They come in all shapes and sizes, the forgotten ones or the ones who have "outlived their purpose" and are becoming a burden. They cram the shelters and are put to sleep within a week, perhaps the more merciful act than to wander alone without food, water or tender care.
It will teach us much to to take time out and visit these shelters, puppy mills and places of suffering. To open our hearts to the distress and the sense of fear which resides there. To do what we can to provide for the creatures that are so filled with despair and fragile hopeful tail wags, despite their tragic circumstances.
Happily, many are now opening elderly retirement shelters, how wonderful or "no kill" abodes for doggies and kitties. There are rescue barns for retired racehorses, safe domains for a few herds of our wild mustang population, all efforts to honor our path as stewards of the creature world.
Over the years, part of my service has been to receive a call or visit with an elderly animal to listen to the question "is he or she ready?" And the doggie or Kitty will explain with great precision. Many is the time that they wish a little bit longer. They know when it is "their time."
My old Chow shepherd who lived to the mighty age of 16 (very old for that breed) would leave the room in a huff if I asked her "are you ready?" When the day finally arrived, (she could no longer get up), I finally took her to the clinic. Even then, she spent her last five minutes trying to "protect me from the vet" living out her life purpose as a guardian to her last breath. I was in awe of her courage and capacity to be selfless.
Helping pets cross "the rainbow bridge" is a great privilege and one of my most inspired gifts "back." One dog, as I was giving her hands on healing during her passage, gazed into my eyes with such sweetness and gratitude right up until her last soft breath, her eyes were filled with light and peacefulness. This is a common way of passage for the creatures. They have no fear of letting go and we as guardians must be willing to "let them go" when the time is right. God blessed us everyone, for providing for our companionship, setting forth in this life all creatures great and small.