|How Could You?
How Could You? | French: Comment t'as pu? | Spanish: ¿Cómo pudiste? | Inspiration and Comfort | Inspiration and Comfort II | Favorite Links||
A selection of quotations, prose & poetry
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A Rescuer's Creed
I shall be a believer of all that is good in man and of all that is
deserving in animals. I shall plead for their lives, campaign for their
safety and uphold their right to a natural death. I shall seek out the
injured and the maimed, the unloved, and the abandoned and tend to them
in their last days. I shall not forget their place in the hierarchy of
life, nor that we walk in each other's paths. I shall bear witness to the
wonder they bring into our lives and to the beauty they bestow upon our souls.
I shall renew their spirits when they are waning, bind their wounds when
they bleed, cradle them when they whimper, and comfort them when they mourn.
I shall be near them in their hour of greatest need - a companion and friend
when the time has come. I shall watch over them and console them and ask
that the angels gather them in their arms. From the creatures of the earth I
shall learn the fruits of compassion and undying love, and I shall be called
the beloved of God. In their company I shall indeed be blessed.
~ Susan M. Pearson
VOICE OF THE VOICELESS
So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.
I am the voice of the voiceless;
Through me the dumb shall speak,
Till the deaf world's ear be made to hear
The wrongs of the wordless weak.
From street, from cage and from kennel,
From stable and zoo, the wail
Of my tortured kin proclaim the sin
Of the mighty against the frail.
Oh shame on the mothers of mortals,
Who have not stooped to teach
Of the sorrow that lies in dear, dumb eyes,
The sorrow that has no speech.
The same force formed the sparrow
That fashioned man the king;
The God of the whole gave a spark of soul
To furred and feathered thing.
And I am my brother's keeper
And I will fight his fight,
And speak the word for beast and bird,
Till the world shall set things right.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)
"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures
from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."
- Saint Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226)
A Prayer for Animals
Hear our humble prayer,
for our friends, the animals,
especially for those who are suffering;
for any that are lost or deserted
or frightened or hungry.
We entreat for them all
Thy mercy and pity,
and for those who deal with them,
we ask a heart of compassion
and gentle hands and kindly words.
Make us, ourselves,
to be true friends to animals
and so to share
of the merciful.
"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics,
which is the goal of all evolution.
Until we stop harming all other living beings,
we are still savages."
- Thomas Alva Edison (1847 - 1931)
by Lord Dunsany
I dreamed one night I came
Somehow to Heaven, and there
Transfigured shapes like flame
Moved effortless in air.
All silent were the Blest,
Calmly their haloes shone,
When through them all there pressed
One spirit whirling on.
He like a comet seemed,
But wild and glad and free,
And all through Heaven, I dreamed,
Rushed madly up to me.
Back from his haloed head
A flaming tail streamed far,
This way and that it sped
And waved from star to star.
And, as I saw it shot
Like searchlights through the sky,
I knew my dog had got
To Heaven as well as I.
The House Dog's Grave (to "Haig," an English Bulldog)
I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.
So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.
I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.
But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.
You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope than when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .
But to me you were true.
You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.
Robinson Jeffers, 1941
"Not the least hard thing to bear when
they go from us, these quiet friends,
is that they carry away with them so
many years of our lives. Yet, if they
find warmth therein, who would
begrudge them those years that they
have so guarded?
And whatever they take,
be sure they have deserved."
- John Galsworthy
"Dandie Dinmont Terriers," by Mahler, 1931.
"The animals of the word exist for their own reasons.
They were not made for humans any more than
black people were made for whites,
or women created for men."
- Alice Walker (1944 - )
A DOG'S SOUL
Every dog must have a soul
Somewhere deep inside
Where all his hurts and grievances
Are buried with his pride.
Where he decides the good and bad,
The wrong way from the right,
And where his judgment carefully
Is hidden from our sight.
A dog must have a secret place
Where every thought abides,
A sort of close acquaintance that
He trusts in and confides.
And when accused unjustly, for
himself, he cannot speak,
Rebuked, he finds within his soul
The comfort he must seek.
He'll love, tho'he is unloved,
And he'll serve tho'badly used,
And one kind word will wipe away
The times when he's abused.
Although' his heart may break in two
His love will still be whole,
Because God gave to every dog
An understanding Soul!
- Edward & Erma Diebert
"The worst sin towards our fellow creatures
is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity."
- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours,"
faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe
it to him to be worthy of such devotion."
