It seems every week there is a report of a dog-fighting ring being broken up. I keep hoping there will be an end to the torture. Every time I hear of the suffering, a little piece of my soul gets crushed. If I could read the dogs minds I imagine it would sound something like this.
It’s so cold out here and quiet. We are out in the woods. The sky is grey and the ground is bare from all of my pacing. I don’t have far to wander because I am limited by the length and weight of my chain. This chain is so heavy. My elbows have bent outwards to take the pressure off my joints. It is permanent but at least it doesn’t hurt anymore. My neck though, it is constantly sore. Maybe if I pull my feet in and tighten my muscles I can stay a bit warmer. I should go into my tube but I am hoping I get fed today. My tube is not much protection from the cold but it is something. I wish I had a blanket to lie on or even some hay so I could bury my nose under it. A human to lie with would be the best.
I hear a human coming. Maybe today is the day I will get some food that is not rotten or some clean water. I will sit here and wag my tail from side to side. I’ll drop my ears and hang my head lower than my neck so I will not look threatening. Please don’t take me to the rape stand today. I guess it’s better than having to fight.
The human doesn’t see me. He is picking up the young brown dog, my boy from one of my last litters. It must be fight night. I know he doesn’t like to fight. I see it in his eyes when he is being picked up. He too is hoping for some human affection and maybe just a little more food or comfort. I hope he comes back. Most of my kids don’t come back. I hear their wails when they are being beat. I know they must either kill or be killed. I supposed death is better than this life. The lucky ones, they get dumped on the streets or in the shelter. Death will either come quickly for them or they will get lucky and be picked up by a rescue. Most of them are not lucky. People think we like to fight. We don’t. The night is coming in and it is getting colder. I will move to the back of my tube and curl into a tight ball. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I am loved and have some food and water.
It’s morning. I made it through another night. I hear trucks, lots of them. I smell people, lots and lots of people. Is that food I smell? I can’t be sure until they come closer. The people have these long tools in their hands. I hope they are not here to hurt us. I don’t think they are because I can tell which people are good. I still like the bad people. I am a dog. I forgive quickly. They are carrying out my boy. He doesn’t look so good. They seem so gentle these people. I hope they like me. I will stand up and walk out to the end of my chain and wag my tail until someone sees me. Someone is looking at me. I will wag my tail harder so he knows I will not hurt him. He has a treat for me. That was good. I am so hungry. He is bringing that big tool towards me. He just cut my chain. I feel so much lighter. He’s close enough now for me to lick his face. He tastes good. He tastes like freedom.
Christmas is looming around the corner and Santa Claus is hovering above our chimneys. Do you know the story of St. Nicholas and why he is esteemed?
St. Nicholas was a model of compassion and generosity. He lived his life by his core values: love and protect children, take care of those in need, give generously and love your fellow-man. We should all strive to do the same.
Have you seen the headlines? Rioting, executing police officers, ISIS followers raiding a chocolate shop, the Taliban kills over one hundred grade school aged children, the stories are endless. Protection came too late for many of these victims, if at all.
St. Nicholas was a gift giver, giving generously to many. After his wealthy parents died, St. Nicholas used his entire inheritance to assist the needy, sick and the suffering. He performed numerous kind and generous deeds in secret, expecting nothing in return. When recipients caught him he asked them to keep his secret until after he died.
There is a great divide in this world between the haves and the have-nots. In this country, there is an expectation the government should take care of those who cannot or will not take care of themselves. The wealthy are expected to be philanthropist and are condemned if they do not give away vast portions of their wealth. St. Nicholas would not have been allowed to keep his kindness hidden in today’s society.
There are many stories of St. Nicholas protecting children and returning them to their families unharmed. Some stories tell of St. Nicholas delivering children from evil captors. It is no wonder St. Nicholas’ love and guardianship of children was turned into the modern-day image of Santa Claus. After all, Christmas is mostly about the children.
The world is seemingly embattled in wars over race and religious differences. Are the differences real or perceived? Does one group have more of a right to life than another? How does killing innocents not involved in the perceived wrongs justify the cause?
