Is anyone familiar with a poem... I don't remember how it goes but it was emailed to me once. It's basically a letter from someone (a shelter worker maybe) to a person that gave their dog up.. saying they had to put it to sleep. I've been looking all over and can't seem to find it. Thanks.
http://www.ashleyspets.com "A dog is not almost human, and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such."
Oh crap, I saw this on a site the other day. I rem. it b/c it made me cry! I don't rem. where it was. If I do, I will let you know. How you holdin' up? I've been thinking about you this week. Hope things are getting easier.
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.
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 burr in his paw.
How I wish I could have been you as I stood before him. To see 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 see a stranger. He did not trust. He would not come. He turned and continued his journey; one he was sure would 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 that 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 for days without food or 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 to 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 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 see 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 would wag with forgiveness.
You called me one evening. I am a rescue, you had a dog of the breed I rescued. You weren't sure what to do, seems the dog was nipping the children lately and you didn't like that. I offered you some advice, the name of a good trainer/behaviorist, but your mind was made up. Please come get the dog now, if possible.
I rearrange my evening plans and go over to your house. I sit down with you and your husband, explain the paper work you had to sign. You signed it without asking any questions, even the part that says once in a while, we have to put down a dog. I asked if you had contacted the breeder yet. Your answer is you had never thought about that. You hand me the signed papers, her AKC papers (I would contact the breeder myself) and her leash. You point me to the back yard.
As I go out into the back yard, I see two children. The oldest has the dog pinned down in a choke hold and the little one is sticking something down what looks like the dog's ears. The children see me and immediately jump up. The dog runs away, it paces the fence looking for a way out. There is no dog house, no bedding. I see a bowl of dirty water only. I tell the kids to say their good byes to the dog, they shrug and walk inside.
Still the dog is pacing the fence, she is so scared she doesn't even look at me as I approach. I talk quietly to her, she ignore me. I walk so very slowly up to her. She stops and looks at me, the pain on her face is so real, I take in a deep breath of shock. I show this dog the leash. She is dirty, looks like she hasn't been groomed in ages and stinks to the high heavens. She sees the leash and her tail finally wags a bit. As I go to put the leash on her, she snaps at me. It is a threat only, not meant to connect and bite, but still I did jump a bit. She follows me as I take her out the gate and to my car.
In the car, she is shaking her head and whining. She digs at her ears. I finally stop the car, talk to her and reach for her ears. She snaps again, once more a warning, not to bite, but to warn. The minute I lift the ear leather the smell about knocks me over. She would not let me get close enough to look inside. Her growls are real, so I leave it be and head immediately to the ER vet.
The vet, his assistant and I could not hold her down to look in her ears. The vet got a closer look than me and said all he could see was hair everywhere. We have to sedate her to clean out her ears. In them, we found sticks, stickers and pebbles. I cry as I stroke this girl. The vet is aware I am a rescue and this is a dog I just picked up, but the look on his face says how angry he is. The damage is extensive, both eardrums are punctured and the vet is not sure she will ever regain her hearing completely. The cost was $600 for just that procedure but it could not wait. She was in so much pain, it was late and my own vet wouldn't be open until Monday (of course this was a Friday night).
Her weight is very low for a dog her size. Her ribs show, not dangerously but not good either. She is thin and exhausted. She sleeps in the back of the car as I drive home. The next day she sleeps most of the day also. My own dogs greet her, her reply is a growl, they respect her space and back away. She eats like she is starved, this is a good thing. But she is also food guarding, as if someone is going to take her food away.
I keep telling myself that she is still not well, give her a chance! She has lived a horrible life and needs time to heal.
Six weeks go by and still she is unresponsive, stiffens when you pet her and wants nothing to do with the other dogs. Fights have broken out over food and toys. If I raise my voice even a fraction so she can hear me (remember her hearing is bad) she pees. She paces constantly when she is not asleep. I have contacted the breeder who says she has no idea whom this dog is. I give her the information on the AKC papers for the dam and sire, she admits they are her dogs but no, she doesn't want to take this dog back. She says I can do what ever I want with her. I am willing to bet it is a BYB or a puppy mill. She finds no happiness in anything. Toys are to be hoarded as is food. She doesn't play, not even with my other rescues and personal dogs.
The rescues behaviorist takes a look at her. She sort of shakes her head when she is done. She is withdrawn, is not food motivated, and has no need for human contact. She doesn't respond to praise. She sat the entire time the behaviorist was with her, looked away as if looking for an escape route. She even snapped at the behaviorist when she pushed her a bit to see if she could get a reaction. She gave me some exercises to try to reach her, but she thought maybe, just maybe this one was a lost cause. All we could do was hope for a miracle.
I keep working for the next two weeks, trying to put my hands on her, rewarding her with treats. She takes them in her mouth, spits them out and then waits until I am gone before she eats them. I try to get her to sit with me on the couch so I can love on her, pet her, show her that she has nothing to fear here. She usually runs for her crate or a dog pillow and turns her back to me. If I force her, she sits stiff and stone-like, no response from her at all. Nothing make her happy.
Then one day while I was giving her her meds, she attacks me and bites my face. I am not mad, it is probably my fault for forcing her more than I should to swallow the pill she is suppose to take for her ear infection. We had gone to my personal vet many times by now for ear problems, teeth problems and of course behavior problems. She saw what she did to my face, immediately freezes and pees all over herself. She cowers as if I am going to beat her, she whines and lays down in her own pee. I move not a muscle except to touch my face to see if I am bleeding. I leave her be and finally she crawls off for her crate.
Talking to the behaviorist, she decides to take her for a while and see if maybe she can reach her. She attacks one of her little dogs and kills it.
Today, I took her for one last walk, gave her some of her favorite food and we went for a trip to the vet. I pet her as she laid on the table, still growling at being held down while the vet preps your vein. A look of peace came over her face as the medicine coursed through her system. Then the eyes dull over. I cry hard. I cry so very hard because I felt I have failed her. I know she was illbred, mishandled, abused and not loved. How could someone do this to this lovely breed of dog? I tried so hard. I wanted her to know life as a loving pet, to know love and trust, to know how to be spoiled and pampered. I know she is happy now and no longer in pain. I look at the vet and curse the breeder and the family that the breeder never truly interviewed when they sold them this dog. I cursed her abuse, her inability to love and be happy, I curse her inability to trust. I cursed everything I could think of including myself. I am a rescue, I am not suppose to put dogs down!
Today, a lovely dog enters the rainbow bridge where she is healed and able to love. Where no one torments her and she can hear once again. I pray she is happy now and that all her demons are gone. For this was a beautiful blue Great Dane , one of the most lovely of all dogs. You think abuse never happens to such dogs, but it does. You think that breeders of this lovely breed would care. I for one will miss her, even if she is happier away from this life of pain. I hope today she has finally found happiness.
I can no longer read there poems...they absolutely break my heart.
Nothing is worse than holding an animal for euthanasia except maybe adminstering the lethal injection. Ending an animals life regardless of the reason is probably the most painful thing I've ever had to do. I don't miss that part of the job.
I also remember a poem about a family who owned a dog but then they got too busy to take care of it so they finally put it too sleep. I cant seem to find it. It is somewhat like the poem "How could you" but a little different. Anyone know anything about it?