Tembe and Nkorho Cams are down. We are working on solutions.

Heart breaking

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anonymous's picture
Heart breaking

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 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 anymore 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 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 defend 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 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 goodbye pat on the head,  avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and lead 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 realised I could not compete  with the frolicking for attention 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 couldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or to 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.  


Ursula's picture
Joined: Feb 18 2006

Thanks for sharing, Allison!

Heartgoing, heartbraking, yes!

I lately met a family I hadn't seen for quite a long time. "And where is you doggie?", I asked. "We gave it away; we have a motorboat now!", was the answer...




Nkosi sikelel' iAfrica (National Hymn of SA)

God bless Africa!

Chardon Miller's picture
Joined: Mar 4 2008

The horrible pet owners that really do this won't be the ones to read it. It breaks my heart too Allison. Cry



"Butterflies and zebras, And moonbeams and fairy tales
That's all she ever thinks about, Riding with the wind.
— Jimi Hendrix

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.