Animal Writes
From 13 July 2003 Issue

Fourth of July Litter
Copyrighted 1994 by Karin Morrison - [email protected]
From her book "Compassion Seeds"
Founder & President, Compassion Seeds Animal Sanctuary, Oklahoma

For the past days the little shaggy dog had stayed next to a trash can in the park. It was shady here and cool. The fresh earth of the small hole she had dug beneath the picnic table gave a little comfort to her skin, skin that was embedded with thorns and covered fleas and ticks that slowly drained the life out of her frail body. She could barely see because of matted fur that was covering her eyes. Weak and in pain she had not felt like looking for food and water.

Vaguely she remembered a bowl filled with dry food, a wrinkled hand and another one with fresh water. Oh yes ... cool, refreshing water!

She is now panting and her mouth is dry. Suddenly her head raises her tail starts to thump, hesitantly and slowly at first, then getting faster and faster. Cars are coming through the park! The morning peace and the song of the birds are interrupted by the noise of trucks, cars, people shouting and children laughing. Tables are set up, covered with all kinds of things.

The little dog recognizes the smell of food. Wearily she raises her head to see what the hustle and bustle is all about. More and more people are arriving. The smell of food is getting stronger and the little dog starts to stagger around, in hope of finding some crumbs, to ease the nagging hunger pain inside of her. Maybe there will be even a few licks of water somewhere.

A little girl reaches out to her. The little dog excitedly tries to lick the child's hand, but a screeching voice and a sudden, sharp pain in her side makes her jump and run away.

Now she can hear music and everyone is having a good time, so the little dog is hardly noticed.

However, two children give her a few pieces of their hot-dogs and some ice cubes from a paper cup, which lessens her thirst.

Stronger now, the little dog walks around, carefully avoiding kicking feet. She follows the two children, while picking up other scraps of food such as potato chips, part of a hamburger and some fries.

The children stop at a large tank of water. They start to throw balls and once in a while the water splashes over the edge, people shout and the little dog eagerly licks the water. She rolls in it, hoping to find comfort for her sore skin, causing people to point at her, laughing and wrinkling their noses in disgust.

She continues to follow the children who stop to talk to a large man. All of a sudden the man comes rushing at her, screaming, clapping his hands and yelling at her to "go away"!

She runs as fast as she can, gets tangled in a cloth of red, white and blue colors, hears people screaming something about a flag and desperately seeks a place for safety under a picnic table.

The table is occupied by singing and shouting people. A man bends down and gives her a gentle pat on the back. She curls up next to his seat, hoping that he will touch her again. Drained of the little strength she had left, she falls asleep.

When she wakes up, the sun is setting. The man is gathering up his belongings and is getting ready to leave. Hopefully, the little dog wags it's tail, wanting to be taken along. Patiently she waits, while licking on part of an ice cream cone that she finds close by.

The man pats her once more and says, "Go home, mutt." Then he leaves. The little dog watches until the car disappears from sight.

It is quiet now. With her nose to the ground, smelling paper, cans and other trash, she manages to find a few more bites. The food upsets her stomach. Violent cramps make her fragile body squirm in pain.

She crawls back into her hole under the table and curls up into a small ball. Weakness relaxes her body. Her eyesight fails, either due to the night falling or because she is so tired ... so tired! Her small body quivers, her legs stretch and a tiny sigh escapes from her mouth. Her eyes slowly close. The noise of the fireworks do not disturb or frighten her any longer, in fact ... nothing will ever frighten her again.

She sees another man's face, one she used to love so much. She feels his gentle, wrinkled hand stroke her body.

The little dog is home again! This time for good.

The next morning city workers are cleaning up the park. They talk about the wonderful Fourth of July party they had the day before, while picking up the trash that is carelessly scattered all over the park.

One of them discovers the little dog. He picks her up. For a quick moment a sign of compassion softens his harsh face, as he looks at her abused, dead body. Then he tosses her into the trash can with the rest of the litter, shakes his head and walks away.


Reminder: August 16th is the National Homeless Animals Day, commemorated by a candlelight vigil. Please go to the following website for more information, and how you can get your vigil packet and bring the vigil to your community.
ISAR Campaigns: National Homeless Animals' Day

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