Most Generous Gift is Walking With & Scratching Me

“You can judge the character of a man by the way he treats animals” ~Abraham Lincoln.

wanna lick? ~d nelson
wanna lick? ~d nelson

When released from this chain-link cage
I promise to be good, I do, I do
and not pull or bark much
as you give me reason to live.
I’ll gift unconditional loving kindness
as we walk outside; spacious and free.


Never mind much as I
chew on your shoe &
jump on you – let’s play!
I adore touch, affection
and scratches behind the ears,
just like you.
Oh, is the biscuit in your pocket?

care for me
care for me

Watch out as I get the leash
wrapped around your leg,
and cut in front of you,
then lick you, so you laugh
while getting back up
off of the ground.

Next, I’ll sniff grass, flowers and,
well…, you don’t want to know what!
Poo here, pee there
and everywhere we go,
anytime, as I’m not
a fair weather-only walker.

Humbly accept this doggy
attitude of gratitude,
tail wagging offering of love,
for volunteering to be here,
offering true presence
walking with & loving
us rescued, protected, shelter dogs.
We forgive those who
dumped & abandoned us.

yes, i'm excited to go out
yes, I’m excited to go out

My scent on clothes will linger
sweetly reminding you
to return and walk me again, soon.
Someday you or another
shall adopt me
& I truly go home.
Staying at the shelter too long
is not so healthy, as I hear barked
– it could mean getting put to sleep, forever.
Animal lives matter!

“I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self-contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition;
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins;
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God;
Not one is dissatisfied-not one is demented with the mania of owning things;
Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago;
Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.” ~ Walt Whitman

47 Replies to “Most Generous Gift is Walking With & Scratching Me”

  1. Such a heart-touching story, David. Thank you for sharing this lovely post. It’s always hard for me to visit an animal shelter – I want to adopt all of the animals. But for now, one little rescued dog is all I can handle.

    1. how wonderful to rescue and care for a dog!
      no pets allowed where i live, so i volunteer to walk many dogs. i understand about going to the shelter. it can overwhelm all the senses. 🙂

      1. Smilecalm, what a kind heart you have. I am not allowed a furry friend either ( but I am allergic to some as well sadly…) so I sometimes walk a friend’s furry friend ( outside I am not sneezing..).

      2. thank you for sharing how you do your best!
        i like seeing the kitty cats, but allergies inform me
        to appreciate without contact. may you enjoy animal time in the fresh air 🙂

  2. Lovely post David!
    A good friend of mine has been walking dogs at the local shelter for a while now … and came home with the sweetest one yesterday. I am so happy for her and for the newly named Maya.
    Dogs are so special … 🙂

  3. Great shots! I have loved that poem by Walt Whitman (and a whole lot of his other poems) for a very long time.
    (Whitman had – besides a pet parrot – a dog that would endlessly bark wildly… even at him. Whitman – though he continued to love it – said that it was the dumbest dog in the whole world!)

  4. Wow!! Such a lovely post, great poem and wonderful sentiments. Dogs are really quite the special beings. We had a dalmation once and to hug was to hug a man.. Thank you so much for the post. Mari

  5. Wonderful poem, and the profound truth of dogs. I spent time with two rescued and now much loved dogs over the holidays. Their hearts are so open knowing their love is returned and their well-being assured now. May I re-blog your post? It touches hearts and I hope will be the nudge someone needs to head to the shelter! (my home is ruled by an old and proud rescued cat, who would not allow peace to reign if I brought home a dog to share its space.) A good friend is very involved here with a humane shelter, and I will at the least send a link to your post to her. Blessings to you in the new year! WG

  6. Reblogged this on Forest Garden and commented:
    There were two beautiful rescued dogs who were a part of our holiday celebrations. My brother’s dog, Sassy, came home from the shelter last July. She has gained both weight and self-confidence during the months of her healing, and brought liveliness and joy with her on Christmas Day. The other dog has been home with loving owners for several years now, and kept us company on New Year’s Eve. I was touched by this beautiful post this morning, and have the author’s permission to share it with you on Forest Garden. Please enjoy, and remember to share your love with all creatures as you are able. WG

  7. A lovely post, dog’s really do provide some balance in our complicated human world. A visit to our local Dog’s Trust shelter may have to happen very soon!

  8. We recently adopted a kill shelter rescue dog from SC – she is the sweetest and has already filled our home with love and purpose. It is sad to think of the ones who aren’t as lucky. Posts like this get the message out that there are so many good pets awaiting homes.

  9. Yes! Animal lives do matter! Not just their lives, but their souls and feelings. When I wished for a partner several years ago, it had to be some one who loved dogs. My soul mate brought his 3 to join my 2. All 5 were rescued from shelters and mostly geriatric when they joined as a pack. We have 3 left now. I cannot imagine a home without the unconditional love of a dog. Thank you for this post.

    1. thank you JoAnne for taking your precious time to see my posts! how wonderful to have found a match made in doggy heaven. i don’t watch tv but sounds like a great theme: 5 rescue dogs, more or less is enough. wishing you happy dog walking meditations 🙂

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