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To My Foster Mom (or Dad)

There I sat, alone and afraid,

You got a call and came right to my aid.

You bundled me up with blankets and love.

And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug.

I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold.

That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.

You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend.

You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.

And just when I thought you'd done all you do,

There came along not one new lesson, but two.

First you said, "Sweetheart, you're ready to go.

I've done all I can, and you've learned all I know."

Then you bundled me up with a blanket and kiss.

Along came a new family, they even have kids!

They took me to their home, forever to stay.

At first I thought you sent me away.

Then that second lesson became perfectly clear.

No matter how far, you will always be near.

And so, Foster Mom, you know I've moved on.

I have a new home, with toys and a lawn.

But I'll never forget what I learned that first day.

You never really give your fosters away.

You gave me these thoughts to remember you by.

We may never meet again, and now I know why.

You'll remember I lived with you for a time.

I may not be yours, but you'll always be mine.

 

- Author Unknown

---

A Foster Dog Poem

I am the bridge between what was and what can now be. I am the pathway to a new life.

I am made of mush because my heart melted when I saw you, matted and sore, limping, depressed, lonely, unwanted, afraid to love.

For one little time you are mine. I will feed you with my own hand I will love you with my whole heart I will make you whole.

I am made of steel because when the time comes, when you are well, and sleek, when your eyes shine,  and your tail wags with joy then comes the hard part.

I will let you go -- not without a tear, but without a regret. For you are safe forever.

A new dog needs me now.

 

by Diane Morgan

---

A Rescuer’s Prayer

Please give me the strength Lord that I need to do this work. Don't harden my heart but cause it to be able to withstand the pain and sorrow I feel each time I see the injustice with which animals are treated. Help me not to falter or become overwhelmed.

Lift me up and make me an example and inspiration to others. Let them see in me the desire to work with them so that together we will greet a day when our services are no longer needed.

Let me see a day when a kennel door opens and closes for the very last time as a shelter worker wave’s goodbye to the last of their charge. Let every pet know the security of being held in a loving owners arms and make it possible for every animal to breath fresh air, feel grass beneath their feet and sunshine on their back. Let me see a day when not even one animal is suffering in an experimental laboratory and a day that animals are looked upon for their natural beauty and not seen as fur clothing. Blessed will be the day when animals are no longer regarded as business.

My prayer is that the eyes of the abusers will open to the pain and suffering they cause and that one day mankind will indeed become kind. I pray that they receive understanding that everything hurts and that they will stop the pain. Only then will we be able to sit down and rest in the realization that we have completed a job well done.

Marlana

---

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Average Pet Owner:

Thank you for contacting us animal rescuers, shelter volunteers, and foster-homes about your inability to keep your pet. We receive an extremely high volume of inquiries and requests to accept surrendered animals (and none of us is getting paid, OK?). To help us expedite your problem as quickly as possible, please observe the following guidelines:

1. Do not say that you are "CONSIDERING finding a good home" for your pet, or that you, "feel you MIGHT be forced to," or that you "really THINK it would be better if" you unloaded the poor beast. Ninety-five percent of you have already got your minds stone-cold made up that the animal WILL be out of your life by the weekend at the latest. Say so. If you don't, I'm going to waste a lot of time giving you common-sense, easy solutions for very fixable problems, and you're going to waste a lot of time coming up with fanciful reasons why the solution couldn't possibly work for you. For instance, you say the cat claws the furniture, and I tell you about nail-clipping and scratching posts and aversion training, and then you go into a long harangue about how your husband won't let you put a scratching post in the family room, and your ADHD daughter cries if you use a squirt bottle on the cat, and your congenital thumb abnormalities prevent you from using nail scissors and etc., etc. Just say you're getting rid of the cat.

2. Do not waste time trying to convince me how nice and humane you are. Your coworker recommended that you contact me because I am nice to animals, not because I am nice to people, and I don't like people who "get rid of" their animals. "Get rid of" is my least favorite phrase in any language. I hope someone "gets rid of" YOU someday. I am an animal advocate, not a people therapist. After all, for your ADHD daughter, you can get counselors, special teachers, doctors, social workers, etc. Your pet has only me, and people like me, to turn to in his or her need, and we are unpaid, overworked, stressed-out, and demoralized. So don't tell me this big long story about how, "We love this dog so much, and we even bought him a special bed that cost $50, and it is just KILLING us to part with him, but honestly, our maid is just awash in dog

hair every time she cleans, and his breath sometimes just reeks of liver, so you can see how hard we've tried, and how dear he is to us, but we really just can't . . . ." You are not nice, and it is not killing you. It is, in all probability, literally killing your dog, but you're going to be just fine once the beast is out of your sight. Don't waste my time trying to make me like you or feel sorry for you in your plight.

