I saw this posted by someone as a blog. When I read it, it made me cry. It puts things into a whole new perspective for you....please take the time to read, its soooo worth it!
HOW COULD YOU?
By Jim Willis, 2001
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
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
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 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 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 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.
A Note from the Author:
If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you
read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is
because it is the composite story of the millions of
formerly "owned" pets who die each year in American
and Canadian animal shelters.
Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a
noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly
attributed with the copyright notice.
Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in
newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin
boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet
to the family is an important one for life, that
animals deserve our love and sensible care, that
finding another appropriate home for your animal is
your responsibility and any local humane society or
animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and
that all life is precious.
Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage
all spay and neuter campaigns in order to prevent