January 15, 2004
No Aloha For The Weakest
We hear the word "Aloha" a lot. I don't casually use it as it means more than" Love" "Hello" or "Good-Bye". It is a literal blessing from God to us, and each of us to the other, It signifies a longing to care for the other persons well being. Respect and honor to that other person. It applies to all living things, Humans, animals and the Aina the land that we live on...
If Aloha is the unwritten law of the land, why do we lead the nation per capita in child abuse and domestic violence? No Aloha for the women and children of Hawaii.
I will be writing about that another day and I want to really speak about it as it is so important to me.
I say that to preface this post about pets. Women and children are way way ahead of pets, and I am not posting this ahead of those issues, but this poem was in the paper and it made me cry as I had just had this conversation with a lady about her 14 year old dog and how she was dreading the soon and coming day of her fur baby's departure from this world of care... She and I also talked of the amount of animal abuse and neglect here. Dogs are routinely chained in the front yards, no shelter, exposed to all of the elements for the simple reason that fences are so expensive to build and maintain, and "everybody knows that you need a watch dog" is what i am told...The truth is that no one cares about their kids and they care about their pets less. They don't realize that the dog needs his or her people and should be a companion, not a yard ornament, staked out in the rain...We see dozens of dead animals, dogs and cats on the Highway 130 into Hilo every month. Its a crime. Weekly there are reports of abuse and neglect and people being arrested for it. Our police are doing a great job, no question, but it sickens them to see a loving animal in such torments as we hear about.
We adopted our cats Mak and Nani from the former owners of our home. They were born to a mother kitty that had been abandoned on their construction site. The four tiny kittens came into this world sometime during the terrible events of 9-11. They could have been destroyed or neglected but those people were kind and loved them, fostered them, and socialized them so that eight weeks later they were ready to go to nice homes. The two middle kittens went to a family and we took the eldest and the runt. They were a great gift. Ours stayed and extra 6 weeks with the mom and I think that was extra good for them. They could have been a statistic, but instead have added extra life to our home and made it a better place. Sadly the mother cat was not able to ajust to being inside her new home and was killed in a accident on the road, She had been wild too long. Our cats never go out and they are just fine.
This poem is for that lady who is waiting for the day her dog "no longer wants to be a dog and is weary of living..." so she can take her to the vet for the last goodbye... and its for all the neglected animals, especially dogs and cats that were meant to be our companions, and so often are the refuse of our apathy.
A DOG'S PRAYER
by Beth Norman Harris
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of mine.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though you had no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshipper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest -- and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.