Reposting From Facebook: Please Read!

This is something someone shared on FaceCrook, and it’s deserving of being shared everywhere.  Hence, I put it up here.

 

A man in Grand Rapids, Michigan incredibly took out a $7000 full page ad in the paper to present the following essay to the people of his community.

 

HOW COULD YOU? – By Jim Willis, 2001

 

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” — but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly rub.

 

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

 

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” – – still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

 

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.” As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch — because your touch was now so infrequent — and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

 

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog ,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

 

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family

 

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked, “How could you?”

 

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind — that this was all a bad dream… or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

 

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

 

As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured, “How could you?”

 

Perhaps because she understood my dog speak, she said, “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself — a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

 

A Note from the Author: If “How Could You?” brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly “owned” pets who die each year in American & Canadian animal shelters. Please use this to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

 

Please pass this on to everyone, not to hurt them or make them sad, but it could save maybe, even one, unwanted pet. Remember…They love UNCONDITIONALLY.

Now that the tears are rolling down your face, pass it on! Send to everyone in your address book. This IS the reality of dogs given up to shelters!

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The Ballad of The Furg….

I find it hard to keep up with my blog.  Most days I suppose I don’t have much to say.  The holiday season doesn’t help, as it adds so much pressure and longer work hours for me.

So, what’s new….I finally gave the dog a much-needed bath today, which is one chore off of the mountain I’d been neglecting.  It kept getting put back because of all the rain; what’s the purpose of washing her when she’s going to get muddy?

While washing the dog isn’t necessarily fun (especially since I know she hates it), watching the after-show party always is.  Most dogs aren’t nuts about the bath, but they always seem to get some turbo-boost of energy afterwards, running all around the home and crashing into things.  Furgii’s a smaller dog (12 lbs.), so it’s even more amusing I’d think, than with a bigger dog since she’s small and flies all around with incredible agility.  I also love the sound of her feet pattering all over the carpets and the constant dry-off shake which she does so vigorously her back legs come off the floor.  She provided a lot of laughs today, and it’s only 10:45, having gotten up about three hours ago.

My Furg is a rescue, and all future pets will be as well.  She’s my first or second pet depending on how you count.  My “first” dog was Chance, and I only had him five weeks.  He had an illness that was too severe for me to manage on my own.  His disease was undiagnosed at the time.  I had even written a song for him, “Taking a Chance”, in anticipation of getting him.  The song is about, after what happened to my stepson and my marriage, that maybe it was him saving me rather than the other way around.  He is an amazing dog, and we had bonded in pretty much three days.  It was an incredible experience, but it wasn’t to be.  It was and still is heartbreaking.  Hence I got Furgii.

Now, The Furg was muuuuch slower to open up and bond.  She was okay here, and okay being with me, but I didn’t realize how many levels there were to her trust and comfort until they opened up one by one.  Chance seemed to know in a day that I loved him and would never hurt him.  He knew I was his new owner, and loved back almost instantaneously.  She was so slow to do the same.

I’ve had her almost a year and a half now.  Her story is that a young woman in North Carolina was at work and saw Furgii wandering across the parking lot.  She had a collar, but no tag or microchip.  The woman and her husband posted around to attract her owner to no avail.  They contacted a rescue, but the rescue was so booked they offered to pay for the bills if the couple would foster her.  Six months later (June 26, 2010), I adopted her.  It was a month after I had to give up Chance.

They didn’t know her name, so she was “Girl” for a bit, then “Sweet Pea”, and then “Peanut”.  It was as Peanut that I adopted her.  I wasn’t crazy about the name, and she’d only had it six months, so I changed it to Furgii, after the singer, Fergie, my celebrity crush.  I apologize if this joke offends you, but it was a joke that gave her the name.  I was deciding what I would call her, and thought, “If I name her Fergie, then I could say that Fergie’s my bitch, and I’d be telling the truth.”  Well the joke might be in poor taste and not very good, but the name stuck, although I altered the spelling.  The new spelling was inspired by Finnish hockey players with names like “Niiniimaa” and “Niitimakii”.  It took at least six months for her to get that she’s “Furgii”, but she definitely does now.

I often wonder how she ended up wandering around North Carolina in January 2010.  Did she escape?  Did some piece of shit owner just turn her loose to fend for herself?  The first thought is heart-wrenching, and the second one is maddening.  She is my blessing now, that’s all I do know.

I eventually wrote a song for her, too.  It’s called “Piinuts”, after the name she came with, but given a spelling like her new name.  The gist of it is about having “searched for Chances, but ending up with Piinuts.  It all came down to Piinuts”.  I tried to have the music tell a story by having several movements which come full circle at the end back to the starting point.

She came with a thyroid problem (hypothyroidism), of which I was aware going in.  She takes a very cheap synthetic hormone to correct the problem, as people do for the same illness.  However, she also had two seizures in my first 11 days with her (day 3 and 11).  When I contacted the foster parents, they were unaware of this problem in her and were rather shocked.  As I said, they were not a part of the rescue itself, and I doubt they were ever duplicitous regarding her health.  They are a young couple, they both work, and they may simply never have seen any evidence of seizures.

The woman had offered that they had set off a Hartz flea bomb about a month before I’d adopted her.  Furgii had never seemed effected, but the couple’s own Jack Russell had thrown up for three days afterward.  I mentioned this to my vet, but he didn’t think it factored in.  She was diagnosed as epileptic.

Of course, after my stepson’s abuse, the dissolution of my marriage, the five weeks with Chance (I do believe THAT “rescue” party failed to disclose his problems), I thought at this point that God hated me.  Something about the seizures never sat right with me, though.  Could they be from the flea bomb, after all, combined with having gotten comfortable at the foster home for six months after being on the street for an unknown length of time?  Now she was uprooted again.  Plus the foster home has two people and two other dogs, whereas here it was just me (a stranger) and no other pets?

After a year on the phenobarbital, I decided I needed to know for sure:  Did she need this medicine?  Long term use can cause organ problems, and it increased her hunger and thirst to unbelievable levels.  She’d always sniff around on the carpet hoping for something to eat, and then she’d beg all day.  When no food was forthcoming, she’d drink her entire water bowl just to fill her stomach with something.  This of course led to some accidents, but I felt bad that her experience was governed by a manic insatiability.  It had to be horrible for her.

I slowly, slowly, slowly decreased her phenobarbital doses starting in May from a full pill twice per day to a full pill in the morning and a half at night.  In August, I made it half a pill each time.  Just before Halloween, I would give her a half in the morning, and sometimes none in the evening if I was going to be home to observe her.  Finally, I was on vacation from October 29 through November 6.  I had run out of her pills, so it seemed like the time to cut it out all together.  At no point in the weening process had I seen a seizure or witnessed evidence of it, such as having vomited or eliminated in the apartment.

It is now three and a half weeks off of it, and still no episodes.  Her appetite and behavior are back to normal.  It was a hard decision to make to take her off the medicine.  I can’t imagine what I would have felt like if I was wrong.  But, whether as a pet parent or the parent of a human child, these are decisions we have to make.  In fact, I’ve had to make those as a human parent, too.

So, there’s the Ballad of The Furg.  I started this post not knowing what to write about, blabbered about her bath, and ended with her life story (as I know it).

Hope you enjoyed learning about her as much as I enjoy having her be my pet!