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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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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 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 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.

~~~~~~~~~~ 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 non-commercial 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 unwanted animals.

Jim Willis"
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 07:22 AM
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OMGosh that is SO SAD!
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 07:50 AM
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I read this before, it is pretty sad
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 08:39 AM
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OMG I'm going to cry!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 01:02 PM
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I've read it in the past but just can't do it again....

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 05:23 PM
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everytime I read this it breaks my heart...

Proud mommy to Ashley

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 06:11 PM
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That is sooo heartbreaking...

* Lisa *

* To the world you are ONE person,but to a rat you are the world *

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 09:17 PM
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 09:52 PM
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I hate reading it, because it screws up my makeup every time. Big black streaks down my cheeks. It's awful, and sad, and you know that's exactly what these dogs are feeling, because animals DO have feelings too. I think of this every time someone abandons their dog at the vet clinic. I'm just glad the vet I work for has a heart and refuses to euthanize healthy animals unless they are uncontrollably vicious. We currently have 3 abandoned dogs at the clinic looking for new homes. In the mean time, we give them as much love as we possibly can. Their ends will not be this, that I can assure you.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 11:54 PM
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I am glad this is out there so people see how important it is to adopt a pet!!!!!!!! GOD BLESS WHO EVER WROTE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2006, 04:00 PM
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I have read this before also and it is so sad
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2008, 12:27 PM
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omg i have never read something so heartbreaking in so many words
i will never get the picture of that dogs face before it was put to sleep out of my head
no-one really knows what happens to there dogs when they hand them over do they live or die ? ...
so sad
thanks for sharing

Rip Novo, Mummy Loves You x
"To close your eyes will not ease another's pain."
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2008, 06:41 PM
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Its a shame that local animal shelters have become dumping grounds for so many unwanted dogs. Yes its easy to say "thats what a shelter is there for...Im sure in 7 days SOMEONE will save the unwanted dog that i love" But in most cases the dog gets put down. Its harder to place the dog in a loving home on your own but well worth it. I have placed 7 dogs into loving homes by doing the foot work and finding the right match for all of them.
There are so many ways to do this, Place and ad, put up flyers, tell everyone you know to tell everyone they know. Make sure to tell the truth (good and bad) and the reasons you cannot keep the dog to anyone who shows interest. Always be ready to take the dog back if doesn't work out. I am writing this for anyone who cannot keep their dog. Take your time to find a home, do the foot work and don't lose hope. It can be done! Trust me iv placed sick dogs, mean dogs, and unwanted good dogs into loving homes. Even had one come back to me 2 times before finding the right home. Ask questions and do not place a dog with someone just because you can. Yes it takes longer to do it this way but its less stressful on you and the dog and you will "KNOW" you have done it the right way.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2008, 09:41 AM
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whew thats one tough read, i'm really sad now

"If you can't change your fate, change your attitude." - Amy Tan
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2008, 11:27 AM
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I've read this years ago, back when I used to play Neopets.

I started crying after I read it then, and right now, I couldn't even make it halfway through without crying again. ;-;

So sad...

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animal shelter, animal shelters, animal welfare, humane society, local animal shelter, local humane society, vet clinic

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