“He was little…that one fact endeared him to me,”
I once wrote in an essay for English–Room 3.
A kindergartener I’d felt empathy for,
Forlorn, unkempt, unnoticed, possibly quite poor,
Tore my junior high heart in two–I’d learned to CARE!
His classmates, the tax-paid teacher seemed quite unfair.
From that day forward, countless outcasts I nurtured.
Spoke up and out– for strays! The auctioned! The butchered!
So old now I can barely walk. I type and talk
Advocating for this and that, so can we chat?
I save animals’ lives and have done so for years,
Yet I met my match and am left drowning in tears.
Three pound four month old feline runt of the litter!
Unsolicited gift–all about did skitter!
Reject from a shelter arrived bearing…ringworm?
“Free diagnosis” from vet? (misnomer quite firm!)…
Price tags one right after the other and holding,
Contagions of worry and marital scolding,
Drugs, syringes, dosages, confinement, ointments,
Black light, Petri dishes, culture growths, appointments
Plastic carriers, scouring, scrubbing, upstairs! down!
Innocent household pets jeopardized–time to frown.
Where oh where had empathy gone–time dragged/rushed by!
Premature “all clear” diagnosis–hopes would die.
Bills mounting…both human and veterinary!
Infected nursemaid me…bandaged ankle to knee.
Prognosis so vague, “iffy” and sparse–no recourse.
Our tiny friend’s passed–we ARE suffering remorse.
Ah, to redo with patience, focus, time well spent
From ourselves AND others who should have had more sense–
We meant well…our hearts being huge…our house quite small,
Our successes impressive in spite of it all.
Epilepsy, heartworm, diabetes, spaying,
Neutering, adoptions, euthanasia, praying,
Warm beds, fresh water, Frisbees, bouncing balls, milk bones,
Leashes, crates, squeakie toys, room to run, silver bowls.
Years can dance by filled with unconditional love.
What animals teach us may be sent from above.
Peaceable kingdom harmony’s achievable
If Noah’s legend is to be believable.
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown’d (not — oh, yes it did!–editor’s note) on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark’d him for her own.
(Thomas Gray from ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD 1751 –paraphrased a tad, an important tad)