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Poem shows life, death from pet's perspective

Staff report

Dear Annie: You printed an essay about a year ago regarding the loss of a pet from the pet's point of view. I'm sorry, but that's all I remember. I recall the way that poem made me feel. I hope you can help me dig it up. - A.S.

Dear A.S.: That poem is one of our most requested, and we are pleased to reprint it.

A Dog's Plea by Beth Norman Harris

Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than 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 might 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 that my trusting 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.

Dear Annie: Our children are now adults, and every year we give them a check for their IRA's, as well as something personal. Last year, I decided to make them a cookbook and write down my best recipes. I printed them, placed them in plastic sleeves and put them in a binder. Then I put all of my recipes on flash drives and gave them to my kids. They really enjoyed having the recipes they enjoyed as children.

If you don't know what to get your parents or grandparents, I highly recommend the gift of your time. If Grandma makes the best piecrust in town, ask her to show you. Take your parents out to lunch. You may also want to check to be sure that your parents have everything they need to be comfortable. Older people may have trouble opening cans, so a good can opener would make their lives easier. Winters are cold, and it is expensive to heat the house, so warm slippers, socks, etc., make a difference. - S.S.

Dear S.S.: Thank you for your thoughtful and creative gift ideas. People often assume a gift means money, but it's the less expensive things that can mean the most.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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