Dedicated to all dogs suffering in puppy mills
I am lost as to what she thinks,
Looking at me with those eyes.
I know. I know–
Six years, she spent in hell.
24/7 in a jail.
I can never imagine.
Her legs carry scars
From the bars of her cell.
She wants to go outside, I think.
She wants to walk, to trot,
To breathe the freedom of the air.
But today’s weather—Chill, damp—
The kind neither of us really likes.
But she—she still wants to go—
Turn her nose up to the breeze,
Close her eyes, just sniff, smelling all
For a moment. Then speed on,
To revel in the movement
Of sinew and muscle and bone. I wonder if she ever remembers
Her many children, thinking
How many lived and how many died.
Is that why she whimpers at times
In her sleep?
Or is it nightmares of the pain,
Pain of caesarians without any anesthetic?
Did she suffer that horror?
Over those six years in hell
How many times was she sliced open
For her owner’s profit?
There is no way to know. No way to tell.
How many babies were ripped from her?
And then sold or forced into slavery
Such as she?
I cannot know, I cannot know.
She can never tell me. She can never show.
All I can see, all I can know
Is her joy in this moment,
A moment of playing or jauntily trotting down the street,
Smiling with happiness as she glances up at me.
All I know is what she has taught—
The heart is a house
With more rooms than you ever know,
And when you think you cannot,
For all the losses you have suffered and mourned,
You add an extra room
And so, grow.