DO I GO HOME TODAY? by Sandi Thompson
My family brought me home cradled in their arms.
They cuddled me and smiled at me and said I was full of charm.
They played with me and laughed with me and showered me with toys.
I sure do love my family, especially the girls and boys.
The children loved to feed me, they gave me special treats.
They even let me sleep with them – all snuggled in the sheets.
I used to go for walks, often several times a day.
They even fought to hold the leash, I’m very proud to say.
These are the things I’ll not forget – a cherished memory,
because I now live in the shelter – without my family.
They used to laugh and praise me when I played with that old shoe.
But I didn’t know the difference between the old ones and the new.
The kids and I would grab a rag, for hours we would tug.
So I thought I did the right thing when I chewed the bedroom rug.
They said that I was out of control, and would have to live outside.
This I did not understand, although I tried and tried.
The walks stopped, one by one; they said they hadn’t time.
I wish that I could change things, I wish I knew my crime.
My life became so lonely, in the back yard, on a chain.
I barked and barked, all day long, just to keep from going insane.
So they brought me to the shelter, but were embarrassed to say why.
They said I caused an allergy, then they each kissed me goodbye.
If I’d only had some classes, when I was just a little pup,
then I would have been a better dog when I was all grown up.
“You only have one day left.” I heard the worker say.
Does that mean I have a second chance? DO I GO HOME TODAY?
I Found Your Dog Today
I found your dog today. No he has not been adopted by anyone. Most of us who live out here own as many dogs as we want, those who do not own dogs do so because they choose not to. I know you hoped he would find a good home when you left him out here, but he did not. When I first saw him he was miles from the nearest house and he was alone, thirsty, thin and limping from a cactus burr in his paw.
How I wish I could have been you as I stood before him. To have seen his tail wag and his eyes brighten as he bounded into your arms, knowing you would find him, knowing you had not forgotten him. To see the forgiveness in his eyes for the suffering and pain he had known in his never-ending quest to find you…But I was not you. And despite all my persuasion, his eyes beheld a stranger. He did not trust, he would not come.
He turned and continued his journey; one he was sure would soon bring him to you. He does not understand you are not looking for him. He only knows you are not there, he only knows he must find you. This is more important than food or water or the stranger who can give him these things. Persuasion and pursuit seemed futile; I did not even know his name.
I drove home, filled a bucket with water and a bowl with food and returned to where we had met. I could see no sign of him, but I left my offering under the tree where he had sought shelter from the sun and a chance to rest. You see, he is not of the desert. When you domesticated him, you took away any instinct of survival out here. His purpose demands that he travel during the day. He doesn’t know that the sun and heat will claim his life. He only knows he has to find you. I waited hoping he would return to the tree; hoping my gift would build an element of trust so I might bring him home, remove the burr from his paw, give him a cool place to lie and help him understand that the part of his life with you is now over. He did not return that morning and at dusk the water and food were still there untouched. And I worried.
You must understand that many people would not attempt to help your dog. Some would run him off, others would call the county and the fate you thought you saved him from would be preempted by his suffering from days without food and water. I returned again before dark. I did not see him. I went again early the next morning only to find the food and water still untouched. If only you were here so you could call his name. Your voice is so familiar to him. I began pursuit in the direction he had taken yesterday, doubt overshadowing my hope of finding him. His search for you was desperate, it could take him many miles in 24 hours.
It is hours later and a good distance from where we first met, but I have found your dog. His thirst has been stopped, it is no longer a torment to him. His hunger has disappeared, he no longer aches. The burrs in his paws bother him no more. Your dog has been set free from his burdens, you see, your dog has died.
I kneel next to him and I curse you for not being here yesterday so I could have seen the glow, if just for a moment, in those now vacant eyes. I pray that his journey has taken him to that place I think you hoped he would find. If only you knew what he went through to reach it…. and I agonize, for I know, that were he to awaken at this moment, and (if) I were to be you, his eyes would sparkle with recognition and his tail wag with forgiveness.
For Sale – To a Good Home
I was born in the Summer a few years ago.
