To the editor:
He never had a chance. From the day they brought him home he could almost feel their love for him slowly falling away. His never changed. Even when they would kick him out the door because they were just tired of seeing him around, his love for them never changed. He never really knew the reason why they didn't want him anymore. Being a dog, he didn't understand the economics of having to buy his dog food, he didn't understand the emotions of divorce or separation, and he sure couldn't figure out how you lose love for someone. All he knew was the food got less and less, the anger got more and more, and their love for him was gone. He never had a chance.
Then, one day, they called him to go for a ride. That was something he really loved to do. But before long the car stopped and they called him out. He could hear other dogs barking so out he sprang. Then suddenly the door to the car closed and they drove away. He was left alone. He chased them as fast and as far as he could but the car soon disappeared. He had been abandoned near the Humane Society. He never had a chance.
That night was the night of the fullest, brightest moon in many a year. But the darkness that surrounded him was hard to bear. He was left in a strange place with no one there to help him. He was tired and hungry, but still he ran up and down the roads and through the endless woods hoping that his family would come back to rescue him. They never did. He never had a chance.
The following morning he came upon an old schoolhouse where the people living there tried to coax him into their yard. But they were strangers, and in his confused state, he would not go to them. That afternoon he came down from a hill because he had heard the sounds of cars; maybe his family had come back for him after all he thought. The sounds he heard was the traffic of busy Route 22 on a warm Sunday afternoon. He wandered out into the traffic hoping the people he loved would stop and pick him up. They never did, and the world he knew ended right there.
I was talking to two of my friends, Jay and Rita, by the garden when my phone rang. It was my daughter Erin and she was crying. She said a dog had just gotten run down on the highway. We three ran up over the embankment, across the railroad tracks, and up the highway to where the dog lay. The highway was busy that day, traffic flying by. He never had a chance.
We picked him up and moved him to the berm, and although you could still feel the warmth of his body, he was gone. Erin said he had yelped several times after he got hit; I guess it was just his way of telling the world how much he didn't want to die. It wasn't quick, it wasn't pretty, and it certainly wasn't painless, but all the love he had for those who should have cared for him died right along with him that day on that lonely westbound lane of a cold and foreign highway. And as we carried him up to where my daughter stood, she turned, with tears streaming from her eyes, her face contorted with heartbreak, and she said his final epitaph to me, "Dad, he never had a chance."
We wrapped him in a blanket, dug a hole, and buried him in a little pet cemetery we have on the farm. He now rests with a basset hound name Lassie, a dog named Bozaa, and good old Midnight the cat. We pounded a small white cross into the fresh raw earth where we had lain his broken body down, and Jay suggested we write on the cross "Dog Doe." We did. He died unknown to us, laid to rest by four strangers who he never had a chance to love, and who never had a chance to love him back. But as we looked at the grave, with that small wooden cross and its handful of wildflowers, we knew we couldn't leave it like that, so we decided to give him a name.
If you're ever down this way, why not stop by? It's really peaceful here. The birds are always singing and the river is gently flowing. And as the evening sun sinks softly into the hills of gold, you can pick a flower or two, walk over to a fresh grave in the pet cemetery, and gently lay them down. The dog lying there is named "Chance." He was a good dog.
Michael B. Speck
PS: Please don't abandon your pets near the Humane Society. If you cannot afford the small fee they charge to take an animal in, my phone number is (814) 599-5857. I will see that the fee gets paid. And people please, our Humane Society is in dire financial straits. Any donations on your part will be greatly appreciated. We also want the good people of Mifflin County to know that although you'd never know it from our name, The Huntingdon County Humane Society, we are your Humane Society too, and we take in all of your abused, abandoned and unloved dogs and cats. We would also like to have all of Mifflin County join us as volunteers, members, and we ask for any donations possible to care for these wonderful animals. Our mailing address is HCHS, 11371 School House Hollow Road, Huntingdon, PA 16652. Or, better yet, stop by and see our wonderful and caring facility. There is going to be a can on the counter there, it will have one word on it, "Chance." If you get a "chance," stop by and drop a few dollars in it. After all, that's all these guys really need, a "chance."