all my fault.
I should have known better.
I wasn’t thinking when I did
I won’t let it happen to me again.
When I walked into the dog
pound in San Antonio ten years
ago and saw that little gray dog that looked just like Tramp in the movie ...
“Lady and the Tramp” I should have kept on going. But when he raised his paw as
if to say… “Hi, I’m not really supposed to be here…this is a mistake…I’d like
to come home with you”. I should not have paid any attention; I should have left
I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was nearly ten
years ago. It was a Saturday and he was due to be gassed on Monday. He was marked
down from sixteen dollars to thirteen. We took him and have kept him and now he
is in the hospital and we don’t know if he will live or die and I have a big hole
in my heart.
It’s five in the morning and the vet hospital just called
and told us that he needed a blood transfusion to keep him going. We are getting
dressed and have to go in an hour or so. Soon I will have to make a decision.
One that I should have thought about before I walked out with him from the pound
ten years ago. One that none of us enjoy doing. I will have to decide what to
do next. Do I keep on treating him or do I let them put him to sleep?
hate myself for allowing this to happen. Why did I give my heart to this little
animal and keep kidding myself that he was always going to be a young dog who
liked to run and chase squirrels?
We never knew how old he was, the vet
thinks he was about four when we got him, so that would make him fourteen as of
now. That’s ninety eight in human years, and up until the last week he has never
had too many health problems. Now his heart is weak and his immune system is weaker
and they don’t know exactly what to do or how to fix him.
So, it will come
to me to make a decision. One that I have pushed to the furthest recesses of my
mind. One that I always forced myself not to think about. Do I tell them to keep
on trying and put him through the agony of another operation or do I tell them
to let him go gently into the long night?
I cannot even bear the thought
of driving back to the vet hospital this morning. I know his coal black eyes will
be looking deep into my soul and asking me… “When can I go home?’ And I have no
answer. I know that little tail will try to wag as it has for countless millions
of times when I pick him up, but for how long? How could I have allowed this to
events in my past as a soldier, a cop and a business person have hardened me to
a lot of the ways of the world. What confuses me is how a little gray dog can
melt all of that hardness away and manage to steal your heart without you even
knowing it is going on at the time. How can we cry for little animals and feel
the way we do while remaining indifferent to some people in our lives?
The only explanation I have is that dogs (or cats) are an example to us of God’s
perfect love. They just love us with no strings attached. No, that’s wrong, they
do have strings attached. The strings to my heart.
I’m sorry if this week
isn’t what I normally put down on paper for you to read. I’m sorry if you have
ever lost an animal and have gone though what I’m going though at this time. If
you own an animal I’m sorry if I have brought up unpleasant thoughts about the
future. I know I will get over this, I know I will. I just need some time to think
about what to do and how to get it done. Please know that this is very hard for
me to write and that I want to keep on going and not become bitter about something
I should have thought of years ago. As I’ve always said….. “God, please make me
the kind of person my dog thinks I am…”
Letters From North America
- March 10,
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to firstname.lastname@example.org