I STOLE YOUR DOG TODAY                                     
Copyright Jim Willis 2002
<http://www.crean.com/jimwillis/>

I stole your dog today. No, I didn't set a foot on your property, but
from the condition of your dog, I can imagine what it looks like...the
word "junkyard" comes to mind.

I found her along a road, with a heavy chain wrapped around her neck,
still attached to rotten boards from her doghouse, with rusty six-penny
nails protruding. Not only did I know that most of the town had already
ignored her, judging by where I found her, but I knew that if she had
gotten into the woods the "cross" that she dragged behind her would have
wrapped around a tree until starvation or thirst killed her. The local
populace is usually deaf to the sound or blind to the sight of an animal
in need, unless they decide to shoot one for trespassing.

That her ribs showed, that her ears were filthy, that her overall
condition was poor and that her coat and eyes were dull, were good
indications that you didn't deserve her. But just to make sure, I
checked with the local authorities for a report of a missing
(unlicensed) dog matching her description and to see if you'd placed a
"lost dog" advertisement in the local newspaper. You hadn't, which I can
only surmise means that you do not miss her. That's rather convenient,
because the fact that she is not spayed, probably unvaccinated, and
possibly heartworm positive means that restoring her health could cost
me around a thousand dollars.

Perhaps it may be some small comfort to know that she doesn't miss you.
In fact, her very act of escape made it clear that she'd had enough of
your brand of pet guardianship. It took her about a day to realize that
I'm not you, that I won't hurt her, that despite our brief
acquaintanceship, I love her. It took two days for her to realize that
the other animals who live here accept her and that one of the joys she
has been missing has been the companionship of other dogs. It took three
days for her to appreciate the ecstasy of a homecooked meal and that a
couch is meant to be reclined on, and that she no longer has to sleep
outside - in fact, when the thunder starts, she'll get a hug and her
ears rubbed, and I'll make a fool of myself with baby talk.

She has a beautiful name now. Already in the first week she has come to
look more like she should. Her eyes sparkle and she has learned to wag
her tail in greeting. She has stopped flinching when I make a sudden
movement, because she knows now that I won't beat her, in fact, she
rarely leaves my side. She's even become brave enough to bark at a cat
and today I watched from the window as she initiated play with the other
dogs. No, it's clear she does not miss you or her former life of neglect
on a chain.

Of all the things that have become apparent from my brief relationship
with her - such as the forgiving nature of the dog, their wonderful
ability to heal and to trust, the fact that love can work miracles - one
of the most apparent is what a fool you are. She was possibly the most
trusting, loyal and loving being in your life, and you consigned her to
a life of filth and loneliness until she made the best choice she's ever
made when she broke free. Perhaps her guardian angel helped her escape.
Lest anyone should mistake me for a angel, I will admit that one day I
hope to be as good as she; I believe she forgave you within the first
twenty-four hours of her new life for the about four years of her
previous "life," while I still try wrestle with the part of me that
hopes that one day you will burn in Hell.

It's not clear yet whether she'll remain here or whether I'll find her a
loving home where she can count on more individual attention than I can
give her, but one thing is certain, this is one bit of stolen "property"
who is never returning to you. So sue me, prosecute me, plead with the
courts that she is rightfully yours...I'm convinced this is the best
"crime" I've ever committed. Hardly anything has pleased me more than
the day I stole your dog. I need only look into her beautiful brown eyes
to know that she'd defend my decision with her life. If we have one
prayer, it is that you will not replace her, and if we have one special
day to commemorate together, it is the day I stole your dog and the day
she stole my heart.

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**We're pleased to announce publication of Jim's new book:
"PIECES OF MY HEART - Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature"
For complete information/excerpts/reviews:
<http://www.crean.com/jimwillis/>