"TO LOVE AGAIN"
Oh, what unhappy twist of fate
has brought you homeless to my gate?
The gate where once another stood
to beg for shelter, warmth and food.
For from that day, I ceased to be
the master of my destiny,
while she with bark and velvet paw
became within my house the law.
She slept on furniture and shed,
and claimed the middle of my bed.
She ruled in arrogance and pride,
and broke my heart the day she died.
So if you really think, my friend,
I'd willingly relive all that again,
because you come forlorn and thin -
Well, don't just stand there...
Come on in!
"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary
than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully
understanding the necessary plan."
"Who kicks a dog kicks his own soul towards hell."
- Will Judy
Once upon a time there was a wise man
who used to go to the ocean
to do his writing.
He had a habit of walking
on the beach
before he began his work.
One day he was walking along
As he looked down the beach,
he saw a human
figure moving like a dancer.
He smiled to himself to think
of someone who would
dance to the day.
So he began to walk faster
to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw
that it was a young man
and the young man wasn't dancing,
but instead he was reaching
down to the shore,
picking up something
and very gently throwing it
into the ocean.
As he got closer he called out,
"Good morning! What are you doing?"
The young man paused,
looked up and replied,
"Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked,
why are you throwing starfish
in the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But, young man, don't you realize that
there are miles and miles of beach
and starfish all along it.
You can't possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened politely.
Then bent down, picked up another starfish
and threw it into the sea,
past the breaking waves and said-
"It made a difference for that one."
- Author Unknown
"In order to really enjoy a dog,
one doesn't merely try to train
him to be semi-human. The point
of it is to open oneself to the
possibility of becoming partly a
- Edward Hoagland
"We have not to gain his confidence or his friendship.
He is born our friend; while his eyes are still closed,
already he believes in us, even before his birth he has
given himself to man."
- Maurice Materlinck
"When you believe there is no love in the world, just gaze into the eyes of the cat in your lap."
- Old Welsh saying
"In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and
complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never
attained, living by voices we will never hear. They are not brethren,
they are not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves
in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and
travail of the earth."
- Henry Beston (1888-1968)
"Odin," engraving by Edwin Landseer, 1883.
"Dogs are our link to paradise...
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace."
- Milan Kundera
A Dog's Prayer
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than
the loving heart of me.
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 had you 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
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
- Beth Norman Harris
"Basset D'Artois a Jambes," by Mahler, 1931.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
- Mohandas Gandhi (1869 - 1948)
I ONLY WANTED YOU
They say memories are golden
well maybe that is true.
I never wanted memories,
I only wanted you.
A million times I needed you,
a million times I cried.
If love alone could have saved you
you never would have died.
In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place
no one could ever fill.
If tears could build a stairway
and heartache make a lane,
I'd walk the path to heaven
and bring you back again.
Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one,
the chain will link again.
"If a man aspires toward a righteous life,
his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals."
- Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910)
Husband's putting on a tie
The kitchen smells of apple pie
Floors are polished - Tables glow
Music is playing soft and low
Six o'clock and all is well
At last I hear the front doorbell
Pat my hair and check my face
Not a thing is out of place.
Then a voice screams loud and clear
"MOM! THE DOG THREW UP IN HERE!"
"Nana," original illustration from J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan."
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
Walt Whitman, "Leaves of Grass"
"A thinking man feels compelled to approach
all life with the same reverence he has for his own."
- Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965)
by Crystal Ward Kent
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 wear less 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 lift 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.
["The Rainbow Bridge" is usually wrongly attributed as "Author Unknown," but the author is indeed known. If you use it, please attribute it - we're sure he'd appreciate it!]
THE RAINBOW BRIDGE
Just this side of Heaven is a
place called Rainbow
When an animal dies that
has been especially close to
that pet goes to Rainbow
Bridge. There are meadows
and hills for all of our special
friends so they can run and
play together. There is
plenty of food,water and sunshine
and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor;
those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again,
just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing:
they each miss someone very special, someone who was left
They all run and play together, but the day comes
when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.
His bright eyes are intent; his eager body begins to quiver.
Suddenly, he breaks from the group, flying over the green grass,
faster and faster. You have been spotted,
and when you and your special friend finally meet,
you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
The happy kisses rain upon your face;
your hands again caress the beloved head,
and you look once more into those trusting eyes, so long gone
from your life,
but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together...
By Paul C. Dahm