DEAR ABBY: I'm sending you an article that was published by the SPCA of Texas. It brought me to tears when I read it, knowing how many owners abuse and neglect their pets. It also reminded me how much my little dog loves and depends on me.
Please, please put this in your column with the hope that it might make even one abusive pet owner stop abusing his or her pet, or just as a reminder to other pet owners about how sensitive and loving their pets are. If it saves even one helpless pet from further abuse or neglect, it will be worth space in your column. -- LISA D. FOURNIER, ALLEN, TEXAS
DEAR LISA: I think it's excellent, and well worth sharing with my readers. I hope those who need the message will take it to heart. Read on:
TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR A RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER
1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be very painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me -- it is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don't be angry with me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment. I HAVE ONLY YOU!
5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when it's speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I'll NEVER forget it.
7. Before you hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hand, but I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart may be getting old and weak.
9. Take care of me when I get old. You, too, will grow old.
10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch it" or, "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for ME if you are there. Remember, I love you.