In these times of strife, the whole world needs to slow down, take a deep breath and find a reason to be kind to one another.
Merry Christmas to you all, and to all a good life!
My pack of four dogs was a complicated mess. I was woefully lacking the expertise to bring the pack together into a harmonious group. Then came Moose. From puppyhood, he brought the pack together into the cohesive group they are now. These are the things I learned from him:
Do not manage by fear. Fear causes mistrust, anxiety and avoidance. Managing by fear will obtain compliance but it will also reduce productivity and quality of work. Working in fear causes subordinates to seek different leadership or plan a coup against the leader.
Be tolerant but know when to issue a correction. Subordinates all have their individual quirks as well as their unique gifts. They will test their boundaries thereby testing the leader’s ability to lead. A leader should be patient but issue a swift and reasonable correction when a line is crossed.
Be confident and fearless. Regardless of the task or the size of the opponent, be ready for the challenge. You, the leader must exhibit the confidence your followers have placed in you. There is no obstacle Moose is not willing to endeavor despite his short, stocky frame. The pack senses his confidence and willingly follows him. This brings me to the next point.
Be the first into battle. The challenger must first lay eyes on the leader, full of confidence and ability. Moose always leads the charge. He is the first to leap after the bird, dig for the mole or the chase off the offending dog on the other side of the fence. Once the call for action has been issued, the rest will follow. Why do they follow?
Hone your skills. A leader has the skills the followers lack or are not yet fully developed. These skills are essential to survival and thriving regardless of the mission or task at hand. Moose spends countless hours digging for moles. Sometimes he is successful. Most times he is not. He chases cars on his side of the fence to practice his speed. He leaps after Frisbees with style and flair to build his leg strength. This brings me to my final point.
Be passionate about your job. Love you job and the skills will follow. No one willingly follows someone who is just going through the motions. Moose loves to just be a dog. It is his job to lie in the sun, make me laugh, hunt for vermin, and to keep us safe. His passion for his job makes him a natural leader the others are happy to have.
Now get out there and find some moles.
I have finally taken a moment to enter my about page. If you have a minute, take a look please.
As always I welcome your feedback. Thank you and have a great week.
When I found my first dog, I had the pleasure of living with him for two short months. He came to me old and full of cancer. I watched him go from not trusting me to showing me he did love me, just in his stoic way. I loved him too, for two beautiful months, more than I thought I was capable of.
That same dog that taught me how deeply I could love showed me what it was to lose that love. When he left this world I was devastated and my chest felt like it was being crushed. To this day I can cry when I think about him. I hope it is true all dogs go to heaven.
I put up with hair on the floor and on my clothes even though I keep my house very clean. I will listen to the cacophony of snores from multiple dogs as I try to sleep. I will cover my head with my sheet when those same dogs release their body gasses, which could choke a horse.
I will make sure my dogs have food to eat even if it means I have to cut back on my own grocery bill. I will make sure their needs are met even if it means I have to pay a little less on my electric bill. After all, I promised to take care of them if they came to live with me.
Staying home just so my dogs won’t be lonely, well, that is a sacrifice I am willing to make. Even though they will go to bed early in the evening, so be it, they take comfort in having me near.
One of my dogs does not like other animals and another does not like small children. It is the way it is. They came to me with their quirks. It’s my job to accept and adapt, not to try to change them.
Many a night I have woke up with a sore back because dogs insist on sleeping sideways. How many of us refuse to move because our pet is sleeping on us and we don’t want to disturb them?
If something happened to one of my dogs because I failed to protect them I do not know how I would cope with the guilt. I have dipped into my savings account and sacrificed buying things for myself so I could erect a fence to keep my dogs safe from the world and visa versa. Any good dog person would do the same.
My dogs are part of my family and I will not move somewhere where my family is not accepted. We are a family and families stick together through thick and thin. That is my promise to them
10. I will never give up on them in their senior years.
Staunchly loyal, a dog will never leave your side for a younger companion and conversely, neither should we.