Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for your kindness than the loving heart of mine.
Do not break my spirit with your temper, for though I would always forgive your anger, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the worldís sweetest music, as you must know by my enthusiastic excitement when your footsteps fall upon my waiting ear.
Please take me inside when it is cold and wet, for I am a domestic animal, no longer accustomed to bitter elements. I ask no greater glory than the privilege of your gentle hands petting me.
Keep my bowl filled with fresh water, for 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 be by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to share with you my life, for that is what I live for.
And, my friend, when I am very old, and I no longer enjoy good health, hearing and sight, do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having fun. Please see that my trusting life is taken gently. I shall leave this earth knowing with the last breath that I draw that my fate was always safest in your hands.
The Integrity Of Ugly
Everyone in the apartment complex knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and, shall we say, love. The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye and where the other should have been was a gaping hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner. His tail had long ago been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch. Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby, striped-type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs. Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. Thatís one UGLY cat!Ē
All the children were warned not to touch him. The adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come into their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave. Ugly always had the same reaction. If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around feet in forgiveness. Whenever he spied children, he would come running, meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love. If you ever picked him up, he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.
One day Ugly shared his love with the neighborís dogs. They did not respond kindly and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to him, it was apparent Uglyís sad life was almost at an end. Ugly lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front. As I picked him up and tried to carry him home, I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. It must be hurting him terribly, I thought. Then I felt a familiar tugging, suckling sensation on my ear. Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying, was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye toward me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring. Even in the greatest pain, this ugly battled-scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion. At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or even try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me, completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.
Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally. Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be thankful. He had been scarred on the outside, but so beautiful on the inside. Many people want to be richer, more beautiful, well liked, more successful, but for me, I will always try to be Ugly.
Top Ten Commandments For A Responsible Pet Owner
My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. ANY SEPARATION from you will be painful for me.
Give me time to understand what you want of me.
Place your trust in me . . . itís CRUCIAL to my well-being.
Donít be angry with me for long, and donít lock me up for punishment. You have your work, your friends, and your entertainment, I HAVE ONLY YOU !!!
TALK to me sometimes. Even if I donít understand your words, I understand your voice when itís speaking to me.
Be aware that however you treat me, Iíll never forget it.
Remember before you hit me, that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones of your hand, but I choose NOT to bite you.
Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something may be bothering me. Perhaps Iím not getting the right foods, Iíve been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.
Take care of me when I get old . . . you too will grow old.
Go with me on difficult journeys. NEVER say, ďI canít bear to watch it,Ē or, ďLet it happen in my absence.Ē Everything is easier for me if YOU are there. Above all, remember that I LOVE YOU !!!
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 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 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've 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 good-bye 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 2 nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago & made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads & 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 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 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 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.
- By Jim Willis, 2001
If You didn't have animals . . . .
You could walk around the yard barefoot in safety. Your house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated. All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair.
When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like a kennel. When the doorbell rings, you could get to the door without wading through fuzzy bodies who beat you there. You could sit on the couch and your bed the way you wanted, without taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.
You would not have strange presents under your Christmas tree - dog bones, stuffed animals, toys, treats nor would you have to explain to people why you wrap them. You would have money .... and no guilt to go on a real vacation. You would not be on a first-name basis with 6 veterinarians, as you put their yet unborn grand kids through college. The most used words in your vocabulary would not be: out, sit, down, come, no, stay, and leave him/her/it ALONE.
Your house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers. Your house would not look like a day care center, toys everywhere. Your pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.
You would no longer have to spell the words B-A-L-L-, F-R-I-S-B-E- E, W-A-L-K, or T-R-E-A-T. You would not have as many leaves INSIDE your house as outside. You would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog/cat ties them down too much. You'd look forward to spring and the melting of snow instead of dreading mud season. You would not have to answer the question "Why do you have so many dogs/animals? " from people who have never had the joy in their lives of knowing they are loved unconditionally by someone as close to an angel as they will ever get.
If you didn't have animals, how empty your life would be.