Brassbrigade Labrador Retrievers - McDonough, Georgia

Brassbrigade Labrador Retrievers - Poems


The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.


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 may 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 your footsteps fall upon my waiting ear.
Please take me inside when it is wet and cold, 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, 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 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.


If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,
Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.

-----Author Unknown


I was born today, one of 10.
My daddy was very famous. I have lots of half brothers and sisters.
My mother is very famous.
Since she got famous, she has only had puppies.
No more loving hands, no more fun trips....just puppies.
She is always sad when they leave.

I left home today.
I didn't want to go, so I hid behind my mama and my three littermates that were left.
You picked me up and carried me away, even though you said you were concerned about me hiding from you.
I wanted to love you, but I don't think you liked me...
One day, you said, I would be famous.
I wonder: is famous the same as fun and good times?

My new home is far away.
I am scared and afraid.
My heart says BE BRAVE.
My ancestors were.
Did they go to good homes like mine?

I'm hungry.
I can't eat too much because it will be bad for my bones.
I can't growl or nip when the children are mean to me.
So I run away pretending I am in a big green field with butterflies and robins and frogs.

I can't understand why they kick me.
I am quiet, but the man hits me and says loud things.
The lady doesn't feed me good things like I had with my mother.
She just throws dry food on the ground, then goes away before I can get too close for some touching and petting.
Sometimes my food smells bad, but I eat it anyway.

Today I had 12 puppies.
They are so wonderful and warm.
Am I famous now?

I wish I could go play with my puppies, but they are so tiny.
I am so young and playful that it is hard to lay here in this hole under the house nursing my puppies.
They are crying now.
I scratch and worry my fur.
I am so hungry - I wish someone would throw me some food.
I am also very thirsty.

I now have eight babies.
Two got cold during the night and I couldn't make them warm again.
They are gone.
We are all weak.
Maybe if I take them out on the porch, we can get some food.

Today they took us away.
It was too much trouble to feed us, so someone came to take us away.
A man grabbed my puppies.
They were crying and whimpering.
We were put in a truck with boxes in it.

Are my babies famous now?
I hope so, because I do miss them.
They are gone.
Am I famous now?

This place smells of urine, fear and sickness.
Why am I here?
I was beautiful like my ancestors.
Now I am hungry, dirty, in pain, unloved and unwanted.
Maybe the worst is...nobody cares.
Noboby comes, through I do try to be good.

Today someone came.
They put a rope on my neck and lead me to a room.
It is very clean and has a shiny table.
They put me on the table.
Someone holds me and hugs me.
It feels good!!!

Now I feel tired and I lay my head down.
I reach my paw for this last one who cares.....
Today someone cared..................
Am I famous now?


***Please think before you breed your pet. Are you able to find good, responsible owners for all of the puppies, no matter how many are in the litter? Are you willing to keep puppies until they can be placed in loving homes? Are you prepared to do and spend whatever it takes to ensure the dam as well as the puppies are kept healthy, well nourished and loved? Are you willing to accept that in all likelyhood, you will lose money on this endeavor? Can you come to terms with the fact that you could lose your beloved pet during the pregnancy and whelping? Our pets always think of us, they ask only to love us and be loved in return. Remember to think of your pet first and breed responsibly.***

***The following is for Star, Bellvie, Magnum, Clyde, Twinkles and Bogie, our wonderful, much-loved pets who are now at the Rainbow Bridge.***

The Rainbow Bridge

There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.
It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors.
Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge, there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.

When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place.
There is always food and water and warm spring weather.
The old and frail animals are young again.
Those who are maimed are made whole again.
They play all day with each other.

There is only one thing missing.
They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth.
So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up!
The nose twitches!
The ears are up!
The eyes are staring!
And this one suddenly runs from the group!

You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you take him or her in your arms and embrace.
Your face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.

-----Author Unknown


When God had made the earth and sky,
the flowers and the trees,
He then made all the animals,
the fish, the birds, and bees.

And when at last He'd finished,
not one was quite the same
He said, "I'll walk this world of mine
and give each one a name."

And so He travelled far and wide,
and everywhere He went,
a little creature followed Him
until its strength was spent.

When all were named upon the earth
and in the sky and sea,
the little creature said,
"Dear Lord, there's no name left for me".

Kindly the Father said to him,
"I've left you to the end.
I've turned my own name back to front
and called you DOG, my friend".

-----Author Unknown

So Spake The Lord

God summoned a beast from the field and said,
"Behold, man is created in my image. Therefore adore him.
You shall protect in the wilderness,
shepherd his flocks, watch over his children,
accompany him wherever he may go ~even into civilization.
You shall be his companion, his ally, his slave."

