Monday, February 16, 2009


If you love dogs, you are affected by the huge number of mistreated, neglected and abandoned dogs and cats that we have in this country today. Chances are, any one of us reading this post has a cherished pet in their home, or can remember a beloved pet that played a big part in their childhood years.

If you want to help out, every day, just go to this website and click on a certain line, you will help feed the dogs that are rescued by people who care. Just go there and click, and this will inspire companies to provide free dog food for the animals that are rescued by these very kind people and given the care that they need.

My Jedi is an example of the helpful role dogs can play in our lives. As a Hearing Dog, she responds to any sound she has been trained to hear. No alarm clock goes off that Jedi doesn't come to roust me from bed. No knock at the door is ignored. No smoke alarm goes unheeded.

The role of a service dog is not the only beneficial influence dogs and cats have on our lives. It has been proven that young children that play with animals at very early ages have fewer allergies, fewer colds, fewer illnesses. It takes a little time, because babies can grab and pull, but as a child grows older, the presence of an animal can teach them the benefits of kindness to God's creatures, put on earth to love us and serve us.

When I was a girl, we had a plethora of animals on the farm. There were always dogs and cats, as well as the farm animals that lived in the barn and the chicken shed. We not only housed our own dogs, but somehow, we collected the dogs that belonged to other people in the family. I still think of those animals and yearn to still have them near me, to hug and to pet, to stroke their fur and take them out for a run in the yard.

I remember Hubert's dog, whose name was Jake. Jake was a hound dog, a bird dog, as Hubert called him, but birds could have lit on his nose, for all Jake would have cared. Jake was a thief and his only interest was what he could garner and drag home from his nightly excursions. He brought home shoes and boots, coats and hats, and even loaves of bread. He brought home tarps that were used to cover boats, he brought home a tent and an assortment of rugs. Jake didn't mess with the small stuff. The bigger the booty, the better.

Each morning, my mother inspected the loot that Jake had left on the porch and gave him his daily scolding. It never helped, and the next morning, another assortment of junk would be there, with Jake sleeping happily among the debris.

Mom worried that the neighbors would think we were all stealing this loot and even suggested that I go door to door to find out who owned the items that Jake brought home.

Then, too, there was Ronald's dog, Duke. Duke was a big, friendly German shepherd who happily pulled us along the ice when we were skating or sledding. A big dog, he could pull two children on a sled with very little effort. He had a long Shepherd nose, but it was caved in on one side, where he had evidently been hit by a car. This event had traumatized him, for Duke hated all cars.

His role in life was chasing away cars that tried to get near our farmhouse. He chased them in the driveway, in the road and anywhere else he could find them. If they weren't moving, he chewed their tires. If they were moving, he barked, growled and snarled as he ran alongside them as they passed by.

Duke knew the dangers of automobiles and Mom needn't have worried about any child getting hit by a car. If you were walking with Duke along the street, he would lean against you and push you into the ditch or you would land in the shrubbery lining the roadway. It was hard to stay upright when walking with Duke, for he knew that the cars could kill or wound, and did his best to save our lives. Hopelessly, we would yell at him for pushing us so violently, but he was undeterred. We used to have to put Duke in the house, so that he would allow us to walk toward town.

Each dog we owned had his or her idiosyncricies. Every dog had its own personality. They were not provided with shots, nor the care of a veterinarian. They lived on "scraps," including potato peels and corncobs. They were all healthy and lived close to the age of twenty. Compare that to the hundreds of dollars I shell out yearly to keep Jedi fit and healthy.

We also had cats that lived in the barn and would patiently wait for my mother to milk the cows. Then she would squirt milk into their mouths as they hungrily lapped it up. They kept the barn free of mice and other rodents and slept in the piles of hay.

One of the most heartbreaking stories I have ever heard and seen is that of the animals left behind after Katrina. There they were, pictured on television, sitting on porches and trees, patiently awaiting their masters. Some of them became feral and ran from those people trying to catch them. Others just waited, loyal to the end. They were gathered up, but just how many were reunited with their owners is information never released. One wonders how many of them were destroyed after sitting for days in various pounds.

The law has now been passed that, in case of disaster, people being rescued can bring their pets along with them to the shelters. If the shelters cannot hold them, they must then be placed in a facility that will keep them safe until they can be reclaimed. This is a good law and it is always heartening when our legislators pass laws that actually help their constituents.

Today, take a minute and hug your dog. If you have the time, take him or her for a walk or play for a while in the yard. Remember that friends may come and go, but your dog will be loyal all his life. And his life is short, so he must cram a lot of love and loyalty into a few years time.
Visit the website that helps feed our abused and neglected animals and you will not be sorry you did. There has got to be a special haven for our pets in Heaven and special recognition for every person who takes the time to love their pet!