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Too Many!

I am jaded, I admit.
Having seen too much of man's inhumanity
Toward all creatures great and small,
I oft' despair of we,
the so called "higher species,"
ever rising above
Our baser natures.

I am hardened, I confess.
Having witnessed so much unnecessary suffering
The result of the selfish ignorance & cruelty which
We so easily justify without conscience because we were
Mistakenly given dominion over the weak.

I am angry, I must say.
So sick in the deepest reaches of my soul
That man, with so many resources at his command
Has yet to end the needless deaths of those whom dominion gives us
Duty to provide for and protect.

Too many!
Far too many have I seen!
Too many kittens trapped, doused and set ablaze.
Too many puppies dumped from truck windows along lonely country roads.
Too many cats, unwanted, unloved, forming their own societies -
increasing their own numbers without cease.
Too many hounds lying without shade or water -
twenty to a tiny pen, beaten and forgotten should they refuse to run.
Too many herders shot through with arrows and left to die -
in the field where the calf bolted.
Too many workers, beaten with sticks to make them sharp and violent and mistrustful.
Too many horribly scarred fighters, bloodied in forced battles
then discarded when they can no longer win.
Too many tiny ones, tossed across rooms -
hitting walls, thumping broken to the floor.
Too many breeders living in squalor in tiny wire-bottom boxes -
never to know a gentle hand.
Too many too starved to stand without trembling,
shying from the next bullet or kick yet still patiently awaiting their master's return.
Too many millions each year born unwanted only to face death -
in cold chambers, struggling in fear, retching painfully
as the air in their bodies is replace by poison, starving them for breath.

Oh yes, I am jaded,
hardened, angry and sick to the very depths of my soul --
Brows furrow, eyes glare, fists clench spirit weeps in impotent rage.
And then........

I am humbled, it is true.
Having witnessed the few endeavouring against all the odds
To change the plight of the hungry, the homeless, the injured, the unwanted
Ever rising toward man's most shining example of selfLESSness.
I stand in awe of what we together can accomplish.

I am given hope-and joy!
As I reach down to rub my fingers through
the furry miracle lying at my feet.
This golden coloured pup,
found suckling his dead mother's teat at barely seven days old,
Rescued, nursed and protected by another, and now
Grown strong, trusting, healthy and proud.
Living without fear because one out of thousands rightfully understood
Her dominion over the weak.

I am warmed, I must say.
At the memory of a strong man before me just yesterday
Holding one of my tiny ones so tenderly in his massive arms,
His wife's eyes alite with excitement and protective love
Seeing not the bald patches of skin still healing
But seeing instead the frightened but beautiful soul
Beneath the growl,
They soothe her fear into hopeful kisses.

You are my hope, my inspiration, my courage, my conviction to go on
when I find myself so jaded, hardened, angry & soul sick
that I would abandon this unending battle we fight together.

It is you, my chosen family, who give me hope and joy,
and laughter and support and the strength to go on.
I am deeply honoured and humbled to be amongst you.

© R.J.Decker 10-23-00