Companion to the German Shepherd Dog Email List (GSD-L)

Maybe Today
The Forgotten Kennel Dog
by Barbara J. Galasso

The sun comes up, the birds are chirping, a soft breeze caresses my face.  Another day is announced.  I can hear the rattle of pans hit against one another as she comes down the slightly sloping hill.  I get a whiff of my breakfast as the air turns in my direction.  Me and my kennel mates bark excitingly as she approaches our runs.  Maybe today, I'll get a pat on the head as she drops my pan of food at my feet.  But alas, that's not to be, so I gobble my food, and retreat to my corner to take a rest where shade from a small tree shadows my run.
My kennel mates either follow my lead and take a nap or they run the fence telling one another off.  Day after day, week after week, year after year, this is my existence.  I was born a German Shepherd dog.... wasn't I meant to be herding sheep somewhere, giving direction to the blind, rescuing an accident victim on some mountain top and playing fetch with little Johnny in some field somewhere?  Maybe today she'll open the gate and take me for a walk or play ball with me, but instead the only contact I have with her is when she brushes past me to clean my run and to put water in my bucket.
Yesterday I got special treatment though.  I was even taken out of my run and brought to the garage.  There one of my kennel mates ( I don't even know his name) and I were briefly introduced as I heard my owner whisper to her friend, "I hope to get a huge litter out of these two." I'm returned to my run where I wait until night creeps upon me, and once again the crickets keep me company as my eyes begin to shut and I think to myself , "maybe today" was not to be, so I'll dream of it to come tomorrow.
Time passes and I find myself now surrounded by ten little balls of fur because of that brief encounter in the garage a couple of months ago. Gee, I never had so much contact with anything before.  All of these little creatures crawling all over me demanding of my attention.  I experience love for a few short weeks.  Maybe today, she'll appreciate the good job I've done and invite me into the house for a dog biscuit. I hear they taste so good.  But then she comes and puts me on a leash and back to my cemented dwelling I'm returned.
My puppies are now put in their own cemented run and I see strangers come into our yard as one by one my babies are picked up and put into their car.   I watch them drive away down the dusty dirt road that leads them further away from me.  Maybe today one of these nice strangers will come to take me away too.  But it's my babies run which is now left empty, as I turn to lay once again under the shade of the lonely tree.
Airplanes fly over head, the lawnmower hums as it busily eats up the grass that surrounds the kennel.  Flies claim their favorite spot on my ears as the mosquitoes hover overhead fighting for a special morsel to call their own.  The gnats are are too small to fight with these guys, so they just find a resting place on my eyes.  Maybe today she'll come out to my run and spray me to relieve me of these trouble makers that have targeted my worn out body.
I grow old and weary.  My arthritic bones allow me an occasional walk to my water bucket.   Time has surely passed by slowly as I wait for her to stroke me, brush me, play with me, take me for a walk, or bring me in the house.  Many more babies came into my life after that first encounter all those years ago in the garage.  She even kept a couple and now I see they go into the garage instead of me.  The pans are rattling again as she makes her way down the hill to the runs.  The other dogs are anxiously jumping up and down, youth still on their side.   Maybe today is the day she'll pat me on the head just one time but instead of me wagging my tail and greeting her at the gait, I go lay my head against the rusty fence one last time under the shade of that little old tree.