A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them...
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.
When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like Mother of Pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.
"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.
"Of course sir, Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.
"I'm sorry sir, but we don't accept pets."
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.
As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
"Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"
"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there.."
The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in."
"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.
"There should be a bowl by the pump."
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, and then he gave some to the dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.
"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.
"This is Heaven," was the answer.
"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said.
"The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."
"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."
"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like
that?" "No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy
that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."
A man in Grand Rapids, Michigan incredibly took out a US $7,000 full page ad in the paper to present the HOW COULD YOU? By Jim Willis, 2001
How Could You?
When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made
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 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 and Canadian animal shelters.
Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a non-commercial 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 and neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.
"When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey
- a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known,
yet also test your strength and courage. If you allow, the journey will teach
you many things, about life, about yourself, and most of all, about love. You
will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving
Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life's simple pleasures - jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears. If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or log will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information. Your pace may be slower - except when heading home to the food dish - but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in the field.
Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details - the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop; we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essence all its own.
Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting on a screen. (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or noting the flick and flash of fireflies through the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life's most important details slip by.
You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle looking for the cat food brand your feline must have, buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because your pet enjoys the ride. You will roll in the snow, wrestle with chewie toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie - with a cat in hot pursuit - all in the name of love. Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will wear less dark clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves the crinkley sound.
You will learn the true measure of love - the steadfast, undying kind that
says, "It doesn't matter where we are or what we do, or how life treats us
as long as we are together." Respect this always. It is the most precious
gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the
human race. And you will learn humility. The look in my dog's eyes often
made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some
flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her
wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as
mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway.
If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will be
not just a better person, but the person your pet always knew you to be -
the one they were proud to call beloved friend. I must caution you that this
journey is not without pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part
of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear animal
companion will follow a trail you cannot yet go down. And you will have to
find the strength and love to let them go. A pet's time on earth is far too
short - especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really, just
for awhile, and during these brief years they are generous enough to give us
all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is
nothing left. The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon old
and frail and sleeping in the sun. The young pup of boundless energy wakes
up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew
that this journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts they would
be broken. But give them we must for it is all they ask in return. When the
time comes, and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one
final gift and let them run on ahead - young and whole once more. "Godspeed,
good friend," we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths
What Dogs Do for Us
Keep a night alone from being truly lonely.
Get us outside on beautiful fall days, rainy days, and snowy winter days.
Listen to our singing.
Treat us like celebrities when we come home.
Warm up our beds on cold nights.
Make our hearts more vigorous.
Alert us to the arrival of the mail.
Help us live a little longer.
Make us smile.
Agree with everything we say.
Warm our knees with their chins.
Provide a use for old tennis balls.
Signal when a thunderstorm is coming.
Help lower our blood pressure.
Test how fast we can run.
Keep the squirrels from overtaking our yards.
Teach us the meaning of unconditional love.
Open Memo to Dogs & Cats
Dear Cats and Dogs,
When I say to move, it means go someplace else, not switch
positions with each other so there are still two two of you in the way.
The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.
The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help, because I fall faster than you can run.
I can not buy anything bigger than a king size bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue to sleep on the couch to ensure your comfort.
Look at videos of dogs sleeping, they can actually curl up in a ball. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space used is nothing but sarcasm.
My compact discs are not miniature Frisbees.
For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob, or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. In addition, I have been using bathrooms for years, canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.
The proper order is kiss me, then go smell other dogs' or cats' butts. I cannot stress this enough.
Just these simple changes will make living with you so much easier.
Please try to do your best to accomodate me.
To pacify you I have posted the following message on our front
Rules for Non-pet owners who visit and like to complain
about our pets:
1. They live here; you don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.
3. I like my pet better than I like most people.
4. To you it's an animal. To me he and/or she is an adopted son and/or daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and is speech challenged.
EXCERPTS FROM A DOG'S DAILY DIARY:
8:00 a.m.Oh, boy! Dog food! My favourite!
9:30 a.m.Oh, boy! A car ride! My favourite!
9:40 a.m.Oh, boy! A walk! My favourite!
10:30 a.m.Oh, boy! Getting rubbed and petted! My favourite!
11:30 a.m.Oh, boy! Dog food! My favourite!
Noon- Oh, boy! The kids! My favourite!
1:00 p.m.Oh, boy! The yard! My favourite!
4:00 p.m.Oh, boy! To the park! My favourite!
5:00 p.m.Oh, boy! Dog food! My favourite!
5:30 p.m.Oh, boy! Pretty Mums! My favourite!
6:00 p.m.Oh, boy! Playing ball! My favourite!
6:30 a.m.Oh, boy! Watching TV with my master! My favourite!
8:30 p.m Oh, boy! Sleeping in master's bed! My favourite!
EXCERPTS FROM A CAT'S DAILY DIARY:
Day 183 of My Captivity:
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling
objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal.
The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction
I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another
house plant. Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet
while they were walking almost succeeded; must try this at the top of the stairs.
In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced
myself to vomit on their favorite chair, must try this on their bed. Decapitated
a mouse and brought them the headless body, in an attempt to make them aware
of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only
cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was. Hmmm, not working
according to plan. There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I
was placed in solitary confinement throughout the event. However, I could hear
the noise and smell the food. More importantly, I overheard that my confinement
was due to my power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how
to use it to my advantage.
I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird, on the other hand, has got to be an informant, he speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the high metal room, his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time ....
If a dog was the teacher you would learn stuff like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When it's in your best interest, practice obedience
Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout ... run right back and make friends.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
Be Loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
...Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!
WHY DOGS DON'T LIVE LONGER
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year old Irish Wolfhound
The dog's owners; Ron, his wife Lisa and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there was no more miracles left for Belker and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt Shane could learn something from the experience.
The next day I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.
We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me - I'd never heard a more comforting explanation:
He said, "Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life... like loving everybody and being nice, right?"
The four-year-old continued, "Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my God and I am your devoted worshiper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest, and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.
Dogs Live Here
If you don't want to be greeted with paws and swinging tails,
don't come inside - because DOGS live here.
If you don't like the feel of a cold nose or a wet tongue,
don't come inside - because DOGS live here.
If you don't want to step over many scattered toys,
don't come inside - because DOGS live here.
If you think that a home ought to smell like perfume,
don't come inside - because DOGS live here.
But if you don't mind all this, you will instantly be loved when you do come inside - because DOGS live here.
Humane Society Volunteer
TO: GOD, FROM: THE DOG
Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?
Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?
Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the 'Chrysler Beagle'?
Dear God: If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?
Dear God: We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths What do humans understand?
Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.
Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?
Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good dog:
1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up.
2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc, just because I like the way they smell.
3. The Litter Box is not a cookie jar.
4. The sofa is not a 'face towel'.
5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.
6. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.
7. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of saying 'hello'.
8. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table.
9. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after.
10. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.
11. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch.
12. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.
P.S. Dear God: When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back?
A DOG'S TEN COMMANDMENTS.........
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. 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 have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't
bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if
you are there, because I love you so.