens the lives of the infirm and dying. To some of these people, she has given hope. To others, she’s given them a reason to keep living. To even others, she’s given them the will to die peacefully, with a smile on their lips.
To these people, she is much more than only a dog.
Just last week, she helped find a little boy that was lost in the woods. She spent a long, cold winter’s night, lying over him to keep him warm and risked her own life to protect his. To this little boy and his family, she is much more than only a dog.
Why did that filthy, flea ridden animal chained in your backyard suddenly become so important to so many? Because she never gave up her trust in people and she never once thought, “After all, he is only a human.”
ONLY A DOG
by Marty Hale
“He left no relatives,” they said,
“He didn’t have a friend
Who knew about his sorry plight —
Was with him at the end!” . . .
And so they raked the stove fires out,
And closed the old shack door,
For grouchy, crusty old Tom Dare
Would open it no more.
Then each went to his own home-fires,
Forgot the lonely shack,
And not a soul was near to see,
An old form stumble back
And crouch, sad-eyed, beside the door,
His bony length stretched flat.
He waited for his master’s voice,
His friendly little pat.
Days had been lean for Old Tom Dare,
Not food enough for two —
But Old Tom whispered to his dog,
“I’ll share along with you,
Since Jennie went away from usn
There’s been no one to care —
No one but you to give a thought,
for lonely old Tom Dare.”
And so the two of them had shared,
If it be feast, or fast,
That morning Rover had a bone —
It was their very last,
And there was nothing left for Tom —
It didn’t matter so,
Because he lay upon his bed,
And knew that he must Go.
The careless villagers passed by,
As they were pleasure-bound,
But none of them took time to see,
The faithful, hungry hound.
Too tired and true to leave his post,
He stayed there to the End…
And folks had said of Old Tom Dare,
“He didn’t have a friend!”
The days have passed, but no one stops,
Of all that come and go,
Old Rover lies beside the door,
Half-hidden in the snow . . .
I know that Old Tom had a friend,
A loyal friend, because–
Today I found Old Rover dead,
The bone between his paws.
THE POWER OF THE DOG
by Rudyard Kipling
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie –
perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumor, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find – it’s your own affair –
But… you have given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will,
With it’s whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone – wherever it goes – for good.
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.
We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying our Christian clay.
Our lives are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept them, the more do we grieve;
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long –
So why in – Heaven (before we go there)
Should we give out hearts to a dog to tea
by Loren Eisley
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.”
Legend has it that soon after Creation, the earth was torn in two.
Man was on one side of the chasm, all the animals on the other.
Only the dog tried to find a way across to join the man.
He tried to jump the huge abyss
but only his forepaws reached the far edge.
Man reached down and pulled him to safety, saying,
“You shall be my companion forever.”
Dogs know, if men do not, that dogs and men are close, perhaps too much sometimes, and they do not prattle of their deep wisdom, but it’s the truth and what they have to know. Truth and what they give. Even if they do not wish, they must, and follow at a heel, and haunt a doorstep, and cry when we are gone, or roll in the dust. To entertain us, yielding up a paw into a hand. They whine because the throat cannot articulate, and even plead for man’s forgiving on an anguished note, when the legs cannot move fast enough, or faults of clumsiness and frolic seem to raise human wrath. O, we are given much by these little beasts who aggravate our days with their absurdities and ignorance, their jealous faithfulness, their eyes that tell as if man were stripped to bone, had nothing more, and found bare. He still would find his dog beside him there, to give him comfort, and to tell him then, how good and splendid is the race of men. Perhaps the only error and the lie, DOGS TELL TO MEN.
THE MEANING OF RESCUE
Now that I’m home, bathed, settled and fed,
All nicely tucked in my warm new bed.
I’d like to open my baggage
Lest I forget,
There is so much to carry –
So much to regret.
Hmm . . . Yes there it is, right on the top
Let’s unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss,
And there by my leash hides Fear and Shame.
As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave –
I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain.
I loved them, the others, the ones who left me,
But I wasn’t good enough – for they didn’t want me.
Will you add to my baggage?
Will you help me unpack?
Or will you just look at my things –
And take me right back?
Do you have the time to help me unpack?
To put away my baggage,
To never repack?
I pray that you do – I’m so tired you see,
But I do come with baggage –
Will you still want me?
A DOG’S BILL OF RIGHTS
by Carolyn Krause
1. I have the right to give and receive unconditional love.
2. I have the right to a life that is beyond mere survival.
3. I have the right to be trained so that I do not become the prisoner of my misbehavior.
4. I have the right to adequate food and medical care.
5. I have the right to fresh air and green grass.
6. I have the right to socialize with people and dogs outside my own family.
7. I have the right to special time with my people.
8. I have the right to be bred responsibly, if at all.
9. I have the right to be foolish and silly, and to make my person laugh.
10. I have the right to earn my person’s trust and to be trusted in return.
11. I have the right to be forgiven.
12. I have the right to die with dignity.
13. I have the right to be remembered well.
A FAITHFUL DOG
A faithful dog will play with you
And laugh with you – or cry.