3. Do not try to convince me that your pet is exceptional and deserves special treatment. I don’t care if you taught him to sit. I don't care if she's a beautiful Persian. I have a waiting list of battered and/or whacked-out animals who need help, and I have no room to foster-house your pet. Do not send me long messages detailing how Fido just l-o-v-e-s blankies and carries his favorite blankie everywhere, and oh, when he gets all excited and happy, he spins around in circles, isn't that cute? He really is darling, so it wouldn't be any trouble at all for us to find him a good home. Listen, we can go down to the pound and count the darling, spinning, blankie-loving beasts on death row by the dozens, any day of the week. And, honey, Fido is a six-year-old Shepherd-Lab mix. I am not lying when I tell you that big, older, mixed-breed, garden-variety dogs are almost completely unadoptable, and I don't care if they can whistle Dixie or send semaphore signals with their blankies. What you don't realize is that, though you're trying to lie to me, you're actually telling the truth: Your pet is a special, wonderful, amazing creature. But this mean old world does not care. More importantly, YOU do not care, and I can't fix that problem. All I can do is grieve for all the exceptional animals who live short, brutal, loveless lives and die without anyone ever recognizing that they were indeed very, very special.

4. Finally, just, for God' s sake, for the animal's sake, tell the truth, and the whole truth. Do you think that if you just mumble that your cat is "high-strung," I will say, "Okey-doke! No prob!" and take it into foster care? No, I will start a asking questions and uncover the truth, which is that your cat has not used a litter box in the last six months. Do not tell me that you "can't" crate your dog. I will ask what happens when you try to crate him, and you will either be forced to tell me the symptoms of full-blown, severe separation anxiety, or else you will resort to lying some more, wasting more of our time. And, if you succeed in placing your pet in a shelter or foster care, do not tell yourself the biggest lie of all: "Those nice people will take him and find him a good home, and everything will be fine." Those nice people will indeed give the animal every possible chance, but if we discover serious health or behavior problems, if we find that your misguided attempts to train or discipline him have driven him over the edge, we will do what you are too immoral and cowardly to do: We will hold the animal in our arms, telling him truthfully that he is a good dog or cat, telling him truthfully that we are sorry and we love him, while the vet ends his life. How can we be so heartless as to kill your pet, you ask? Do not ever dare to judge us. At least we tried. At least we stuck with him to the end. At least we never abandoned him to strangers, as you certainly did, didn't you? In short, this little old rescuer/foster momma has reached the point where she would prefer you pet owners to tell her stories like this: "We went to Wal-Mart and picked up a free pet in the parking lot a couple of years ago. Now we don't want it anymore. We're lazier than we thought. We've got no patience either. We're starting to suspect the animal is really smarter than we are, which is giving us self-esteem issues. Clearly, we can't possibly keep it. Plus, it might be getting sick; it's acting kind of funny. "We would like you to take it in eagerly, enthusiastically, and immediately. We hope you'll realize what a deal you're getting and not ask us for a donation to help defray your costs. After all, this is an (almost) pure-bred animal, and we'll send the leftover food along with it. We get it at Wal-Mart too, and boy, it's a really good deal, price-wise. "We are very irritated that you haven't shown pity on us in our great need and picked the animal up already. We thought you people were supposed to be humane! Come and get it today. No, we couldn't possibly bring it to you; the final episode of "Survivor II" is on tonight."

Bonnie Brayshaw of St. Louis, Missouri

---

Tender Hearts Rescue

Hello: You have reached 123-4567, Tender Hearts Rescue. Due to the high volume of calls we have been receiving, please listen closely to the following options and choose the one that best describes you or your situation:

Press 1 if you think we are veterinarians and want some free medical advice.

Press 2 if you know we are a rescue organization but want to save money and have us give you free, untrained medical advice anyway.

Press 3 if you make $200,000 a year but still want us to pay to spay the "stray" that you just found in your yard (house).

