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Before you adopt - before you decide to change lives ... read this

March 5th, 2005, 06:35 PM
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 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 in bed, 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 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. 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.

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

The End

Copyright Jim Willis 2001, all rights reserved

This piece makes me bawl every time I read it.
I want anyone to think hard and long about their lives before they affect a treasured animal. PLEASE be honest with yourself before you affect a life ... a life completely dependant on your choices, thoughts and wishes.
Being a guardian to a pet is a life-long commitment ... their life.

... another masterpiece from the same author, dedicated to my pet loving friends

I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter...the cast-offs of human society.
I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal.
And I was angry.
"God," I said, "this is terrible! Why don't you do something?"
God was silent for a moment and then He spoke softly.
"I have done something," He replied.
"I created You."

March 5th, 2005, 06:40 PM
I give a copy of that to all my adopters. Make sure they realize the commitment they are taking on.

March 5th, 2005, 06:49 PM
That is so fantastic of you goldengirl :thumbs up Thank you for doing that :love:

The author's website encourages this ...
They write: We're pleased that "How Could You?" is now among the most published animal-related essays in the world.
How will you use it to educate? Consider sending it to your local newspaper and asking them to publish it illustrated with photos taken at your local shelter!

All the best to you

March 5th, 2005, 06:49 PM
That's awesome, I've never seen that! I do have a little dilemma, my sister got two pups at Xmas, they are border collie X's and very active, adorable dogs, but I think she is regretting getting the two of them. I am not saying she would give them up, but to me, it seems like they are more of a hassle to her than a joy to have. She would never mistreat them or anything, but I don't know what to think, just rambling! So sorry, don't want to hijack the thread! ignore me

March 5th, 2005, 06:59 PM
... sometimes kids are hard to handle at certain ages. It just takes time and patience. I am sure she will do well. Maybe, if she is overwhelmed you could offer to take the dogs out for the day or something? (just like we do for human mothers & children - children can be so exasperating - lol).
The joy - she will be able to relax and feel all of that unconditional love very soon. I have heard that Year 2 is the magic year for Border Collies, that they settle somewhat. A year or so of loving & living with dogs-on-glue ... and she will have magic for many, many more. Just keep encouraging her.

Not trying to put her down in anyway here, please, please don't get me wrong ... but I am so grateful that our local animal shelters, animal control officer and rescue centres shut down adoptions during the xmas season ... it saves a lot of pain on impulse decisions. No matter how much you beg, plead and polish your application - xmas, no way.

Lucky Rescue
March 5th, 2005, 08:38 PM
Raising two puppies is a challenge for even the most experienced, and in fact, no reputable breeder would ever sell two siblings together. ONE border collie is usually more than enough for anyone, due to their inexhaustible energy and working drive. Not many people could begin to give two of them what they need, unless they are using them to work stock. Very very bad idea.

As for the committment of adopting an animal, we always remind anyone adopting a kitten or young cat from us that they are looking at a possible 20 YEAR committment.

March 6th, 2005, 12:23 AM
Raising two puppies is a challenge for even the most experienced

LR you got that right....I have 2 pups 1 cat 1 bird 7 human kids 5yrs to 18yrs
just like the committment you tell adoptee's i ask the same from my family and all my kids are committed to our pets. As for challenges it depends on who's turn it is to clean the poop :D

Lucky Rescue
March 6th, 2005, 11:27 AM
7 human kids 5yrs to 18yrs

My GOODNESS!! Quite the busy beaver, aren't you?:p

I'm tired just thinking about it.

March 6th, 2005, 09:53 PM
That article is exactly why, even though I have wanted a purebred newfie for a while and I have wanted to see my babies as real babies, I will never be able to buy a new dog. There are so many perfect mutts around who have been given a raw deal. The only two things you can do about dogs being abandoned are: to not abandon your dogs and to adopt your future dogs. I have only had one puppy, still a homeless puppy who needed surgery... The rest were all left behind during moves, left behind due to life changes and worst of all ran away from abuse.

My little girl, Jemma, has had 5 owners, us being the last. She was never given away because of something she did. It was always the owners. They get this novelty dog who is all black with blue eyes and realize she's work. They have kids or break up or move away and pass her on. She is awesome. She is the most amazing dog and I am just glad her ad was on for a month with no responses. I'm glad that I encouraged my boyfriend to get a second dog that week. I'm glad that she got along so well and fell in love with my other dog. They're friends for life (see the pic below? They even share their toys).

My other big dog, Boo, wasn't supposed to come home with us-- I asked the SPCA to hold a little lab overnight and we'd go pick her up in the morning. They agreed and we went back the next morning, waited for the SPCA to open and she was gone. In her place, Boo. He was the only one not barking and when we turned around for one last look around, he started barking. We took him out and he was such a goof, it was meant to be. :love:

With these two babies-- they ended up in our lives totally by chance. And now they get toys like mad, and really expensive tasty dog food that we can barely afford. :o We even bought a house because we couldn't find another apartment that would allow two big dogs. That's what it's all about. Am I right? ;)

(sorry if this was long..)

March 7th, 2005, 04:41 AM
That's what it's all about!

best cheers to you