Friday, May 21, 2010

The Dog Next Door

Last year I bit the bullet and finally got cable television. Now, I know a lot of people grew up with this cornucopia of the good, bad and ugly that plays 24 hours a day, but it was all new to me. There are entire networks dedicated to everything from food to bridal gowns.

One of my very favorite networks is Animal Planet. The various shows about wild and tame animals are just amazing. I like learning what it takes to raise a baby rhino and how an elephant's pregnancy progresses. I even saw a whale give birth!

What I liked less, but find myself watching mesmerized are the animal rescue shows. I absolutely marveled at the cruelty humans can impose on their pets. Dogs especially seem to have such empathy for the humans that hurt them. All they want is a little love.

When the young man next door brought home a Rottweiler and proceeded to chain the dog in the back yard of his apartment house, I was scared to death as the huge animal lunged at the chain, trying to get loose and perhaps eat me alive. That was the first day.

As time went on, I experienced other emotions as I watched this magnificent animal grow quiet and lie listless in the yard, his chain tangled in a brush pile, his food dishes far out of his reach. What I felt then was less fear than sadness and anger at the person who cautioned me against touching the dog - because he had been in a fight. What sort of fight? I wondered.

I watched all this for a few days and called animal control... in fact it took several days before anyone came out to look at the dog... and then the owner was cautioned against failing to feed and water this dog, but the sad chapter continued and one day the big dog simply disappeared. I don't know what happened to the poor thing but I heard a big dog fighting ring had been busted up a few days before.

I can only hope that the poor dog had the opportunity to have a better life, even though I know that dogs that have been fought for entertainment most often end up being euthanized. I can only hope the poor thing went straight to doggie heaven. I eventually wrote the following poem about the experience.

With that thought, I urge you to support the Humane Society any way you can - oh yes, and keep on the sunny side... Terry


The dog next door
Dug a hole to sleep
In the cool, dry earth.
His ears pick up
With every foot fall
On the blighted yard.

The dog next door
Is hope, chained to hate,
With food and water
Past the links that bind him
In dirty, rusted pans.

The dog next door
Paces back and forth,
Unmoved by the
Squirrels that come there to
Eat his food and bury nuts
As if he was not there.

The dog next door
Does not note the singing
Birds that bathe in the
Dirty water he cannot reach –
It is too far away
For him to reach and drink.

The dog next door does not
Lunge or bark or whine.
I think this morning that
He has given up on life,
And I want to weep.


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