Press 4 if you have a 10-year-old dog and your 15-year-old son has suddenly become allergic and you need to find the dog a new home right away.

Press 5 if you have three dogs, had a baby and want to get rid of your dogs because you are the only person in the world to have a baby and dogs at the same time.  (Consider s/n for yourself)

Press 6 if your dog is sick and needs a vet but you need the money for your vacation and you want us to give you free medical advice.

Press 7 if you just got a brand new puppy and your old dog is having problems adjusting so you want to get rid of the old one right away.

Press 8 if your little puppy has grown up and is no longer small and cute and you want to trade it in for a new model. (Consider s/n for yourself)

Press 9 if you are elderly and want to adopt a cute puppy who is not active and is going to outlive you.

Press 10 if your relative has died and you don't want to care for their elderly dog because it doesn't fit your lifestyle.

Press 11 if you just learned you are moving today and need to immediately place your 150 pound, 8-year-old dog. (Consider s/n for yourself)

Press 12 if you want an unpaid volunteer to come to your home today and pick up the dog you no longer want.

Press 13 if you have been feeding and caring for a "stray" for the last three years, are moving today and suddenly determine its not your dog.

Press 14 if you are calling at 6 a.m. to make sure you wake me up before I have to go to work so you can drop a dog off on your way to work.

Press 15 to leave us an anonymous garbled message, letting us know you have left a dog in our yard in the middle of January, which is in fact, better than just leaving the dog with no message.

Press 16 if you are going to get angry because we are not going to take your dog today that you have had for fifteen years, because it is not our responsibility.

Press 17 if you are going to threaten to take your ten year old dog to be euthanized because we can't take it right away.

Press 18 if you're going to get angry because the volunteers had the audacity to go on vacation and leave the dogs in care of a trusted volunteer who is not authorized to take your personal pet.

Press 19 if you want one of our perfectly trained, housebroken, kid and cat friendly purebred tiny dogs that we have an abundance of.

Press 20 if you want us to take your dog that has a slight aggression problem, i.e. has only bitten a few people and killed your neighbors cats.

Press 21 if you have already called once and been told we don't take personal surrenders but thought you would get a different person this time with a different answer.

Press 22 if you want us to use space that would go to a stray to board your personal dog while you are on vacation, free of charge, of course.

Press 23 if it is Christmas Eve or Easter morning and you want me to deliver an eight week old puppy to your house by 6:30 am before your offspring wake up.  (Consider s/n for yourself)

Press 24 if you have bought your children a duckling, chick or baby bunny for Easter and it is now Christmas and no longer cute.

Press 25 if you want us to take your female dog who has already had ten litters, but we cant spay her because she is pregnant again and it is against your religion. (Consider s/n for yourself)

Press 26 if you're lying as fast as your mouth will run to make one of our younger volunteers feel guilty and take your personal pet off your hands.

Press 27 if your cat is biting and not using the litter box because it is declawed, but are not willing to accept the responsibility that the cats behavior is altered because of your nice furniture.

Press 28 if your two year old male dog is marking all over your house but you just haven't gotten around to having him neutered. (Consider s/n for yourself)

Press 29 if you previously had an outdoor only dog and are calling because she is suddenly pregnant.  (Consider s/n for yourself)

Press 30 if you have done "everything" to housebreak your dog and have had no success but you don't want to crate the dog because it is cruel.

Press 31 if you didn't listen to the message asking for an evening phone number and you left your work number when all volunteers are also working and you are angry because no one has called you back yet.

Press 32 if you need a puppy immediately and cannot wait because today is your daughters birthday and you forgot when she was born.  (Consider s/n for yourself)

Press 33 if your dogs coat doesn't match your new furniture and you need a different color or breed.

Press 34 if your new love doesn't like your dog and you are too stupid to get rid of the new friend (who will dump you in the next month anyway) instead of the dog.  (Consider s/n for yourself)

Press 35 if you went through all these presses and didn't hear enough. This press will connect you to the sounds of tears being shed by one of our volunteers who is holding a discarded old dog while the vet mercifully frees him from of the grief of missing his loving family.

---

"I Want To Quit!"

by Joan Fremo

May, 2001

This week's contribution is late, and I want to apologize to my readers. It has been such a busy week with Rescue, and sometimes Rescuers just run out of time. Sometimes, Rescue can be very difficult... I'd like to share with you my feelings. The following is based on a recent post I made to my friends on one of my Rescue Email lists. I was not the only one experiencing "one of those weeks".

