We have had our share of pets. I use to kid around that we were starting our own version of Noah’s Ark! Fish whether Fresh or Salt Water, Rabbit, Canary, Our 2nd Dog & at that time our new Cat Frisky. When a Dog has a real home, especially when they have had a rough start from an abused home. What a difference it makes in there lives. When we first had Muffin in our home. I could see her scars. She was grey & white stubby legged french poodle. From what I remember being said she was tied to a tree & the male owner treated her badly. Muffin took to my Mom, sister, Me & then my Dad.

It took her a while to adjust to the men in the house hold. I do to being a child had it easy. Petting Muffin you had to be careful even around the ears. She would yelp, even over the scars she would look at you in way that reminded me like she was having a flash back, Muffin was a broken dog. We as a family did all we could to show her love, eventually that worked & she came around. During the same year Muffin came to our home. Our Neighbors the same people who talked to my parents about giving Muffin a home told us the wife & former owner who gave us Muffin was asking our neighbor how the dog was doing & was looking to take her back! All of us were had the same thought in our head. It was, what are your nuts? You gave the dog over it was abused by your husband. Now you want to take the dog back & bring it into the same environment,? No WAY!

I was worked up & upset. How can you turn a blind eye to this kind of treatment in the first place is beyond me, it’s sick! Secondly, she never considered the dog was getting adjusted, to us! This is not just inconsiderate, it’s wrong! If a child doesn’t have a stable home in it’s beginning years there are consequences, it’s not much different for a dog. I had no choice I was the kid I had to leave this in my parents hands. They were going to have a talk with the lady, but at the same time they were going to how can I say, politely let her have it. I forget why I had to leave the house maybe it was school or something with the scouts. When I came home later Muffin was still with us & it was a relief. There was no reason for a dog like her to back into a home like that. No Animal should be in one like that at all!

It was bad enough that some time later we would all be on edge & it would last over a week. Muffin was in a dog groomers near Interstate 80 & Route 46 in NJ. They didn’t properly secure our dog. She heard a loud noise & bolted. She was seen in the woods near the Highway. We left stuff for here to pick up our scent. it was now over 9 days & Dad was passing by the service road that ran along Both the off Ramp of 80 & on to Rte 46 when he spotted something & sure enough it was Muffin. Dad had no idea if she was going to bolt or come home. So from inside the car Dad opened the passenger door & said out loud you want to come home? Sure enough Muffin jumped in & Dad just taped the gas to close the door & in our house comes in this muddy barking like crazy dog with thorns in her hair. With a smile on her face running around, glad to be home.

What was my fondest memory is when I was down, had a bad day, upset or stressed she could pick that up like radar. Her little paws would lightly rest on my leg & she would lick my hand or arm to let me know she cared. I would reach down & gently pet her or rub her ear. Some times pick her up place her in my lap & look to repay her for her concern with a doggie massage. She could never get enough! Even though between the cat & her she wanted to be the center of attention & I could see the jealousy. We did our best to include her & give her the attention.

The one thing we all had our eyes on was Muffin’s slow deterioration. Cataracts were starting in her eyes & her sense of smell was going to. Like our 1st Dog Flori & Muffin both poodles got to a point they could no longer walk well or hold anything & contain them selves. Dad went through a rough one for Flori was our families first Dog. Flori picked Dad & Mom, you could hold that little rascal in the palm of your hand. He grew up with them from NYC to well after my sister & I was in the scene. Frisky our cat my Mom had the the misfortune of having to go though putting Him to down do to his kidneys.

When the day came it was obvious Muffin was having a bad day. It was a Saturday morning & there was some commotion down stairs in our home. Dad had a look in his eyes & it was a look of worry. Neither Dad nor my Mom had it in them to go up to our town vet & take her in. I told them i would go, I had no idea what I just put myself into. I understood why, I didn’t want Muffin to suffer & she wasn’t her self anymore. Any time you would take the old girl to the vet she would be so full of adrenaline it reminded us of her younger self. That just wasn’t going to last. I drove Muffin up & my parents were beside themselves. For I felt I was able to handle it & this was the right thing to do. I understood that this was painful & that what they both had been through with the other animals especially Frisky recently it was to much. I also was in denial of my own feelings & this is something I have never forgot for it still chokes me up & makes me cry.

When I was on my way, the Vet was already notified & my parents were already talking to him earlier that morning. He would be ready around Noon if they wanted to continue with putting Muffin down. I felt for Muffin, I wish she could of gone in her sleep. The poor girl was now having accidents in the house. In some cases she knew about it after the fact this is no way for any animal to live. The Vet gave me the run down & I told him I would help for Muffin would still go to bite.

Its just looking into her eyes it was like she knew. She started licking my arm just like when I was down or upset. I felt the emotion building up in me & I had to pull my self together. Even now reliving this tears are rolling down my face & It still hurts. I told her that I was sorry, she, whined & started licking me more. By this time my head & hers were eye to eye. She was licking my face. I held her gently but firmly & when the vet did the deed. Her reaction is what I wasn’t ready for. It was like she said no & then she quietly went to sleep. I broke down & fell apart. Even the Vet couldn’t stay in the room. He didn’t know how I managed to keep it together. At that point it meant nothing, I was some one who I couldn’t help a Dog that came from an abuse home, we gave her a place to stay & be loved.

Now she was gone & I felt guilty, I lay on my bed that after noon & I didn’t have the words then. Now, it’s still hard but at least someone with a big heart has created a forum & has a bunch of good people who have there stories & in his own way created, a community.

To own any animal is a major responsibility. Mark you said it & your right they are a member of our family. Maybe my guilt is the reason that all this time I haven’t gone out of my way to look to have an animal of my own. Recently, that feeling of wanting one has returned helping my Aunt with her SPCA. Seeing little Beagles tripping over there own ears running around & seeing the kindness from any Dog or Cat for that matter. It melts the heart. Now I have to find an apartment complex that allows pets!

It’s not just listening to or reading the stories that come in. But, in supporting a friend who is going through a similar process with her cat. I want to say thank you for giving an outlet that is needed & couldn’t of come at a better time. Which is why I’m buying your book & will be looking to give it as gifts to those who need the same outlet. I hope & pray it will do for them what it’s doing for me.

GOD BLESS YOU & YOUR FAMILY are in my prayers for your loss.

Ralph from NJ