How Could You?

3 03 2009

The following is an essay included in a book titled, “Pieces of My Heart” by Jim Willis.  I requested his permission to republish this essay, so that I can dedicate it to anyone who has ever known the love of a good dog, especially to those of you who have rescued a good dog and who know what a fantastic friend a “second-hand” dog can be.

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.

Please take a moment to share this with anyone you know who needs to read it.  If you would like to print a copy, Mr. Willis has graciously provided a .pdf to share in that way.

The next time you have a couple dollars left over after keeping your house in order, please consider donating it to one of the “Good Guys” on the right sidebar or here here and here, one of the shelters or rescues over on Spike’s Shelter Dogs, or your local shelter or rescue.


Happytails Dog Smog: Curtailing Emissions from Both Ends

30 01 2009

After the fun I had guest-posting over at Lola’s blog, I asked her to guest-post here as well.  Having other dogs write certainly takes the pressure off.

Guest-post by: Lola The Eco-Dog


We can all relate to sitting in a room with friends when, all of a sudden, an unbearable smell fills the air. Yes, an odor that will make any dog or human roll on the floor and play dead.  Leaving you saying “Oh my goodness, what’s that smell” as everyone sniffs around for the culprit, all the while peering at each other with intense looks trying to figure out who dealt it. Unfortunately, if your pup is like me that not-so-good poker face gives him or her away, only to draw pointed fingers from all the humans in the room. Read the rest of this entry »

Spike Says: Dogs Do Not Understand “Time”

19 01 2009

I have seen many dog accessories, but never a dog watch.  That is because dogs do not understand time.  I am trying to get Mom to teach me, but we have not found a watch to wear.  This is the closest we have gotten so far, but I do not know how I would read it, and I know that Tax is not smart enough (mainly because it took him forever to learn Arabic numerals, so Roman numerals would be VERY confusing) to learn how to read it and tell me what time it is.


I Am Not Sure If This Is Safe, But It Sure Looks Fun

7 01 2009

I have never ridden in a motocycle’s sidecar, so I cannot recommend it.  Rose and her friend make this look like a lot of fun, and if it is anything like when I stick my head out of the window in Mom’s car, I am in!  Now, where can Ifind someone who rides a motorcycle?

Spike Says: Don’t Shoplift

30 12 2008

Times must be tough in Murray, UT. A dog was reduced to stealing a rawhide bone to have a Christmas goody. See the video below.

Skidboot: An Amazing Working Dog

4 12 2008

I do not know if I have mentioned this before, but I am a big fan of dogs like me that work for a living.  After the story that occupied my day yesterday about Murphey, I needed to search for some inspirational stories to lift my spirits.  Luckily, someone on Twitter posted a link to Skidboot, the most amazing dog I have ever seen.  Mom said that if I could drag myself away from the TV and the Internet box, I might be able to do all that.  What she does not know is that I CAN do all that stuff, but I just do not WANT to.

Skidboot won the episode of Pet Star that he was on, and it looks like David Hartwick is going to continue training dogs to be as amazing.  If you would like to learn more about this awesome dog, visit Skidboot here.

Spike Says: Don’t Let Your Dog Drive

23 11 2008

A man in Long Island found this out the hard way, as his van came crashing through the front window of Cool Beanz coffee shop on Long island in New York.  You can find the news story about it here.

Mom has never let me drive, because I don’t have thumbs or a license.  I don’t know if I would trust this guy, since he doesn’t seem to know what his license is for.