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Remember, I’m Your Friend

A righteous man regardeth the life of his
beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked
are cruel
(Proverbs 12: 10).

Ever since I was a little girl, animals and
flying creatures have been very special to
me. Although they do not have an everlasting
soul or spirit to live on forever, I truly
believe they do feel and express emotions…
and they can be great companions.

God’s creation

In fact, the first companions God created
for mankind were animals. The Lord
gave them a remarkable emotional
sensitivity. For example, at times when I’ve been
ill, my cat, Finica, would come lie by my
side and not leave. But when I’m well and
joyful, she’s joyful, too.

Because animals are sensitive and have
feelings, I feel we, as the highest of God’s
creation, should take the responsibility to
care for the animals God gave to us for
companions.

As a little girl, I always had a natural
instinct to care for animals. If a bird flew in
front of my father’s car, it would make my
heart flip, afraid it wouldn’t get out of the
way in time. And I instinctively wanted to
help and protect all animals…even more so
as I realized my God-given responsibility.

And now it seems as though, in my
awareness, I see many animals that I could
help.

A sad truth about the day in which we’re
living is that most people don’t want to be
bothered, even if another person needs our
help on the street, much less an animal.
Most folks seem to just drive right by. But
we mustn’t allow ourselves to become so
calloused that we don’t care. I believe if we
can ignore an animal in need, we’ll ignore
people in need. If we abuse animals, we’ll
abuse people.

In fact, the Michigan Humane Society
released a study which indicated that often
animal abusers become child abusers! So
if one finds himself becoming callous and
indifferent to animals, he’d better watch
himself.

The rescue

One day I was driving to the store and,
at a very busy intersection, I found the most
beautiful white police dog. Cars were
honking and screeching around him, and
the poor animal was frantically going back
and forth in the middle of the traffic. I
realized if someone didn’t rescue the dog, it
would be killed. I stopped, put on my car’s
blinker lights, and went over to the dog.
When I called, he came immediately, tail
wagging. I led him to the car and he jumped
in the back seat.

My new friend had a collar on, so I knew
that someone had cared for him. By making
a few inquiries, I soon found that his home
was about a mile from where I’d found him.
And when I took him home, his owners
were absolutely elated that I had found their
dog. He had gone out of the fenced backyard
through an open gate. By the time they
had realized he was out, he’d gotten lost.
I’m not sure who was happiest that he was
home — the dog, his owners…or me!

On several occasions, I’ve rescued stray
cats, fed them, and either returned them to
their owners, or found a new home for them.
Also, Jack and I give regularly to our local
humane society to help in this work with animals.

Get involved

If everybody would be willing to get
involved a few times in their lives, think of
how many animals could be helped. And I
believe if we are tenderhearted toward
animals, we’ll love people more, also. If we’re
willing to do something for someone
— who can’t do anything in return
for us, it says something about the kind of
people we are…it says something about our
character.

Recently, I saw an essay in the Detroit
Free Press Magazine
that moved me so much
I asked permission to share it with you. I
pray it will touch your heart and motivate
you to get involved first with needy people
and then, with needy animals. Don’t be
like those who did not care, but be a good
samaritan. (See Luke 10:36,37).


See Spot Die

by Javan Kienzel

I had your dog put to sleep the other
day. You gave me little alternative.

It was in the midst of one of Michigan’s
April weather-by-the-hour blizzards. I saw
her — a pitiful heap on the edge of the Eight
Mile median. Lots of other drivers had to
see her, but traffic was heavy and the
weather, as I said, was bad.

I don’t know who you are, but she was
once your dog. She was wearing a collar
(but no tags, so you can’t be identified) and,
as I learned later, she had been spayed.

As I approached her, I could see she was
a small, mixed breed. She pulled herself to
her feet, backed up, and bared her teeth. I
used my folded coat as a shield and tried to
get closer. She continued to retreat,
snarling.

I tried a different ploy. I opened the
front and rear doors of my car and walked
off a distance. After some hesitation, she
finally clambered up into the front seat.

