A Journey of Awareness
When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey
– a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you
have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage.
If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life,
about yourself, and most of all, about love.
You will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch
another without leaving its mark.
Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life’s simple
pleasures – jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of
puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch
behind the ears.
If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly
experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or log will go
unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even
the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of
valuable information. Your pace may be slower – except when
heading home to the food dish – but you will become a better naturalist,
having been taught by an expert in the field.
Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to
complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the
details – the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb
in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig.
Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world.
We stop; we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree
holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows:
that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of
surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing
wonders, each day an essence all its own.
Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to
the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer
insects collecting on a screen. (How bizarre they are! How many
kinds there are!), or noting the flick and flash of fireflies through
the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown
leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there
is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life’s
most important details slip by.
You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends
might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle
looking for the cat food brand your feline must have,
buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block
an extra time because your pet enjoys the ride. You will roll in
the snow, wrestle with chewie toys, bounce little rubber balls till
your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your
bathrobe tie – with a cat in hot pursuit – all in the name of love.
Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will wearless
dark clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog
biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain
that an old plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because
your cat loves the crinkly sound.
You will learn the true measure of love – the steadfast, undying
kind that says, “It doesn’t matter where we are or what we do, or
how life treats us as long as we are together.” Respect this always.
It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another.
You will not find it often among the human race.
And you will learn humility. The look in my dog’s eyes often made
me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some
flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but
only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and
dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so
chose to love me anyway.
If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you
will be not just a better person, but the person your pet always knew
you to be – the one they were proud to call beloved friend.
I must caution you that this journey is not without pain.
Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as
the sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will
follow a trail you cannot yet go down. And you will have to find
the strength and love to let them go. A pet’s time on earth is far too
short – especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really,
just for awhile, and during these brief years they are generous enough
to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart,
until one day there is nothing left.
The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon
old and frail and sleeping in the sun. The young pup of boundless
energy wakes up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down
we somehow always knew that this journey would end. We knew that if
we gave our hearts they would be broken. But give them we must
for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes, and the road
curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final gift and let
them run on ahead – young and whole once more.
“Godspeed, good friend,” we say, until our journey comes full circle
and our paths cross again.
Now I lay me down to rest
I pray my soul can stand this test
Of watching critters lose their homes
While owners gripe and cry and moan
I long for strength of spirit and
I pray they’ll find a home again
Where they will know a loving heart
I can’t do much, but its a start..
And spare me from the owner’s pleas
About the baby’s allergies
Or how they’re moving out of state
Or spitefulness ‘tween cat and mate
Please keep me sane while dealing with
The woman who bought as a gift
A wriggling tiny ball of fluff
That now is playing way too rough
Remind me I should bite my lip
When confronted with “he grew too quick”
“I didn’t know he’d get so large”
“He seems to think that he’s in charge”
Protect my heart when I hear them say
“I think we’ll breed our dog one day”
Sometimes I think it’ll break in two;
Each day brings trials harsh and new
And if I die before I wake
I pray one hopeless soul you’ll take
My tears are gone, my faith is bare
Lord, please hear my rescue prayer
A Happy Ending
She bore them all alone-
No loving pats to ease her pain,
No cozy house to shield her
From the wind and driving rain
No bowls of milk to give her
Nourishment to feed
Six hungry little kittens
Who clung to her in need
She knew she had to find a way
To keep her babies alive
She needed help from somewhere
If they were to survive
So when the night was over
And the sun rose in the sky
One by one she took them
To a house that stood nearby
Instinct must have guided her
To choose a refuge where
There lived a lonely widow
With room enough to spare
One without a child
To brighten up her days
One who wouldn’t turn away
Poor homeless little strays
The mother sat and waited
Till the door was open wide
And she and all six kittens
Were allowed to come inside
And that’s just where they are today
A happy feline crew
Purring with contentment
But full of mischief too!
And she who took them in
And gave them tender loving care
Has found her home a brighter place
Because they’re living there!
Letter From Your Pet In Heaven
To my dearest family,
Some things I’d like to say.
But first of all, to let you know,
That I arrived okay.
I’m writing this from the Bridge.
Here I dwell with God above.
Here there’s no more tears of sadness.
Here is just eternal love.
Please do not be unhappy
Just because I’m out of sight.
Remember that I am with you
every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you
When my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me
And He said, “I welcome you.
