By Janet McAfee

Dear Mom and Dad,

I died today. You got tired of me and took me to the public shelter. They were overcrowded and I drew an unlucky number. I am in a black plastic bag in a landfill now. Some other puppy will get the barely used leash you left. My collar was dirty and too small, but the lady took it off before she sent me to the Rainbow Bridge.

Would I still be home if I hadn’t chewed your shoe? I didn’t know what it was, but it was leather, and it was on the floor. I was just playing. You forgot to get puppy toys.


Would I still be at home if I hadn’t had an accident in the house? Rubbing my nose in it only made me ashamed that I had to go at all. There are books and online training information that would have taught you how to teach me to go to the door.

Would I still be at home if I hadn’t brought fleas into the house? Without anti-flea treatment I couldn’t get them off me after you left me outside in the yard for days.

Would I still be at home if I hadn’t barked? That’s how we dogs talk. I was only saying, “I’m scared, I’m lonely, I’m here, I’m here! I want to be your best friend.”

Would I still be at home if you didn’t have to work overtime? I sleep most of the day and am happy to see you whatever time you arrive. I love getting attention, but a daily pet on the head or a hug is enough to keep my heart happy.”

Would I still be at home if I had made you happier? Hitting me didn’t make me learn how to do that.

Would I still be at home if you had taken the time to care for me and to teach me manners? You didn’t pay much attention to me after the first week or so while I spent all my time waiting for you to love me. I may have been just part of your world, but you were my whole world.

I died today.


Some people may be tired of seeing so many posts to save homeless pets on social media. There wouldn’t be so many posts if people who owned these animals had a conscience. There are a few situations where there may be no other option. For example, you have a new landlord who suddenly bans animals and you have no friend or relative nearby to help after you receive an eviction notice. Some pet owners do everything possible to keep their animals in spite of long working hours and the increase in the cost of pet food. I know two brothers in Northern California who live in a tent so they can keep their beloved dogs.

I wonder how anyone can give their senior dog up to a public shelter at the end of its life. Or worse yet, how can they abandon them in the streets to fend for themselves? Loving All Animals just rescued a 14-year-old dog from the county shelter that has difficulty walking…..some research uncovered a callous owner dumped him miles from home.

Thank you to the growing army of you who rescue, foster, and adopt homeless animals. Your countless hours and dedication save so many precious souls and you get to experience the joy of their grateful hearts.

The above letter from a dog may bring a tear to your eye. After you wipe the tear away think of something YOU can do to help the growing number of animals entering shelters.

  1. ADOPT– Consider how your life would be enhanced if you adopted a homeless dog or cat. Take a friend along to the shelter to help select. Too depressed to go to a shelter? Think about how depressed that cat or dog is sitting there in a kennel. I guarantee there is nothing as joyful as the freedom ride to your home as that animal looks out the window and happily transforms. Two animals double the joy, so consider adopting a second or third.
  2. FOSTER – If you travel a lot or don’t want the expense of pet ownership, consider becoming a life saving foster parent. Most shelters and private rescues have wonderful foster programs and they usually let you network the animal and be present to tell the adopter all about Fluffy or Fido. Check out the list on the next page for a shelter or rescue near you.
  3. DONATE – Private shelters and rescue do not receive government funding and rely on donations to provide veterinary care, food, supplies, etc. Your donation is tax deductible.
  4. DONATE FOOD & SUPPLIES – Unopened pet food is welcome by the private organizations. Clean dog beds, towels, blankets, and newspapers are items most shelters appreciate.
  5. VOLUNTEER –Your presence makes all the difference in the world to a frightened new shelter arrival. Volunteer duties vary but can include walking dogs, socializing cats, transporting animals to vet appointments, and cleaning kennels. You might participate in some of the fun off site adoption events and experience the happy endings.
  6. POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA– If you cannot do the any of the above things, you can post shelter dogs and cats on social media including Instagram, Facebook, and

Contact our local Riverside County Shelter, located at 72-050 Pet Land Place in Thousand Palms, at or (760) 343-3644. You can reach Nancy, their foster & volunteer coordinator, at (951)743-1899. You can contact Loving All Animals, the group I work, with at or (760)834-7000.

Blessings to all you Coachella Valley Animal Lovers!

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