Just a few months earlier on a crisp fall afternoon with the leaves silently falling to the ground, I realized my time with my dog, Cody, was drawing to an end.
Over 15 years old, it was with a heavy heart that I spent what would be my last day with him, outside in the sunshine that he loved so much.
As I was raking leaves I glanced over at him and his tail began to wag as he looked at me with his big, sad eyes. Dropping the rake, I sat down next to him and leaned back against a tree. Pulling him closer, I couldn't help but wonder what the world looked like to him, how does it sound, what does it smell like, and what's on his mind. As he sat looking at me, I realized that once, bright light in his eyes was fading. The next day he was gone.
Like Travis when he lost Old Yeller, “I couldn't seem to get over it. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't cry because I was all empty inside, but hurting. Thinking every minute of everyday about my dog.”
Our emotional attachment to animals can sometimes be stronger that it is to other people, and a lot of emotional stress may occur after the loss of a pet. Accepting that your pet had a long and enjoyable life, you may realize that you could also give another animal a good home, in a safe environment with lots of attention and love.
Most people who have enjoyed a pet for many years will bring another into their lives, and my hope is they will do the same as myself and adopt.
Mary and her husband, Lyle, of 2x2 Ranch are dedicated to the protection of stray animals and placing them in good homes. With a keen sense of understanding an animal's struggle to survive, their love and concern is sincere and admirable. The circumstances of how some of these animals come to the refuge is heartbreaking and inexcusable.
They often take in animals that are in such serious condition it takes weeks of care before they start showing signs of improvement. Some are starved, abused, or even tortured, but with a little extra time and patience, these dogs recover both physically and mentally and are ready for somebody to “please take me home.”
According to the Tennessee Criminal Laws of 2002, “torture” means every act, omission, or neglect whereby unreasonable physical pain, suffering, or death is caused or permitted.”
“Cruelty to animals... A person commits an offense who intentionally or knowingly: (1) tortures, or maims an animal; (2) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, care or shelter for an animal in the person's custody; (3) abandons unreasonably an animal in the person's custody; (4) or transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner.”
Dogs aren't people in furry disguises. They are all unique individuals. They are big dogs, little dogs, black, white, brown and spotted dogs, high energy, laid back, playful and peaceful dogs. Anyone deciding to adopt should realize having a dog is a joy and privilege, but also a responsibility. Because your dog will share your home and life, you need to make the right decision about the dog your adopt.
And how's little Gus? After a couple of days, I realized I had another dog to get acquainted with and another dog to love and take care of.
Once again, like Travis, “I went to laughing. I sat there and laughed till I cried,” as I watched Gus trying to introduce himself to the neighbor's dog. And there was that ole familiar “wag of the tail.” He was home.
On one last note, if you want to lift your spirits or thrill your children with a new family pet, please give an abandoned dog a good home. Call Mary at 666-9047 or call the Lafayette Police Department and inquire about the dogs at the pound.