"Treat me kindly, my beloved friend
for no heart in all the world is
more grateful for kindness than
the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick,
for although I might lick your hand between blows,
your patience and understanding will more quickly
teach me the things you would have me learn.
Speak to me often,
for your voice is the world's sweetest music,
as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail
when the sound of your footsteps falls
upon my waiting ear.
Please take me inside when it is cold and wet,
for I am a domesticated animal,
no longer accustomed to bitter elements.
I ask no greater glory than the privilege
of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water,
for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.
Feed me clean food that I may stay well,
to romp and play and do your bidding,
to walk by our side and stand ready,
willing and able to protect you with my life.
And, my friend, when I am very old
and I no longer enjoy good health, hearing and sight,
do not make heroic efforts to keep me going.
I am not having any fun.
Please see to it that my life is taken gently.
I shall leave this earth knowing
with the last breath I draw that my
fate was always safest in your hands."
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