A collection of words that have affected me in some manner.
I believe you'll enjoy them too.



I stole your dog today. No, I didn't set a foot on your property, but from the condition of your dog, I can imagine what it looks like...the word "junkyard" comes to mind.

I found her along a road, with a heavy chain wrapped around her neck, still attached to rotten boards from her doghouse, with rusty six-penny nails protruding. Not only did I know that most of the town had already ignored her, judging by where I found her, but I knew that if she had gotten into the woods the "cross" that she dragged behind her would have wrapped around a tree until starvation or thirst killed her. The local populace is usually deaf to the sound or blind to the sight of an animal in need, unless they decide to shoot one for trespassing.

That her ribs showed, that her ears were filthy, that her overall condition was poor and that her coat and eyes were dull, were good indications that you didn't deserve her. But just to make sure, I checked with the local authorities for a report of a missing (unlicensed) dog matching her description and to see if you'd placed a "lost dog" advertisement in the local newspaper. You hadn't, which I can only surmise means that you do not miss her. That's rather convenient, because the fact that she is not spayed, probably unvaccinated, and possibly heartworm positive means that restoring her health could cost me around a thousand dollars.

Perhaps it may be some small comfort to know that she doesn't miss you. In fact, her very act of escape made it clear that she'd had enough of your brand of pet guardianship. It took her about a day to realize that I'm not you, that I won't hurt her, that despite our brief acquaintanceship, I love her. It took two days for her to realize that the other animals who live here accept her and that one of the joys she has been missing has been the companionship of other dogs. It took three days for her to appreciate the ecstasy of a home cooked meal and that a couch is meant to be reclined on, and that she no longer has to sleep outside - in fact, when the thunder starts, she'll get a hug and her ears rubbed, and I'll make a fool of myself with baby talk.

She has a beautiful name now. Already in the first week she has come to look more like she should. Her eyes sparkle and she has learned to wag her tail in greeting. She has stopped flinching when I make a sudden movement, because she knows now that I won't beat her, in fact, she rarely leaves my side. She's even become brave enough to bark at a cat and today I watched from the window as she initiated play with the other dogs. No, it's clear she does not miss you or her former life of neglect on a chain. 

Of all the things that have become apparent from my brief relationship with her - such as the forgiving nature of the dog, their wonderful ability to heal and to trust, the fact that love can work miracles - one of the most apparent is what a fool you are. She was possibly the most trusting, loyal and loving being in your life, and you consigned her to a life of filth and loneliness until she made the best choice she's ever made when she broke free. Perhaps her guardian angel helped her escape. Lest anyone should mistake me for a angel, I will admit that one day I hope to be as good as she; I believe she forgave you within the first twenty-four hours of her new life for the about four years of her previous "life," while I still try wrestle with the part of me that hopes that one day you will burn in Hell.

It's not clear yet whether she'll remain here or whether I'll find her a loving home where she can count on more individual attention than I can give her, but one thing is certain, this is one bit of stolen "property" who is never returning to you. So sue me, prosecute me, plead with the courts that she is rightfully yours...I'm convinced this is the best "crime" I've ever committed. Hardly anything has pleased me more than the day I stole your dog. I need only look into her beautiful brown eyes to know that she'd defend my decision with her life. If we have one prayer, it is that you will not replace her, and if we have one special day to commemorate together, it is the day I stole your dog and the day she stole my heart.

Copyright Jim Willis 2002

The Canine Bill of Rights

I have the right to give and receive unconditional love.
I have the right to a life that is beyond mere survival.
I have the right to be trained so I do not become the prisoner of my own misbehavior.
I have the right to adequate food and medical care.
I have the right to socialize with people and dogs outside of my family.
I have the right to have my needs and wants respected.
I have the right to special time with my people.
I have the right to only be bred responsibly -- if at all.
I have the right to some time and space all my own.
I have the right to be foolish and silly, and to make my person laugh.
I have the right to earn my person's trust and to be trusted in return.
I have the right to be forgiven.
I have the right to die with dignity.

By Carolyn Krause


Dear Protector of Dogs and Fools:

When that intelligent, hardworking, honest judge finally sees what I see in this dog I've worked so hard and long with, help me to accept my win with grace and dignity. And, when that blind, clueless idiot -- I mean, judge--somehow fails to see what a fine job we've done, (well, at least better than the so-and-so he placed ahead of us!), help me to accept my defeat with some of that same grace and dignity.

Lord, you alone know how I've sweated blood over this dog, the hours I've spent getting her ready (and, Lord, are any of them ever ready?). You (and probably only you!) understand why I've spent good money on this animal -- money I could have spent on lots of other things -- things that just might have afforded me a little more pleasure and a lot less frustration.

Lord, tolerate my disappointment when I lose, and help me keep it all in perspective. Help me remember that when some dog show judge gives me the gate, it's not as if St. Peter just gave me those pearly ones.

Lord, clear my eyes and help me see, *before* I open my big mouth, that the so-and-so with the cow-hocked, pony-gaited dink walking out of the ring ahead of me is actually a fellow exhibitor who has also worked hard, maybe even sweated blood over *his* dog too, and probably deserves to enjoy this moment to its fullest while it lasts.

Lord, you know there are some times -- but not nearly as often as I tend to suppose-- when I lose -- such ugly things as Politics, Prejudice, and Unethical Practices, which may cause my dog to get beaten unfairly -- some times. Help me, then, to remember that several wrongs won't ever make a right, and that none of the wrongs gives me an excuse to act like an

You know I'm a competitor, Lord; I make no bones about that. I love to win and I hate to get beat. There are few things more abhorrent to me, Lord, than placing sixth out of six. If I didn't love to compete, I'd stay home and knit afghans. But then, there are probably afghan shows, and people who hire professional knitters with high-tech knitting machines, and most likely there are afghan show judges who raise sheep whose wool goes into some of the winningest afghans, and there I'd be -- still frustrated, still getting beat, and without a dog to share half the blame.

This year, Lord, help me to have a little more faith in my fellow dog folks, and for Heaven's sake, help me win, or lose, with a little class.


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