Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Aug. 20, 2001

Have a heart, people


I heard a story recently that really broke my heart.

A van was pulled over along the side of a rural dirt road. After a few minutes of idling, the van took off quickly, leaving a trail of dust and a black lab dog running behind, trying to catch up.

What a sad thing to hear. I felt for that poor dog. I imagined my family driving me out to a dirt road, pushing me out the door, and taking off like a bat out of hell.

Not a pretty thought.

Now, I do realize that animals don't have the intelligence of humans, or their capacity of emotions. I do believe, however, that they feel happiness and sadness (and perhaps other emotions, as well).

I say this because I swear that I have seen a dog smile.

This story came about because my parents found a stray dog in their yard in rural Cokato last week.

This dog was thin, skiddish, and seemed afraid of people. My mom tried to feed him, but he wouldn't come near her. When she tried to leave food out for him, her dog would get to the food before the stray even had the chance.

We are guessing that the dog was abandoned by someone. He had no collar on and, by the looks of him, could have been abused.

How sad to think that this may have been someone's family member at one time. I don't understand how someone could be heartless enough to just drop off an animal like that.

I'm not an animal person. I don't have the desire to have a pet at all. We do have fish at our house, which are named and everything, but I don't really consider them to be pets.

I like our fish because they are pretty, and we can still go away for a weekend without worrying that they will be living among the angels (or in this case, living among the angelfish) when we return.

So, even though I am not an animal lover, I still do respect life. Life for all of God's creatures, including stray dogs.

And I find it terribly heartbreaking to realize that even though there are many ways to rid yourself of the responsibilities of a pet, there are people that still take the cruel route of abandonment.

There are agencies all across the United States that will take on an animal. Many times they are able to find a suitable and loving home.

These agencies can't really make it any easier. So is it just laziness?

In addition to the agencies, many newspapers offer free giveaway ads. All it takes is a phone call to your local paper to place the ad.

So, if you are thinking of giving up your animal, do what you have to do. No one knows your situation better than you do.

What I do ask of you, however, is that you do it humanely.

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