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'How Could You '- a pet story
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Mark Willis    Posted 04-22-2002 at 19:02:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
"HOW COULD YOU?"

HOW COULD YOU? 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
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 nto 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 tomeet 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.




Sherri    Posted 07-03-2004 at 13:20:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I too could not stop crying I had a big knot in my throat. Mark Willis is obvousily a very sensitive person twords other peoples & Animals feelings. I currently have 2 dogs and have never had children.They are my kids. I have lost other pets in the past and thier is not a day that goes by that i do not think of them, and hope that maybe someday i will be reunited with them. I would rathier die than to give up my pets. I could'nt do it. This is the most trueist and sadest thing I have ever read. I think that anyone giving up a pet should have to read this first. Some day I will own some land and will open my own shelter for unwanted pets that do not get put to sleep. That is my dream


Sherri    Posted 07-03-2004 at 13:20:25       [Reply]  [No Email]


Sherri    Posted 07-03-2004 at 13:20:25       [Reply]  [No Email]


Vonda Ward    Posted 11-04-2007 at 07:23:29       [Reply]  [Send Email]
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Carmine Foley    Posted 11-03-2007 at 07:22:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
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Carmine Foley    Posted 11-03-2007 at 07:22:14       [Reply]  [No Email]


Camille Matthews    Posted 10-07-2007 at 10:22:32       [Reply]  [Send Email]
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B.G.'s Mother    Posted 03-28-2004 at 22:39:15       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I can't stop crying. Or should I say sobbing. God gives us these beautiful creatures, the most loving examples of what true love is, and we treat them most horribly. B.G. is my baby, and that stands for Beautiful Guy or Big Guy or Body Guard. Why the latter? When he had been with me for only about 6 hours, at 8 weeks, he raised to his full height to "protect" me from the neighbor's cat. That loyalty in those few hours! He is so wonderful. Half Huskie, half Shepherd. I can't bear to think of life without him. He's 6.5 years old now. Smartest, most beautiful on the entire planet! At least I think so.


B.G.'s Mother    Posted 03-28-2004 at 22:39:15       [Reply]  [No Email]


Marcos Martin    Posted 11-04-2007 at 10:10:49       [Reply]  [Send Email]
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David Hurst    Posted 11-03-2007 at 04:56:58       [Reply]  [Send Email]
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David Hurst    Posted 11-03-2007 at 04:56:58       [Reply]  [No Email]


Karol Rios    Posted 10-07-2007 at 01:53:32       [Reply]  [Send Email]
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Barb    Posted 08-14-2003 at 02:28:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
I cried when I read this. It is so true. So many people throw away pets for their convience. We have 5 dogs and 2 cats. We have always been a family that ends up with hard luck cases. One cold, snowy Jan. day a stray dog showed up at our barn. She was begging for help. She was due to have a litter of pups. I made a place for her in our hay room and she immediately laid down and had 7 puppies. She had a collar on but no license. Well after 1 week, she was very sick, our vet wasn't sure why other than the fact that she wasn't in very good physical condition and we eventually had to put her to sleep. We bottle fed 7 pups, raised them, found them all homes and kept one for ourselves. She died of old age at 12. If people would just realize what some of these animals go through. Anyone who wants to own an animal should read this story first. When you own an animal, it's for life.


Tina-NY    Posted 05-23-2003 at 20:19:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
pass the tissues please.....I have read this on a dog board at some point and cried my eyes out then and again now. Its such a sad reality that there are people that think our loyal pets are so disposable. We have been very lucky in adopting 2 very special throw away dogs. Rocky was a severaly abused german shepherd that was the most gentle loyal dog you could want, he was also the best babysitter anyone could have wanted. He passed on a few years back from old age kidney problems but he will always be in my heart. Just a few months back I adopted another dog. Baby is a 11 month old shih tzu boy that is just the sweetest lil guy and someone just threw away also. I think every human should have to read this story and if it doesnt at least tug a heart string then thats a heartless human being. Thanks for sharing...


Angie Day    Posted 02-12-2003 at 17:11:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
what a sad story, that is unfortunately so true. i too cried,rather sobbed, when i read it. i work in a vet clinic and i have worked hard to find many a dear friend a new home.i have seen this happen over and over. i wish more people would read this and realize how noble our pets are and how much they love us, unconditionally. thank you!!!


Aline'    Posted 12-06-2002 at 10:48:29       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The poem is such a sad but true story.
I cried so hard as I typed it to add to my treasures I could hardly see the keys.
We had to put our little dog to sleep, she was 18 years old. She was so ill and in pain when we took her to Emg on that fateful night, Our Vet said there was nothing more she could do. So after a $500.00 exam I had to give the word to do the dreaded deed. My husband was so upset he couldn't do it. I had to call our son and his wife to come to Emg. to take care of my husband. 18 years was a long time and she Troubles, (Trubs) was our child. We now have 3 more dogs and love them dearly. We have always taken in strays and mistreated animals.
Thanks for the eye opening poem. God bless you
Aline'


James L. Rose    Posted 09-17-2002 at 20:26:32       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Mark, If your are the author of this story you are a saint. Only a pet lover could have written these words, I'm 73 years old and I cried, how could anyone be so cruel to the best friend you could ever expect to have. We had to have our Chester put to sleep but he was 17 and was not able to walk. There comes a time when the pets feelings must be considered, and they will let us know when that time comes. We now have two Jack Russell's and three cats. May I reproduce this? Thanks Jim Rose


Hogman    Posted 04-23-2002 at 03:52:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mark that ones a real tear jerkerand so often true.


Rhonda    Posted 03-06-2003 at 01:00:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I sat here thinking of my dog she will soon be 12 years old, "she is my child" thank you so much for the story it brought tears streaming down my face


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