I want to quit!

My health is bad. There are days I feel so terrible that I can barely move. My phone bills are outrageous, and I could have replaced my van with the funds I have spent these last 3 years---on animals that were not my own.

I want to quit!

I spend hours and hours emailing about dogs. There may be 500 messages when I start---and at 4 AM, when I finally shut down the computer, there are still 500 emails to be read.

I want to quit!

Gosh, I haven't the time left to email my friends. I can't remember the last book I read, and I gave up my subscription to my local newspaper---I used to enjoy reading it, cover to cover, but now it often ends up in the bottom of the squirrel's cage---unread.

I want to quit!

I've spent days emailing what seems like everyone---trying to find a foster home, help for a dog languishing in a shelter---but his time has run out, and the shelter has had to euthanize to make room for the next sad soul.

I want to quit!

I swear, I walk away from my computer to stretch my legs---let the dogs out---and come back to find another dog in desperate need. There are times I really dread checking my email. How will I find the funds, the help, to save yet another dog?

I want to quit!

I save one dog, and two more take its place. Now an owner who doesn't want his dog---it won't stay in his unfenced yard. An intact male wanders... This bitch got pregnant by a stray... This 3-month-old pup killed baby chicks... The dog got too big... This person's moving and needs to give up his pet. I ask you, friends---what town, what city, what state doesn't allow you to own a pet?

I want to quit!

I just received another picture, another sad soul with tormented eyes that peer out of a malnourished body. I hear whimpering in my sleep, have nightmares for days...

Many of the "Breed People" don't seem to want to hear about these dogs. Breeders either don't realize, or just don't care, how many dogs of their breed are dying in shelters.

I want to quit!

I just got off the phone. "Are you Pyr Rescue? We want to adopt a male to breed to our female." How many times do I have to explain? I have tried to explain about genetics, about health and pedigrees. I explain that rescue NEUTERS! I usually end up sobbing, as I explain about the vast numbers of animals dying in shelters across the country, as I describe the condition many of these animals are found in. I wonder if they really heard me...

I want to quit!

It is not like I don't have enough rescues of my own to worry about---but others have placed dogs improperly and aren't there to advise the new owners.

I want to quit!

There ARE some unscrupulous rescues out there---hoarders, collectors, and folks who will short change the care of the animals to make a dollar. They save them all, regardless of temperament, putting fellow rescuer's and adopters at risk by not being truthful.

I want to quit!

I have trusted the wrong people--- had faith and heart broken...

I want to quit! AND THEN...

My dog, lays his head in my lap, he comforts me with his gentle presence---and the thought of his cousins suffering stirs my heart.

I want to quit! AND THEN...

One of those 500 emails is from an adopter. They are thanking me for the most wonderful dog on earth---they cannot imagine life without their friend---their life is changed, and they are so grateful.

I want to quit! AND THEN...

One of my adopted Rescues has visited a nursing home. A patient that has spent the last few years unable to communicate, not connecting---Lifts his hand to pat the huge head in his lap, softly speaks his first words in ages--- to this gentle furchild.

I want to quit! AND THEN...

A Good Samaritan has found and vetted a lost baby, "I can't keep him, but I'll take care of him until you find his forever home."

I want to quit! AND THEN...

"Jamie took his first steps holding on to our Pyr." "Joan, you should see this dog nursing this hurt kitten!" "I was so sick, Joan, and he never left my side..."

I want to quit! AND THEN...

I get an email from a fellow rescuer, "Haven't heard from you in a while---you OK? You know I think of you..."

AND THEN...

A dozen rescuers step up to help, to transport, to pull, and to offer encouragement. I have friends I have never seen, but we share tears, joys, and everything in between. I am not alone. I am blest with family of the heart, my fellow Rescuers.

Just days ago it was a friend who shared her wit and wisdom, whose late night email lifted my heart. Sometimes it is friends who only have time to forward you a smile. Often, it is my friends who forward me the notices of dogs in need.

There are Rescuers who see a flailing transport and do everything they can do find folks to pull it together for you. Rescuers who'll overnight or foster your Dog while you seek transport. There are Rescuers not used to or comfortable with your breed, but who put aside their discomfort to help. There are Rescuers whose words play the music of our hearts. Foster homes that love your Rescue, and help to make them whole again---body and spirit. Foster homes that fit your baby in, though it may not be their breed. Rescuers whose talents and determination give us tools to help us. Rescuers we call on for help in a thousand ways, who answer us, who hear our pleas. Rescuers who are our family, our strength, our comrades in battle.