She was alternately baring her teeth and
barking as I approached. I spoke quietly,
in what I hoped were reassuring tones, as I
inched closer. Finally, she retreated to the
passenger seat. Still holding my coat as a
buffer, I slowly slid into the driver’s seat
and carefully put the car in gear.

As we entered traffic, she shook herself,
giving me and the car’s interior a muddy
shower. She must have been out in the
sleet for a long while.

Gradually, she settled down, although
she whimpered every so often. She didn’t
seem able to get comfortable.

Time was short. I was headed for a
medical appointment that had taken me
some time to get. I continued to speak
quietly to the dog, who now accepted my
touch. I patted her head cautiously, and
when I stopped for a light, ran my hand
over her body to check for injuries. She
winced as I came to a huge swelling and a
raw, jagged wound.

I stopped at two veterinary clinics, but
neither could locate a convenient animal
shelter. Mercifully, the second clinic agreed
to keep her while I kept my appointment.

When I returned after my appointment,
the dog came to me willingly and entered
the car without problem.

She obviously needed help. But where
to get it?

The last time I had picked up a stray, I
had thrown myself on the mercy of our
neighborhood vet. He had accepted the
animal, kept it overnight, and phoned the
shelter for a pickup the next day. I would
throw myself — and my passenger — on their
mercy again.

No prodigal was ever given a more caring
welcome. Dr. Chang, aided by Dr. Muns
and one of the staff, with the aid of a rabies
stick, finally removed the now near-frantic
dog from the car and carried her into the
examining room, all the while speaking
gently and reassuringly to the terrified
animal.

An X-ray, blood test, and examination
told the story. The dog was somewhere
between six and seven years old. It
appeared she had been a stray for some time:
she was thin to the point of emaciation,
and burrs were matted in her coat. She
had a variety of skin tumors and cysts.
She bore evidence of battles, some old, some
more recent, probably with cats and other
dogs — but one unhealed laceration looked
as if it might be a gunshot wound of some
kind, with the possibility that a BB or shot
was still lodged in her. There was
suppurating ear infection; her eyes were reddened,
and she had a temperature of 104 degrees.
Her stool consisted largely of bones —
evidence that, without decent food, she had
barely survived by scavenging. Her heart
was enlarged; there were growths in the
abdominal/lung area, and arthritis of the
spine.

Even had the immediate problems been
healed, and even had she been fed and
cleaned, her life expectancy was undoubtedly
only a very few months — and wretchedly
agonizing months at that.

“Please put her out of her misery,” I said.

They led the little dog in from the X-ray
room. Seeing me, she wagged her tail
feebly and, as I knelt, she crept to me and
rested her head trustingly in the curve of
my arms.

One of the assistants had told me once,
“I always try to be there and hold an animal
whose owner isn’t there when it has to be
euthanized.” I was glad she was there with
me now. Both of us held and petted and
spoke to the little dog as Dr. Chang inserted
the merciful needle.

It was over in a minute. Peacefully and
quietly she relaxed and went limp. As she
lay there on the towel, we stroked her
battered body.

She was out of her misery.

She was a good little dog. With decent
care, she could have lived a long life. You
gave her about six years.

You cared for her once upon a time, to
some degree. You had her spayed. Did it
trouble you at all to abandon this friendly
little dog? Did her friendship mean nothing
at all to you? Or is this the way you treat
your friends?

When you last saw her, she was a frisky,
healthy pet, trusting, secure, and happy.
That was when you discarded her.

I thought it of some importance that you
know what happened to her after you
dumped her.

I’m projecting a bit now, but I think she
waited for you to reclaim her. I think she
knew you’d come and rescue her. She could
not have fathomed how you could do
otherwise. I think that’s one of the reasons she
resisted my first efforts: She was still
waiting for you.

She’d been thrown on her own in a hard
city — frightened, cold, harried, bewildered.
Hunger drove her to rummage through
garbage that ravaged her insides. Larger dogs
attacked and mutilated her. She fled from
bullets. But she kept coming back to where
you’d left her. Her spirit and flesh were
almost dead when I found her. She was
living only for your return.

I had your dog put to sleep the other
day. You gave me little alternative.

Reprinted from Detroit Free Press Magazine (April 29,
1990) by permission.

 

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