My Journey From Death Row To Ben & Jerry’s

by Trini Gilmore

The noise is deafening and I am so frightened.
Where is my family, why don’t they come for me?
Why are they punishing me, was I a bad dog?
Why do I have to lie on this cold, damp cement slab
Without even an old rag to pad me?
Why do the people, who walk past my cage,
Shake their heads and say, “How sad that his time is up today”?

A strange lady comes to my cage and a worker opens the door for her.
She speaks softly and slips a collar over my head.
I am so scared I back into the corner and shiver all over and pee.
She reaches out her hand to me, 
And leads me out of the cage past all the other dogs, 
Down a long hallway, and out into the sunshine.
She sits beside me on the grass and talks to me.

She tells me that it is OK, I will not be “put down” today.
I am still so frightened, who is she, will she hurt me?
I keep taking quick peeks at her eyes to see if they are kind.
I smell awful, like dried urine and old feces.
She doesn’t seem to mind the smell, she strokes me softly.
She offers me a cookie and I decide to taste it.
Then I have another, and another, and another.

I am in another cage in the back of a big van.
The lady’s voice keeps telling me that everything is OK,
She says we are going home. I want to go home.
We arrive at a strange place and the lady says, “Here we are.”
I don’t know this place, this is not my home.
I crouch in fear once again in the back of my cage.
The lady opens the door and coaxes me out.

I am very sick, I cough and gag all the time.
The lady, who calls herself my foster Mom says I have kennel cough,
And she is very worried about me.
I like it here, I have a soft fuzzy bed to sleep on and lots of good food.
No one yells at me, and no one hits me.
My foster Dad lets me sleep on the bed beside him when he reads,
And I snuggle my body against his and feel his warmth.

My foster Mom says that today I will get to meet a really nice man,
Who might become my forever Dad. I have never had a forever Dad.
How come I can’t stay right here? I am happy here.
A car comes up the driveway and a young man steps out,
I run and hide. I am very scared. What is going to happen?
Mom gives him little pieces of meat to offer me.
I want the meat, it smells so good. Maybe it is safe to take just one piece from him.

My foster Mom says his name is Tim. Tim and I go for walks in the fields,
And he talks to me and gives me cookies.
He sounds very gentle and I think he wants to be my friend. 
I touch my nose to his hand when he is not looking.
His hand smells nice and safe.
Tim goes away several times, but he always comes back.
I like him and want to trust him, maybe it would be nice to have one of those “forever Dads”.

Today when Tim visits me, we go on a field trip.
I am not sure what is happening, but Tim keeps telling me it will be lots of fun.
I ride in the front seat of Tim’s car, it has the “long ago” smell of another dog,
A happy dog, I wonder if that dog belonged to Tim?
Tim buys me cookie dough ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s,
I am not sure what it is, and I take the first bite very cautiously,
Now I gobble down the rest really fast to make sure I don’t miss any. YUM!

My foster Mom wipes tears from her cheeks,
As she tells me that I will be going to my forever home this week.
She tells me that Tim loves me and will always take good care of me.
She says she is so happy for me, so why does she cry?
She tells me she will miss me every day, but that her heart is smiling.
I believe her, and deep inside I know that I already belong to Tim and always have.
I am really going home.

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