Quite why I was born, I’ll never know.
Some folk who owned my mother, decided to breed.
No reason I know of except for their greed;
I know I was hungry, I know I was cold;
They sold me quite early at just five weeks old.
My number one owners seemed friendly at first,
And life was quite good till my bubble burst;
They started to argue, their marriage split up;
And in the AD: “For Sale – 4 months old pup”.
Some folk arrived, the next ones in line.
They treated me kind and life was just fine.
But Master dropped dead, and she couldn’t cope.
So she sold me again (I’ll soon give up hope).
I now had a new home right up in the sky;
We went up in the lift fourteen floors high!
The new folk were kind but they left me all day;
I was bursting to wee and had nowhere to play.
It was boredom, I think, when I chewed up the chair;
They agreed I should go as it just wasn’t fair.
The next home was good and I thought “this is it”!
They started to show and I won….well, a bit.
Then somebody told them that I had no bone.
And in went the AD: “For Sale…to a good home”.
The next lot were dreadful, they wanted a guard;
But I didn’t know how, although I tried hard.
One night they got burgled and I didn’t bark;
Tied up in that shed and alone in the dark.
For four months I lay in that cold and dark shed;
With only an old paper sack for a bed.
A small dish of water all slimy and green;
The state I was in, well, it had to be seen!
I longed for destruction, and an end to the pain;
But some new people came and I went off again.
Well now I’m with Rescue and this home is good;
There’s walks in the country and lots of good food;
There’s kisses and cuddles to great me each day;
But I dread the time they will send me away.
But for now here I stand, skin and bone on all four;
PLEASE……don’t let “ME” happen to any of yours.
– Author Unknown
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 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, 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. 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.
DO YOU COME WITH BAGGAGE?
Now that I’m Home, bathed, settled and fed,
All nicely tucked in my warm, cozy 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 where it was tossed.
Let’s unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss.
And there by my leash hides Fear and Shame.
I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain.
As I look on these things, I tried so hard to please,
I loved them, the Others, the ones who left me!
Will you add to my baggage? Will you help me unpack?
Or will you 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?
TIME!! By Joan Fremon
What is “Time”?
I hear the sadness in the voices of workers here. They say my “Time is up”, that they have to make room for yet another dog.
My “Time” is up. I don’t know what that means, God. I only know that my new friends are so sad, and the more I wag my tail—the harder I try to make them feel better—the sadder they become.
I know I have heard that word “Time” before, but I don’t understand. When I was younger, my people would say “Time to play!” They would throw the ball, and I would run fast. Sometimes I brought it back to them, but other times we’d end up chasing each other having fun.
I remember “Time to eat”. My people would put down a bowl of food, and I would enjoy dinner, wagging my tail in joy. There was also “Time for your walk”. My boy would put my leash on, and we would go walking together, visiting the neighborhood and enjoying each other’s company.
When I was younger I thought “Time” meant fun. Or maybe Love?
I don’t understand. “Time” must mean something else, but how can it change, God? Before I came here, I heard my people say, “No time to feed you now, boy. Later, when I get home.” Sometimes my family would forget, and there was no food in my bowl.
Does “Time” mean when my belly hurts?
My people said there was no time for walks. I tried to hold it all day long– but God, I just couldn’t anymore. When I finally had to go, it made my family very angry.
Does “Time” mean anger? Or maybe Loneliness?
My family said they didn’t have “Time”. They didn’t have time to play, or time to take me to the vet, or time to go for walks. They didn’t have “Time”, so they brought me here.
Maybe I was right… They said they didn’t have time, and if “Time” means Love, how did they lose it?
Did I do something wrong?
God, I think my new friends are sending me to you. Do you have “Time”? May I sit on the couch?
Am I a good Dog, God?
Is it “Time”?
One of the most important things we can give our Pets is “Time”. The time to love them, care for them, and train them. Animal Shelters and Humane Societies across the country are filled with Pets whose families didn’t have “Time”. Every year, the “Time is up” for 12 million companion Pets. Do you have the “Time” to make a difference
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