by Fitz-Randolph Moore
I don't know where she was born,
whether she was wild or tame.
I do know that she was a dog,
And Josephine was her name.
Maybe she was brought here
Or picked up as a stray,
But to Josephine, in Yamhill County,
Life really seemed okay.
She was checked out by a vet
Put in a clean, dry place to stay
People gave her food and water,
And a little exercise every day.
People came to the shelter,
And some took a dog or cat away.
Some came with food, toys or bones,
Some came and took her out to play.
When people came to visit,
She'd jump up on the wire,
And wag her tail furiously
To be with them was her heart's desire.
One day a man came to her,
Who patted her and said "Good dog."
She went with him from cage to cage,
And rode till she scented a river's fog.
"Oh," she thought, "this may be good -
An even better place to stay -
Maybe a family with kids -
And a great big space to play!"
The truck stopped at a pole barn
With wire all around; while
Fifty dogs barked their welcome,
She wagged her tail at the sound.
There were dogs, and bitches and pups,
Most all of them big and black.
She knew that eventually,
She would find her place in the pack.
She was fed and watered, and
Her area cleaned every day,
But she sure missed the people
Who used to take her out to play.
Over a year, a couple of times,
Josephine was caged with a dog
Who would sniff and wag his tail;
And they mated in the river's fog.
Instinct told her to have puppies,
But something wasn't right -
One afternoon, a big truck came -
Into a cage and driven into the night.
Through gates and walls and guards -
Everything but a moat -
Into a big, stinking building
Where everyone wore a white coat.
Oh, these new sights and smells
Could not mean anything good.
"Run, Run" her instinct screamed,
But there was no way she could.
Josephine smelled chemicals and illness;
She sensed other animals' pain.
"What kind of place is this?;
A vet's clinic run by the insane?"
Whitecoats brought her food and water
And cleaned up her space, but
How she longed for a friendly pat
And the sight of a smiling face.
Josephine knew one thing for sure
Both the Shelter and the farm
Were far better places than this,
Where she sensed she'd come to harm.
In a room filled with bright lights,
Restraints hung from a shiny table.
As they strapped her down, Josephine
Understood as best she was able.
Josephine awoke in her cage,
With a great soreness of her jaws.
Thirsty, grateful, there was water
She slept, her sore muzzle on her paws.
Time went by, and she felt better -
Whitecoats came, and whitecoats went.
Josephine had no idea
Her life would soon be spent.
One last trip to the bright lights,
The whitecoats gathered 'round the table.
Josephine felt the straps again, trying
To comprehend as best she was able.
Josephine closed her eyes for the last time,
And the whitecoats harvested their tissue.
The mutilated corpse was incinerated, and
Whitecoats could publish in the next issue.
Thousands and thousands of Josephines,
Whether of pure or mixed breed,
All small sacrifices on the altar
Of institutional and corporate greed.
Copyright 1998, Fitz-Randolph Moore
Permission to reprint so long as copyright is attached.
(Josephine, a sixty-eight pound black and tan "hound"
was sold by Richard Lee (Lee Farms) to Oregon Health Sciences University
on January 15, 1998, because she wasn't a good breeder. She was
two-and-a half years old when she was killed at OHSU on May 26, 1998.)
Richard Lee violated Yamhill County Animal Control laws
by adopting Josephine from their shelter and then later reselling her
For more details on this situation, visit Ark Online at
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