Before I Die
By Jim Willis

'Tis lonely here in prison,
I dream of sun, of fields,
I saw them from a window once,
but I don't know how they feel.

I've never known a caress,
a friend, a bone, a toy,
I'd happily companion,
a human girl or boy.

But some men have decided,
with selfishness and greed,
that my fate shall be a cage,
and for my keep, I'll breed.

What should fuel this folly?
My kind may bark in vain.
We care not for your commerce,
and few know of our pain.

We're hidden well from justice,
for our freedom some may cry.
God grant me, please, just one request -
Let me play once before I die.


Dedicated to the millions of animals who never knew the sun and fresh air, those regarded as property, and who profited human bank accounts. Please help change laws that ignore animals are sentient beings deserving of guardianship. Help stop the lobbyist and illegal activities of puppy/kitten mills and petshop trade associations, and some animal registries that allow this incredibly cruel situation to continue. Visit the websites of national and international humane organizations who are waging campaigns against this abuse (such as In Defense of Animals), then write a letter to your local editor and contact your legislators and ask them to pass laws against large commercial breeding operations, animal auctions, and petshop sales.

Jim is author of Pieces of My Heart - Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature