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


Copyright Jim Willis 2002

'Tis lonely here in prison,
I dream of sun, of fields,
I saw them from a window once,
but I don't know how they feel.

I've never known a caress,
a friend, a bone, a toy,
I'd happily companion,
a human girl or boy.

But some men have decided,
with selfishness and greed,
that my fate shall be a cage,
and for my keep, I'll breed.

What should fuel this folly?
My kind may bark in vain.
We care not for your commerce,
and few know of our pain.

We're hidden well from justice,
for our freedom same may cry.
God grant me, please, just one request -
Let me play once before I die.

Dedicated to the millions of animals who never knew the sun and fresh air, those regarded as property, and who profited human bank accounts. Please help change laws that ignore animals are sentient beings deserving of guardianship. Help stop the lobbyist and illegal activities of puppy/kitten mills and pet shop trade associations, and some animal registries that allow this incredibly cruel situation to continue. Visit the websites of national and international humane organizations who are waging campaigns against this abuse (such as http://www.idausa.org ), then write a letter to your local editor and contact your legislators and ask them to pass laws against large commercial breeding operations, animal auctions, and pet shop sales.
Thank you,
Jim Willis, author of "Pieces of My Heart - Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature"


Dear Protector of Dogs and Fools:
When that intelligent, hardworking, honest judge finally sees what I see in this dog that 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 sometimes -- 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 -- sometimes. 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 idiot.
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 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.



ANGULATION: Degree to which dog handlers will bend over backwards to impress the judges. 

BALANCE: How to arrange the checkbook so your spouse won't know how much money you spent on dog shows last month. Usually done in the bathroom with the door locked. 

BITCH: a) Name for a lady dog. b) Name often overheard at dog shows, not always to describe a lady dog. 

COAT: The hairy covering of a dog that usually falls out about one week before the Specialty show. 

DAM: a) A lady dog with children. b) Expression frequently overheard at dog shows as losers leave the ring. 

ELBOW: Method of getting to ringside when late. 

EXPRESSION: "Sweet" look adopted by dogs while staring ravenously at chunks of liver. 

FANCIER: Degree to which some gentlemen handlers dress more than others. 

FEATHERING: What winners are accused of doing to Judges' nests. 

FRONT: Part of the dog often stacked toward the outside of the ring. 

HEEL: a ) What you feel like when your dog beats the one you had just sold to an eager novice.
b) Expression often screamed to attract the attention of deaf dogs. 

HEIGHT: As in "Maximum Allowed," a measurement which all champions fall under by AT LEAST 1/8 inch. 

HOCK: A way of financing your dog shows by the use of jewelry such as wedding rings. 

KENNEL: Where you go when the lads fight and your spouse yells at you. 

LITTER: Trash left all over the building and parking lot after a dog show. 

MASK: What to wear when you have to show the pet you sold six months ago. 

MUZZLE: What to put on your kids at a dog show to prevent them from calling your competition what they overheard you call him last night. 

NOSEPRINTS: Cute marks left all over your French doors. 

OUTCROSSING: What your spouse tells the minister you are doing out in the kennel with the dog and the bitch. 

POINTS: Minute, invisible awards for winning which you cannot convince your spouse are more important than cash prizes. 

PUPPIES: Small, dog-like food-processing machines with the ability to stink up an entire house and collectively deafen a band of magpies, (these creatures have not yet been perfected, as they come with a leaky system, and can also be dangerous to weak hearts and bank accounts).


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