It’s good to have you back again,
You were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family,
They’ll be here later on.”
God gave me a list of things,
That he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list,
Was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night
The day’s chores put to flight,
God and I are closest to you…
In the middle of the night.
When you think of my life on earth,
And all those loving years,
Because you are only human,
They are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry:
It does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers,
Unless there was some rain.
I wish that I could tell you
All that God has planned.
If I were to tell you,
You wouldn’t understand.
But one thing is for certain,
Though my life on earth is o’er.
I’m closer to you now,
Than I ever was before.
There are rocky roads ahead of you
And many hills to climb;
But together we can do it
By taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy
And I’d like it for you too;
That as you give unto the world,
The world will give to you.
If you can help somebody
Who’s in sorrow and pain,
Then you can say to God at night…
“My day was not in vain.”
And now I am contented…
That my life was worthwhile.
Knowing as I passed along
I made somebody smile.
God says: “If you meet somebody
Who is sad and feeling low;
Just lend a hand to pick him up,
As on your way you go.
When you’re walking down the street
With me on your mind;
I’m walking in your footsteps
only half a step behind.
And when it’s time for you to go…
from that body to be free.
Remember you’re not going…
you’re coming here to me.”
A Prayer Of A Stray
Dear God, please send me somebody who’ll care!
I’m tired of running, I’m sick with despair.
My body is aching, it’s so racked with pain.
And dear God I pray as I run in the rain,
that someone will love me and give me a home.
A warm cozy bed I can call my own.
My last owner neglected me and chased me away
to rummage in garbage and live as a stray.
But now, God, I’m tired and hungry and cold.
And I’m afraid that I’ll never grow old.
They’ve chased me with sticks and hit me with stones
while I run in the streets just looking for bones!
I’m not really bad, God, please help me if you can.
For I have just become a “VICTIM OF MAN”!
I’m wormy, Dear God, and I’m ridden with fleas
and all that I want is an owner to please!
If You find one for me, God, I’ll try to be good.
I won’t run away and I’ll do as I should.
I don’t think I’ll make it too long on my own,
cause I’m getting so weak and I’m so all alone.
Each night as I sleep in the bushes I cry,
cause I’m so afraid, God, that I’m gonna die!
And I’ve got so much love and devotion to give,
that I should be given a new chance to live.
So, dear God, PLEASE, PLEASE answer my prayer
and send me somebody who WILL really care…
Message From An Older Shelter Cat
I sit alone and so confused behind the metal bars,
The loss that I am feeling will forever leave its scars.
My family left me here one day a month or two ago.
They said, “Don’t worry, Tabby, you’ll find a home, we know.”
It seems they’d bought a condo that said “No Pets Permitted”.
I thought they’d never leave me but then they went and did it.
My favorite window sill is gone where I used to lay and sun.
I cried all night the day they left and remembered years of fun.
The people stop and look at me and always say, “Poor Thing”.
Then they choose a kitten when they could have had a King.
As Christmas nears, it’s gotten worse. I remember presents under the tree,
lots of catnip and a turkey dinner, loving hands that once stroked me.
There was lots and lots of laughter as I played with all my toys.
I miss them both so much this day…their love, their kisses and the joys.
So, please, if you stop by my “home”, just give me an extra rub.
I’ve given up being adopted, but I sure could use the love.
And if you really like me, please, please take me home with you.
I’ll be real good, I promise, and love you long and true.
A CAT IN MY LAP
I know I have a lot to do,
So many things — see them through.
There are clothes to clean, grass to mow,
Cookies to bake, seeds to sow.
But I really can’t do all these things in a snap.
Because, you see, there’s a cat in my lap.
He stretches and rolls and gives me a wink
From his sleepy gold eyes — just a small blink.
I smooth his long tail and tickle his tummy.
He yawns, and purrs to tell me that’s yummy.
The telephone rings. The paper boy taps. No move
do I make. There’s a cat in my lap.
Bright sunlight dances across the floor
To warm my small friend just a bit more.
A happy prisoner am I in my chair —
Some moments of peace — not a care.
I think I’ll take a little nap
With this soft, furry ball, a cat in my lap!
Don’t Miss Out…
The man whispered, “God, speak to me.” And a meadowlark sang.
But the man did not hear.
So the man yelled “God, speak to me.” And, the thunder rolled across the sky.