I know I cannot save every dog in need. I know my efforts are a mere drop in a sea. I know that if I take on just one more---those I have will suffer.

I want to quit!

But I won't. When I feel overwhelmed, I'll stroke my dogs head while reading my fellow Rescuers emails. I'll cry with them, I'll laugh with them---and they will help me find the strength to go on.

I want to quit!

But not today.

There's another email, another dog needing Rescue.

This piece is dedicated, with love and gratitude, to all my fellow Rescuers.

---

The Night Before

Well, its transport

And all through the farm

Stress levels are so high

They could really cause harm

So much chaos and so many papers to get straight

Harnesses, leashes, don't forget to label the crate!

The babies all vetted, bathed and plans made,

The second phase of their journey to their family is laid

Caring hearts join together, mile after mile

And thru the heart wrenching goodbye's, we really gotta smile.

Because this baby's been SAVED, a new life has begun

We just have this transport - one more run.

To get you to safety,  just one step closer to home.

No more concrete floors, cold and hungry, streets to roam.

Or maybe as tragic as tragic can be,

You had to be uprooted and leave your family.

I just hope, pray and work hard to find a remedy,

To give you back all you lost and your security.

So, in a few hours, you leave my protective care.

It is not easy at all, but your journey I have to share,

 With others who love you and desire - just like me.

To see your match made in heaven - your forever family.

Lisa Gupton

http://www.whisperingwaysfarm.blogspot.com/

---

Note to adopters:

Lassie, Cleo, Rin Tin Tin and Toto don't show up in rescue. We don't get the elegantly coiffed, classically beautiful, completely trained, perfectly behaved dog. We get the leftovers. Dogs that other people have incompetently bred, inadequately socialized, ineffectively "trained," and badly treated.

Most Rescue dogs have had it.

They've been pushed from one lousy situation to another. They've never had proper veterinary care, kind and consistent training, or sufficient company. They've lived outside, in a crate, or in the basement. They're scared, depressed and anxious. Some are angry. Some are sick. Some have even given up. But we are Rescue and we don't give up.

We never give up on a dog!

We know that a dog is a living being, with a spirit and a heart and feelings. Our dogs are not commodities, things, or garbage. They are part of a sacred creation and they deserve as much love and care and respect as the next Westminster champion.

So please, please don't come to rescue in the hopes of getting a "bargain," or indeed of "getting" anything at all.

Come to Rescue to give, to love, to save a life -- and to mend your own spirit.

For Rescue will reward you in ways you never thought possible.

I can promise you this -- a rescue dog will make you a better person.

---

-Author Unknown

For RJ

The "punishment" for compassion is the heartbreak that trails....

But saving oneself from that punishment would mean depriving so many others from often times the last chance we provide. It's like a miracle we get to be a part of.

The problem is the emotional wounds left by our unsuccessfuls is not an easy heal, since we expect of ourselves collectively to so often be able to overcome almost impossible odds because of the successes we do have, whether that means bringing the ones on the edge back to health, or just simply a new home.

I know that we all share that pain and we don't all even know each other personally. God knows it is a disappointment, deeply felt because we do have so many good outcomes the losses seem all the harder to bear.

---

SWEET MUSIC

Thank you to Sue Williams, Founder/Operator, Holly Help Memorial Spay Fund

This is a true story. The writer wishes to remain anonymous.

It was another cold day in January when the Alanon A.A. Support group met. Chairs in a circle and one by one, each introduced themselves and gave a summary of their life. The focus was on Carol. She told how, because of her long dependence on alcohol, her family had stopped listening to her view and to her opinions. She was no longer valued as a useful member of the family unit. Sadly she finished, "I feel as though I have no voice".

