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Treat Me Kindly

Treat me kindly, my beloved friend,
for no heart in all the world is more grateful
for kindness that the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick,
for though I might 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 the sound of your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
Please take me inside when it is cold and wet,
for I am a domesticated animal,
no longer accustomed to bitter elements.
I ask no greater glory
than the privilege of sitting at your feet
beside the hearth.
Keep my pan filled with fresh 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 sight,
do not make heroic efforts to keep me going.
I am not having any fun.
Please see to it that my life is taken gently.
I shall leave this earth
knowing with the last breath I draw,
that my fate was always safest
in your hands.

- Author unknown, "A Dog's Plea"