Moonlight Akitas, Akitas, Akita Breeder, Akita Puppies, Show Akitas, Pet Akitas, Companion Akitas, Akitas for Sale, Christina Stanley, American Akitas,  Breeder of Akitas, Akitas in New Mexico


How Could You?
By Jim Willis, �2001

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child,
and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend.

Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" -- but then you'd relent
and roll me over for a belly rub.  My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were
terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and
listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect.
We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because
"ice cream is bad for dogs" you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at
the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a
human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and  disappointments,
never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you
fell in love.
She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" -- still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her
affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.  
Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness,
how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them,
and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love
them, but I became a prisoner of love."
As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on
wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved
everything about them and their touch -- because your touch was now so infrequent -- and I would've
defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to  their worries and
secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the  driveway.
There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from
your wallet and told them stories about me.  These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed
the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented  every expenditure on
my behalf.
Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an
apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a
time when I was your only family.
I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear,
of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her."
They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog,
even one with "papers."
You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed, "No, Daddy! Please don't let
them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship
and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life.
You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my  collar
and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice
ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find
me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?"
They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course,
but I lost my appetite days ago.  At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, 
hoping it was you that you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream...or I hoped it
would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.
When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious
to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at 
the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room.
She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry.  My heart pounded in
anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had  run
out of days.
As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily
on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.  She gently placed a tourniquet
around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to
comfort you so many years ago.
She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing
through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?"  
Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly
explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused
or abandoned, or have to fend for myself --a place of love and light so very different from this
earthly place.
And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?"
was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think
of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

----------------------------A Note from the Author----------------------------

If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is
because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly "owned" pets who die each year in
American and Canadian animal shelters. Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a
noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice. 

Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office
bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life,
that animals deserve our love and sensible care that finding another appropriate home for your animal
is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice,
and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay and neuter
campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals. Jim Willis
-----------------A Note from Chris Stanley of Moonlight Akitas-----------------
Moonlight Akitas is only looking for PERMANENT homes for Akitas.  If you think that would never be
the person in this story and want an Akita, please contact me to discuss the possibilities.  My Akitas are
valued by me as personal companions, show or pet, and I don't want any of my dogs to end up in the
situation described above.  
If at any time during one of my Akita's lifetime an owner's situation changes and they are unable to keep
their Akita, it must be returned to me.  I will provide for it until it is rehomed or dies.  
My message to you is that dogs are NOT DISPOSABLE and should be considered part of the family.

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