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28 March 1999 Issue
Unrecognized Treasure

Do you remember thinking it was time that the kids learned some responsibility
and scanning the newspaper ads for a cheap dog for sale? Do you remember
bringing home this little ball of shivering fur and putting her out in the yard on a
chain that was too heavy on a night that was too cold? Of course you don't
remember this. After all, she is only a dog.

Do you remember this baby crying because she was afraid and alone? Do you
remember screaming at her to be quiet and finally going out there to kick her to
drive home the lesson? Of course you don't remember this. After all, she is only a
dog.

Do you remember the many times you noticed her water bowl was empty and her
food bowl was covered with mold and thinking that it was the kids' job to take care
of her? Do you remember seeing that her coat was dull and lifeless and, in many
places, chewed away down to the skin because of the parasites no one took the
time to rid her of? Of course you don't remember this. After all, she is only a dog.

Do you remember her first heat and the neighbor's male visiting her night after
night? Do you remember thinking that letting her have the puppies would be a
good experience for the kids? Do you remember that every one of those pups died
because their mother was no more than a puppy herself? Of course you don't
remember this. After all, she is only a dog.

I know you remember the animal control officer coming to the house, accusing you
of animal cruelty and taking her away because you couldn't understand what all
the fuss was about. After all, she is only a dog.

I thought you might be interested in how this girl is doing today. You see, once
she found a home that gave her love, attention and proper care, she blossomed
into a beautiful, loyal companion. To these people, she is much more than only a
dog.

She became a therapy dog and now goes to nursing homes and hospices where
she brightens the lives of the infirm and dying. To some of these people, she has
given hope. To others, she's given them a reason to keep living. To even others,
she's given them the will to die peacefully, with a smile on their lips. To these
people, she is much more than only a dog.

Just last week, she helped find a little boy that was lost in the woods. She spent
a long, cold winter's night, lying over him to keep him warm and risked her own life
to protect his. To this little boy and his family, she is much more than only a dog.

What is the difference? Why did that filthy, flea ridden animal chained in your
backyard suddenly become so important to so many? Because she never gave
up her trust in people and she never once thought, "After all, he is only a human."

-- Author Unknown

Go on to Dangers in Febreeze and Pot Scrubbers
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