What a dog or cat is
This column ran the following editorial, “I am a dog, not a thing,” last year, but it’s worth repeating because it is true and touching. But perhaps you haven’t read this heartfelt piece of writing, which appears at many websites, by Penny Eims (examiner.com). CAPS, though, also loves cats, and most of the content also applies to our feline friends.
“I am a dog. I am a living, breathing animal. I feel pain, joy, love, fear and pleasure.
“I am not a thing. If I am hit — I will bruise, I will bleed, I will break. I will feel pain. I am not a thing.
“I am a dog. I enjoy playtime, walk time, but more than anything, I enjoy time with my pack – my family — my people. I want nothing more than to be by the side of my human. I want to sleep where you sleep and walk where you walk. I am a dog and I feel love … I crave companionship.
“I enjoy the touch of a kind hand and the softness of a good bed. I want to be inside of the home with my family, not stuck on the end of a chain or alone in a kennel or fenced yard for hours on end. I was born to be a companion, not to live a life of solitude.
“I get too cold and I get too hot. I experience hunger and thirst. I am a living creature, not a thing.
“When you leave, I want to go with you. If I stay behind, I will eagerly await your return. I long for the sound of your voice. I will do most anything to please you. I live to be your treasured companion.
“I am a dog. My actions are not dictated by money, greed, or hatred. I do not know prejudice. I live in the moment and am ruled by love and loyalty.
“Do not mistake me for a mindless object. I can feel and I can think. I can experience more than physical pain, I can feel fear and joy. I can feel love and confusion. I have emotions. I understand perhaps more than you do. I am able to comprehend the words you speak to me, but you are not always able to understand me.
“I am a dog. I am not able to care for myself without your help. If you choose to tie me up and refuse to feed me, I will starve. If you abandon me on a rural road, I will experience fear and loneliness. I will search for you and wonder why I have been left behind. I am not a piece of property to be dumped and forgotten.
“If you choose to leave me at a shelter, I will be frightened and bewildered. I will watch for your return with every footfall that approaches my kennel run.
“I am a dog – a living, breathing creature. If you choose to take me home, please provide me with the things that I need to keep me healthy and happy.
“Provide me with good food, clean water, warm shelter and your love. Do not abandon me. Do not kick me. Do not dump me when your life gets too busy. Make a commitment to me for the entirety of my life, or do not take me home in the first place.
“If you desert me, I do not have the means to care for myself. I am at the mercy of the kindness of people — if I fall into the wrong hands, my life will be ruined.
“I will experience pain, fear and loneliness. If I wind up in an animal shelter, I have only my eyes to implore someone to save me, and my tail to show you that I am a friend. If that is not good enough, I will die.
“I am a dog. I want to give and receive love. I want to live. I am not a thing. I am not a piece of property. Please do not discard me. Please treat me with kindness, love and respect. I promise to repay you with unconditional love for as long as I live.”
This week’s article was contributed by Betty Duncan, a member of the CAPS board of directors.