A Must Read for Pet lovers...

I got this email a few years ago and have kept it in my mail box since.

I have two dogs myself and love them as a part of my family...and would NEVER give them up...for the world...

I hope everyone who ever does own a pet or is in the midst of thinking whether or not to get a pet...considers how much responsibility it is to have one. It's not just for fun and depending on the pet, it can be the next 10-20 years of your life.....it's a long term commitment!!!

See below:

If anything every touched me more, this did, and I hope that all of
you that read it will pass it on because our pets are our family and
this happens just too many times and truly moves me beyond words.


By Jim Willis, 2001

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 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

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 that 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. 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 & Canadian animal shelters. Anyone is welcome to
distribute the essay for a noncommercial 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 &
neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Jim Willis