The focus then turned to the next occupied chair. A middle-aged girl slowly began to speak. "My name is Jamie and I am an addict. I understand how Carol feels because I have lost everything; my husband, my car, along with most of my personal belongings. All are now gone. And because of a careless cigarette, my home caught fire and burned also. But this blackened house is the only place that I have left to go. I have managed to hold on to one small job as a waitress. When the tables are cleared and the plates have been returned to the kitchen, I scrape all of the unwanted food into a bucket. At the end of the day, as I walk home, I stop at many houses along the way. These are the homes to lonely dogs that have been tied and forgotten in their back yards. Seldom visited by their owners, water bowls are left overturned and dry. Some do not have shelter and none are fed regularly. So, as I stop at each house to give every dog a little of the scraps from the restaurant bucket, I fill their bowls with water from the outdoor spigots. Rarely do the pet owners know, or care, that I have visited.

And, it was in each of these grown-up, run-down back yards where I came to realize that I do still have a voice. And every evening, my voice dances like sweet music to someone's waiting ears".

---

To Those Who Care!

By Renee Haynes Litteral

I know the face of danger…I have felt its terrible blow.

I lie before you fearful…how am I to know?

I've not known much kindness…abandoned to my fate.

Until you came upon me…trembling at the gate.

I know the pain of hunger…it has driven me this far.

I must look fretful…I have so many scars.

My coat is ragged…it has an awful smell.

But with all that I've been through…it's served its purpose well.

The memories of such tragedies…circle in my mind.

Yours is the first voice…that has been kind.

Your tones they soothe me…I need so much to believe,

that you will not harm me…my soul to relieve.

I hold my head low…for my spirit is broken.

Not knowing how to take…each word that is spoken.

They fall upon me softly…I dare to raise my eyes.

And what I see before me…I hardly recognize.

A gentle expression…a hand upon my brow,

I feel myself being lifted…what will happen now?

I sink into the warmth…I have no will to fight.

The darkness surrounds me…I know not what my plight.

I am awakened…by a motivation strong,

The smell of food…Oh, it's been so long!

Without hesitation…each morsel I partake.

Till all is gone…except an empty plate.

I feel my strength returning…my body feels so light.

My coat is freshly washed…my wounds are wrapped up tight.

And up above me watching…again your gentle face.

Then I look around me…wondering about this place.

Must I be in heaven...is this an angel sent?

To fix what was broken…straighten what was bent?

At first I am unsettled…for we are not alone!

There are others…seated around the throne.

They were once like me…I can see it in their eyes!

I am no longer frightened…for now I realize.

Their coats were once like mine… though clean they may be.

Their scars reveal the truth to me.

Again I hear those soothing sounds…

And feel your arms coming round.

My body is sore…I don't resist.

And then I feel…a gentle kiss

I know that I will no longer fear…

When you…my angel…comes near.

For though only a dog I may be…

God has sent you…an angel…to ME!

---

You know you've been doing rescue too long when. . .

1. You have a mental list of people you'd like to spay or neuter.

2. You stopped at a house with a "Free Puppies" sign in the yard to have an Educational "Chat," and your kids had to post your bail.

3. Running out of paper towels is a household crisis.

4. You not only know all the characteristics of a good "stool," you discuss them at dinner.

5. Your checks have messages on them like "Subtract Two Testicles For Every Four Feet."

6. You have a bumper sticker that reads "My Golden Retriever Is Smarter Than Your Graduate Student."

7. You secretly wonder about such things as ‘how animals can manage without wiping.’

8. You pray they will someday manufacture Teflon furniture.

9. You have phone calls forwarded to PetSmart.

10. You absentmindedly pat people on the head or scratch them behind their ears.

11. Given the choice of having your teeth cleaned or their teeth cleaned, they get their teeth cleaned.

12. You not only allow pets on the couch, guests have to sit on the floor because the dog has "territorial issues."

13. Your spouse missed the final game of the World Series because the cat wanted to watch his favorite video, "Birds of North America."

14. Anytime the animal appears lethargic, you go on-line and investigate vet med websites, pose questions to your address book and on e-lists, and by the time you digest all the information and field the correspondence, the animal has torn out the window screens, masticated a couch cushion and left something disgusting in your favorite pair of shoes.

15. Your chatroom handle is "Queen of Spayeds."

16. You and your vet are on a first name basis and he genuflects when you enter the waiting room. His daughter at Harvard refers to you as "Auntie."

17. You needed a prescription to recover from "Old Yeller."

18. You've forwarded more warnings about the dangers of chocolate, onions and mistletoe than the National Center for Disease Control has issued about anthrax and smallpox.

19. You wear white year 'round, not because you are flaunting a fashion law or belong to a religious sect but because you have a Dalmatian, Great Pyrenees, Samoyed or white Persian at home.

