WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR?
Barbara J. Galasso
I can see the pearly white gates just ahead of me shining brightly in the afternoon sun. But what’s this? So many people are crowded at her majestic doors. Many more are sleeping at the bottom of the grassy knolls spread along the tapestry of the great barriers landscape. Some people are talking and pay no attention to me as I pass them on my journey to the great door that looms in front of me. I hear someone say that at this rate they’ll never get in. Someone responds and says that only one person was let in today. Many knock, but few are allowed entrance through the sacred doors. I wonder to myself what chance do I have to receive admittance through those doors. All I know is that I must try. I’ve come so far, and I’m so tired.
I now stand in front of the big doors and I timidly knock on the great structure. I wonder if anyone can hear me. Slowly the doors open and white puffs of billowy clouds float out past me. A voice beckons me to enter. I hear the roar of the crowd behind me as those who have waited so long run to the door, but alas, no one gains entrance after me. Everything is still; everything is silent as a gentle sense of peace washes over me.
“Who’s that knocking at my door? Who are you my little one?” an invisible voice asks me. I sheepishly answer to the beautiful voice. “I am no one. I haven’t got a name. I'm just a German Shepherd Dog with no name." I say with my head held down in shame. “What, no name?” I hear the voice question me. “Well who’s your family? Where do you come from?”
I feel my body quiver as I admit to never having known my father and having lost my mother only a month after I was born. I tell the voice that I was born at Hell House with one foot in the grave, or that’s what it felt like at the time to me and my brothers and sisters. And then time separated us and I no longer knew if my siblings were still there or not. There was just too many of us and all we did was to try to survive another day. I sometimes wondered if we even looked forward to another day. The only escape that I had was my dreams when I was too exhausted to do anything but sleep.
“And what did you dream about little guy?” the voice invited me to continue. “I dreamed my festering sores would be replaced with a coat of soft, shiny fur. I dreamed of fields of green grass growing, cool brooks flowing, and the breeze of fresh air filling my lungs. I dreamed of someone throwing a ball to me, clean food and water, a car ride down the street, a bone to chew on and a fireplace to lay in front of. But most of all, I dreamed of someone giving me love and attention, and scratching me behind the ear or rubbing my belly once in awhile. Then I’d awake back to reality and find myself maneuvering my splayed toes along the wire enclosure that housed me and five other dogs. The green grass, the fresh air, and the cool running brooks were replaced with the stench of dog droppings, empty water pans and dishes with caked on food that even the vermin turned their noses up at.”
And the voice answered, “I know the truth in what you say my precious little dog. You are only seven years old. All that is past you now. No one will ever hurt you again. I never sent more to you than you could bear. I didn’t call you dog for nothing. Your name is mine name only spelled backwards. Didn’t they see me in front of them? When they starved you, they starved me. When they beat you, they beat me. When they ignored your cries of pain or loneliness, they ignored me. I gave them the larger brain to figure this all out. And still they ask where I was when they needed me? I was right there all the time, right in front of them. I don’t always look like some artists interpretation of me on canvas, you know. I am in the lowliest places and with the most forgotten souls.”
“Now my boy, you are home and we must give you a name. I’m going to call you “Dreamer” because your dreams are what got you through your short life. You have earned your place to sit at my feet by my throne. Come shall we, let’s go walk on those fields of green and get you a drink of water from the cool brooks that you always thirsted after.”
As we pass the great walls that surround the castle, I hear crying and weeping from the other side. I stop and get up on my hind legs and peek over the wall. The beautiful voice says to me, “Those are the puppy mill breeders, the puppy store owners, and the tormentors of animals that have passed from earth and are looking for solace behind my doors. What do you think we should do with them Dreamer?” I find a little growl escape my raised lips. “Good,” the voice says. That’s what I thought too.” The master looks down on the derelicts and says, “Be gone from my sight, ye of little faith.” With that a great rumbling is felt and the air is perforated with screams of terror. It reminds me of the screams I heard all of my life at Hell House. As if the master read my mind, he says to the doomed, “As you have done on earth, is what you shall receive now.” I close my eyes tightly as the earth opens her crusty floor and swallows everyone. Deep in the earth’s core, the echoes of the tortured animal’s voices keep the newest residents of Hell House company on their ride to eternity.
My rating: puppy mills: (1), backyard breeders: (1)
From the great book: "SAVING GRACIE: HOW ONE DOG ESCAPED THE SHADOWY WORLD OF AMERICAN PUPPY MILLS"......Journalist Bradley exposes the hidden world of puppy mills, where dogs are caged like chickens and forced to repeatedly breed until they die. Unlike most factory farm animals that endure painful confinement and are slaughtered within six months of birth, mill breeding dogs are sentenced to many years of existence in deplorable conditions; many don't learn to walk because their cages don't give them enough room to stand. Bradley details the raid of one such mill, Mike-Mar Kennel in Oxford, Pa., which led to the seizure of more than 300 dogs, mostly adults that had languished for years with broken limbs and untreated diseases. Dog 132, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel later named Gracie, was rescued during the raid. Nearly blind, with decayed teeth and a strong aversion to human contact, Gracie flourished under the love and patience of her adoptive owner, Linda Jackson. Bradley's powerful narrative will tug at heartstrings, raise public awareness, and, hopefully, help put an end to puppy mills.