TREAT ME KINDLY

Treat me kindly, my beloved friend,
For no heart in all the world is more
rateful for kindness than the loving
heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick,
For though I should lick your hand
between blows, your patience and
understanding will more quickly
teach me the things you would
have me learn.

Speak to me often, For your voice is
the world’s sweetest music, as you must
know by the fierce wagging of my tail
when your footsteps fall upon my ears.

Please take me inside when it is cold
and wet, For I am a domesticated
animal, no longer accustomed to the
bitter elements. I ask no greater glory
than the privilege of sitting at your
feet beside the hearth.

Keep my pan filled with water, for I
cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.
Feed me clean food that I may stay well,
to romp and play and do your bidding,
to walk by your side, and stand ready,
willing and able to protect you with
my life, should your life be in danger.

And, my friend, when I am very old, and
I no longer enjoy good health, hearing
and good sight, do not make heroic
efforts to keep me going.

I am not having fun. Please see that my
trusting life is taken gently. I shall
leave this earth knowing with the last
breath I drew, that my fate was always
safest in your hand.

— By Beth Norman Harris 1968 —

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