Animal Writes
5 September 2001 Issue
The White Card Dog


The white card over the door said he was a 2-year-old German Shepherd, but the four-legged creature occupying the cramped cage was neither noble, fearless, majestic, nor proud. He was a layer of skin draped over a skeletal frame. He hadn't even the strength to lift his head. The offer of a meat tidbit was ignored, the will to continue existence in a human world had vanished.

Although he had been placed in a row of cages marked "for adoption," officials hadn't bothered with inoculations. A dog that no longer wanted anybody, was insensitive to the flies that feasted upon his dirty body, could hardly be expected to appeal to visitors seeking dogs to adopt. He no longer cared. He had no desire to be anyone's friend. He wasn't waiting to be claimed by anyone except death. And it seemed as if death wasn't in much of a hurry either.

I couldn't help wondering how this dog came into this world. Was he the result of someone who owned a female and felt she was "entitled" to have at least one litter? Was he the by-product of a family educational object lesson? "We felt the kids should see the miracle of birth."

Was he once someone's cute Christmas puppy that was discarded along with the tinsel and tree? Or was he a training aid, acquired to teach a child "responsibility"? Perhaps he was once a status symbol, his usefulness outmoded by changing fads.

Is he nature's result of a dog allowed to run the streets because of the mistaken philosophy that "dogs should be free and not confined"?

The person who felt his female was entitled to have at least one litter should be advised that at least one of the dogs he felt she was entitled to have, has laid down on the floor of a cement cage to die -- unwanting and unwanted. The parents who gave their children the benefit of seeing the miracle of birth didn't complete the lesson. Their children didn't get to see the miracle of death and how it is slowly putting an end to this creature they caused to be brought into this world.

The parents who hoped a new puppy would teach responsibility to their child should know that the living, breathing being that they gave to their child has almost breathed his last. Yes, they should have waited until their child demonstrated his ability to assume responsibility before placing a life in his hands.

And to the limp body on that cold cement floor -- what can I say to you, old fellow? What excuses can I offer for the suffering you have endured? How can I justify your existence? But it really doesn't matter to you anymore, does it? You don't even feel the ticks sucking the last vestiges of life from your veins. We don't deserve to be your best friend, do we boy?

Go on to Think Of Me
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