20. The world would never guess from your "dog or kittyspeak" posts to e-lists that in reality you are chairman of the IBM corporation.

21. By the time you investigate different flea control products, their advantages and potential risks, natural versus chemical methods, and study the life cycle of the flea, any fleas have died of old age.

22. You tell your children to "heel!" in a grocery store.

23. For relaxation, you went mall hopping with your girlfriends. Your eyes glazed over when you saw a sign in front of a pet shop, "20% Off All Puppies & Kittens," and you slapped three security guards before they got you safely contained in the manager's office.

24. People are still talking about your spay-neuter holiday greeting from last year, "Deck the Halls with Balls of Collies."

 ---

I Bark But No One Hears Me!

by Carla Anderson

I bark but no one hears me!

As I take shelter from the storm.

These few bushes that I hide in

Just barely keep me warm.

I bark but no one hears me!

I'm just old and a little fray.

There is still some life within me

How could they just throw me away.

I bark but no one hears me!

Can't you see me, I am here.

It's been days since I have eaten

Please just take some time to care.

I bark but no one hears me!

I'm growing weaker each passing day.

These frail bones of mine protruding

Cause me pain here as I lay.

I bark but no one hears me!

All I need is your loving touch.

Like I had when I was a puppy

You once cared for me so much.

I bark but no one hears me!

One day too you will grow old.

Still I will love you unconditionally

I will be there for you to hold.

Please I beg of you to take me in

There is  not much you have to give.

Just some " tender loving care"

In these last years I have to Live.

I BARK AND SOMEONE HEARS ME!

A guardian angel sent from up above.

There is still someone who cares

Who just took the time to Love.

---

"Prayer of A Stray"

Author Unknown

Dear God; Please send me someone who will care, I'm tired of running; I'm sick with despair. My body is aching; it's so racked with pain, And, God, I pray as I run in the rain. That someone will love me and give me a home, that warm cozy bed and a big juicy bone. My last owner tied me all day in the yard, Sometimes with no water and that was hard. So I chewed my leash and I ran away, To rummage in garbage and live as a stray. But now I'm tired, hungry and cold, and I'm so afraid that I'll never grow old. They chased me with sticks and hit me with stones while I run the streets just looking for bones. I'm not really bad, God, please help me if you can, for I have become just a "victim of man". I'm wormy, and I'm ridden with fleas, while all I want is an owner to please. If you find one for me, I'll try to be good, I won't chew their shoes and I'll do, as I should. I'll love them, protect them and try to obey, when they tell me to sit, to lie, and to stay. I don't think I'll make it too long on my own, Cause I'm getting so weak and I'm so all alone. Each night as I sleep in the bushes, I cry,

 

I'm so afraid, God, that I'm going to die. And I've got so much love and devotion to give, that I should be given a new chance to live. So dear God, please, please, answer my prayer and Send me somebody who really will care... 

---

 Rescuing Old Dogs

One by one they pass my cage,

Too old, too worn, too broken, no way.

Way past his prime he can't run and play,

Then they shake their heads slowly and go on their way.

A little old man, arthritic and sore,

It seems I am not wanted anymore.

I once had a home, I once had a bed,

A place that was warm, and where I was fed.

Now my muzzle is grey, and my eyes slowly fail,

Who wants a dog so old and so frail?

My family decided I didn't belong,

I got in their way, my attitude was wrong.

Whatever excuse they made in their head

Can't justify how they left me for dead.

Now I sit in this cage, where day after day,

The younger dogs get adopted away.

When I had almost come to the end of my rope,

You saw my face and I finally had hope.

You saw thru the grey, and the legs bent with age,

And felt I still had life beyond the cage.

You took me home, gave me food and a bed,

And shared your own pillow with my poor tired head.

We snuggle and play, and you talk to me low,

You love me so dearly and want me to know.

I may have lived most of my life with another,

But you outshine them with a love so much stronger.

I promise to return all the love I can give,

To You, my dear person, as long as I live.

I may be with you for a week or for years,

We will share many smiles, you will no doubt shed tears.

And when the time comes that God deems I must leave,

I know you will cry and your heart will grieve.

And when I arrive at the Bridge, all brand new,

My thoughts and my heart will still be with you.

And I will brag to all who will hear,

Of the person who made my last days so dear.