He’ll gladly starve to stay with you
Nor ever reason why.
And when you’re feeling out of sorts
Somehow he’ll understand.
He’ll watch you with his shining eyes
And try to lick your hand.
His blind, implicit faith in you
Is matched by his great love.
The kind that all of us should have
In the Master, up above.
When everything is said and done
I guess this isn’t odd.
For when you spell “dog” backwards
You get the name of God.
A CHRISTMAS STORY
Long ago in the deepest of winters, all of the animals on earth were abuzz with the news. “HE IS BORN! HE IS BORN!” cried the snowy owl. “Come one and all, rejoice!” roared the mighty lion. “Bring gifts to the new King!”
The deer hurried. The forest grew bright with the din of excitement. Every creature was running towards the star. The noise was so loud and joyful that it traveled to distant lands.
In a quiet glen under a bramble bush, a small lonely dog raised his head from his slumber and heard the sounds from afar. He raised his little head and wondered. Slowly he raised his tired body and sniffed the air. He knew something was amiss – but he knew not what. A voice ever so sweet was singing in the distance, this he could hear. The words were not at all clear, but the sound was of waterfalls, and misty mornings, and everything dear.
Eagerly he followed the sound and soon saw a star. It shone so brightly his little eyes watered. What was this shiny thing that happily glowed? What could be happening that would bring about such a lovely sight?
His little legs beat the path for many days. He became tired and hungry but he walked on. He had to follow the sound of that voice. The voice reminded him of warmer and kinder times. He had to follow the light of the star. The star told him of happy things to come.
At last he came into a clearing and his eyes beheld a mystifying sight. Animals were everywhere, and each had a precious gift. Some brought shiny berries from the forest. Some brought beautiful leaves; some brought twigs form the rarest of trees; and even some brought the most precious wildflowers of the field. They were laying these gifts at the entrance of a stable. Above the stable the light of the star twinkled more brightly than ever before.
He turned to the deer and asked: “What is all this? Where have I come?”
“You have come to see the new King. He is born. Where are your gifts for the child?”, asked the deer reproachfully.
“I have no gifts… I didn’t know…”, said the lone little dog with his head hung low.
The deer sneered and snubbed and quickly walked away, tossing his head indignantly.
The little dog’s body trembled all over, his little tail flew between his little legs, and his little head hung lower than ever. He was ashamed. And yet… he still wanted to get a little peek at the new King.
Quietly, ever so carefully, he crept over to the stable. He was so small he could easily hide under the other animals. Ever so sneakily he crept up to the manger and peeked inside.
“WHO ARE YOU?” boomed the voice of the Lion. “WHY DO YOU DARE NOT BRING GIFTS FOR THE NEW KING?!!!”
The little dog cowered, much humbled… He laid his little head at the foot of the manger and hid his eyes. He was ready to be killed by the Lion, and yet he spoke ever so quietly, ever so meekly, ever so bravely: “I have no gifts. I have no berries, or twigs, or bright flowers from the field… all I have is my life and I will gladly give that, for I have shamed all my brethren tonight…”
He waited – with his eyes closed – thinking, “If I die tonight, at least I die beneath the cradle of the King.” That’s when a warm and gentle hand was laid upon him. He did not dare to open his eyes, until he heard a woman’s voice speak, “Do not fear, little one, you are safe here. This bramble in your fur speaks of a gift you have brought to him.”
The lonely little dog opened his eyes and looked up at the woman. “But I have no gift to offer, save for myself, and that is very little,” he shyly protested.
The woman smiled and scratched his ears. “Little dog, you traveled far to see the king.. that is gift enough when it comes from your heart. What gift is more precious than one given in innocence and humility? No, little one, you are welcome here.”
As she spoke she raised the little dog up. Behold your King, the Son of Man. You shall serve him well.” And the baby smiled.
And so it came to pass, and the dog was lonely no more… And dog has served man ever since–loyal to a fault and humble he remains. A gift from God to us, for who but dog will travel miles without explanation? Who, but dog, will cower from you even is he is not wrong? Who, but dog, will take a scolding even when he is not to blame? Who, but dog, is content to die at our feet if he so must?
Let us care for it well.
THE 10 CANINE COMMANDMENTS
1. My life is likely to last ten to fifteen years. Any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that when you buy me.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me – it’s crucial for my well-being.
4. Don’t be angry at me for long, and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your entertainment, and your friends. I have only you.
5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice when it’s speaking to me.
6. Be aware of however you treat me, I’ll never forget it.
7. Remember before you hit me that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hands, but that I choose not to bite you.
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 food, or I’ve been out in the sun or in the cold too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.
9. Take care of me when I get old. You too, will grow old.
10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say: ‘I can’t bear to watch it’, ‘let it happen in my absence’ or ‘I am tired of you’. Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, I love you.
PET STORE PUPPIES
(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)
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.