Ten Commandments for Pet Owners
- My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be very painful.
- Give me time to understand what you want from me. Do not break my spirit with your temper, though I will always forgive you. Your patience will teach me more effectively.
- Please have me spayed or neutered.
- Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for your kindness than mine. Don’t be angry with me for long, and don’t lock me up as punishment. After all, you have your job, your friends, your entertainment. I have only you.
- Speak to me often. Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice when it’s speaking to me. Your voice is the sweetest sound I ever hear, as you must know by my enthusiasm whenever I hear your footsteps.
- Take me in when it’s cold and wet. I’m a domestic animal and am no longer accustomed to the bitter elements. I ask for little more than your gentle hands petting me. Keep my bowl filled with water. Feed me good food so that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding. By your side, I stand ready, willing and able to share my life with you, for that is what I live for. I’ll never forget how well you’ve treated me.
- Don’t hit me. Remember, I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hand, but I choose not to bite you.
- Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I’ve been out in the sun too long, or my heart may be getting weak.
- Take care of me when I get old. For you will grow old, too.
- When I am old, or when I no longer enjoy good health, please do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having fun. Just see to it that my trusting life is taken gently. And be with me on that difficult journey when it’s time to say goodbye. Never say, “I just can’t bear to watch.” Everything is easier for me when you are there. I will leave this earth knowing with my last breath that my fate was always safest in your hands. I love you!
I RESCUED A HUMAN TODAY
Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.
I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid. As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today. Sometimes the overworked shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.
As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.
She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.
Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.
I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.
I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.
I rescued a human today.
A Parable of Immortality
by Henry Van Dyke
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
“There she goes!”
Gone from my sight . . . that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
“There she goes!”
there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .
“Here she comes!”