But the man did not listen.
The man looked around and said, “God, let me see you.” And a star shined brightly. But the man did not notice.
And, the man shouted, “God, show me a miracle.” And a life was born.
But the man did not know.
So, the man cried out in despair, “Touch me, God, and let me know you are here.” Whereupon God reached down and touched the man.
But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.
Don’t miss out on a blessing because it isn’t packaged the way that you expect.
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me
When tomorrow starts without me,
And I’m not there to see;
And if the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn’t get to say.
I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you’ll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took my by the hand,
And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I’d have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye.
For all my life, I’d always thought,
I don’t want to die.
I had so much to live for,
So much yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I’d say good-bye and kiss you,
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven’s gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From His great golden throne,
He said, “This is eternity,
And all I’ve promised you.”
Today for life on earth is past,
But here it starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last.
And since each day’s the same day
There’s no longing for the past.
But you have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true,
Though there were times you did some things,
You knew you shouldn’t do.
But you have been forgiven.
And now at last you’re free.
So won’t you take my hand,
And share my life with me?
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I’m right here, in your heart….
Ten Commandments for Responsible Pet Ownership
Remember I love you.
Hamlet’s Cat’s Soliloquy
To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within?
that is the question.
Whether ’tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock’s bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell. To sit, to stare
Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the portal’s opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our readmittance gain: aye, there’s the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the household’s petty plagues,
The cook’s well-practiced kicks, the butler’s broom,
The infant’s careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten? Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbor’s yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans’ faults
Than run away to unguessed miseries?
Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened up with the pale brush of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.
Dedicated to Rescuers –
Once I was a lonely cat, Just looking for a home.
I had no place to go. No one to call my own.
I wandered up and down the streets, in rain, in heat and snow.
Ate whatever I could find. I was always on the go.
My skin would itch, my feet were sore, my body ached with pain.
And no one stopped to give a pat or to gently say my name.
I never saw a loving glance. I was always on the run.
For people thought that hurting me was really lots of fun.
And then one day I heard a voice ~ so gentle, kind and sweet,
And arms so soft reached down to me and took me off my feet.
“No one again will hurt you was whispered in my ear.”
“You’ll have a home to call your own where you will know no fear.”
“You will be dry, you will be warm, and you’ll have enough to eat.”
“And rest assured that when you sleep, your dreams will all be sweet.”
I was afraid I must admit, I’ve lived so long in fear.
I can’t remember when I let a human come so near.
And as she tended to my wounds and bathed and brushed my fur,
She told me about the rescue group And what it meant to her.
She said, “We are a circle, A line that never ends.”
“And in the center, there is you protected by new friends.”
“And all around you are the ones that check the pounds,
And those that share their home after you’ve been found.”
“And all the other folk are searching near and far.
“To find the perfect home for you, where you can be a star.”
She said, “There is a family, that’s waiting patiently.
And pretty soon we’ll find them, just you wait and see.”
“And then they’ll join our circle they’ll help to make it grow, so there’ll be room for more like you, who have no place to go.”
I waited very patiently. The days they came and went.
Today’s the day I thought, my family will be sent.
Then just when I began to think it wasn’t meant to be,
there were people standing there just gazing down at me.
I knew them in a heartbeat. I could tell they felt it too.
They said, “We have been waiting for a special cat like you.”
Now every night I say a prayer to all the gods that be.
“Thank you for the life I live and all you’ve given me.
But most of all protect the cats (and dogs) in the pound and on the street.
And send a rescue person to lift them off their feet.”
Ed note: We hope the author understands that we changed any references from dog to cat, but we know this applies to both.
To a Persian Cat
By F.C.W. Hiley
So dear, so dainty, so demure,
So charming in whate’er position;
By race the purest of the pure,
A little cat of high condition:
Her coat lies not in trim-kept rows
Of carpet-like and vulgar sleekness:
But like a ruffled sea it grows
Of wavy grey (my special weakness):
She vexes not the night with squalls
That make one seize a boot and throw it:
She joins in no unseemly brawls
(At least she never lets me know it!):
She never bursts in at the door
In manner boisterous and loud:
But silently along the floor
She passes, like a little cloud.
Then, opening wide her amber eyes,
Puts an inquiring nose up—
Sudden upon my knee she flies,
Then purrs and tucks her little toes up.