"To do these things," God said,
"I endow you with instincts uncommon to other beasts:
Faithfulness, Devotion and
Understanding surpassing those of man himself.
Lest it impair your courage,
you shall never foresee your death.
Lest it impair your loyalty,
you shall be blind to the faults of man.
Lest it impair your understanding,
you are denied the power of words.
Speak to your master only with your mind
and through your honest eyes.
Walk by his side; sleep in his doorway;
forage for him; ward off his enemies;
carry his burden; share his afflictions,
love and comfort him.
And in return for this,
man will fulfill your needs and wants ~
which shall be only food, shelter and affection.
So be silent and be a friend to man.
Guide him through the perils along the
way to this land I have promised him.
This shall be your destiny and your immortality."

So spake the Lord. And the dog heard, and was content.

-----Author Unknown

God's Garden

God looked around his garden,
And found an empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth,
And saw your tired face.

He put his arms around you,
And lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful,
He always takes the best.

He knew that you were suffering,
He knew you were in pain.
He knew that you would never,
Get well on this earth again.

He saw the road was getting rough,
And the hills were hard to climb.
So he closed your weary eyelids,
And whispered, "Peace be thine."

It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you didn't go alone.
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.

-----Author Unknown

Old Dogs Do Not Die

We have a secret, you and I,
That no one else shall know,
For who but I can see you lie,
Each night, in fire glow?

And who but I can reach my hand
Before we go to bed,
And feel the living warmth of you
And touch your silken head?

And only I walk woodland paths,
And see, ahead of me,
Your small form racing with the wind,
So young again, and free.

And only I can see you swim
In every brook I pass...
And, when I call, no one but I
Can see the bending grass...

----- Author Unknown

A Prayer For Animals

Hear our humble prayer, O God,
for our friends the animals,
especially for animals who are suffering;
for any that are hunted or lost or deserted
or frightened or hungry;
for all that must be put to death.
We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity,
and for those who deal with them
we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words.
Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals
and so to share the blessings of the merciful.

-----Albert Schweitzer

Death of a Pet

"I'll lend you for a little time a friend of Mine," He said,
"For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he's dead,
It may be ten or eleven years, or maybe two or three,
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for Me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and shall his stay be brief
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.

"I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this friend to learn.
I've looked the wide world over in my search for protectors true
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call to take him back again?"

I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord, Thy will be done."
For all the joy Thy friend shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay;
But shall the angels call for him much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand."

-----Adapted from a poem by Edgar Guest-1938

Pawprints In The Sand

One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there were seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
While he carried me along the shore.

But then some stranger prints appeared,
So I asked, What were these prints for?
These prints are neither yours or mine.
And Lord they are in sets of four.

My child, He said in somber tones,
At one time you were so close to giving up,
That I called on a little dog to walk along.
And for awhile this was just what you needed.
Your pup filled your time with love and blessings,
He kept you so busy there was no time for fussing.

But then one day I had to call him home,
And you were heartbroken and all alone,
But the time you had together was never forgotten,
And even though it hurt to lose your little dog,
I knew you'd be better for the love you had known.

- Author unknown

How Could You?

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" -but then you'd relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub. My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together.

I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams,and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day. Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your home comings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a "dog person"-still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love." As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch-because your touch was now so infrequent-and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf. Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog,even one with "papers." You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked...."How could you?" They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you- that you had changed your mind-that this was all a bad dream ... or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared,..... anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein.

As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?" Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself-a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

----- Jim Willis

A note from the author: If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who die each year in American and Canadian animal shelters. Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice. Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage adoption.

A Shelter Dog asks God...

Dear God,
What is "Time"? I hear the sadness in the voices of workers here. They say my "Time is up", that they have to make room for yet another dog.

My "Time" is up. I don't know what that means, God. I only know that my new friends are so sad, and the more I wag my tail---the harder I try to make them feel better---the sadder they become.

I know I have heard that word "Time" before, but I don't understand. When I was younger, my people would say "Time to play!" They would throw the ball, and I would run fast. Sometimes I brought it back to them, but other times we'd end up chasing each other having fun.

I remember "Time to eat". My people would put down a bowl of food, and I would enjoy dinner, wagging my tail in joy. There was also "Time for your walk". My boy would put my leash on, and we would go walking together, visiting the neighborhood and enjoying each other's company.

When I was younger I thought "Time" meant fun. Or maybe Love?

I don't understand. "Time" must mean something else, but how can it change, God? Before I came here, I heard my people say, "No time to feed you now, boy. Later, when I get home." Sometimes my family would forget, and there was no food in my bowl. Does "Time" mean when my belly hurts?

My people said there was no time for walks. I tried to hold it all day long-- but God, I just couldn't anymore. When I finally had to go, it made my family very angry. Does "Time" means anger? Or maybe Loneliness?

My family said they didn't have "Time". They didn't have time to play, or time to take me to the vet, or time to go for walks. They didn't have "Time", so they brought me here.

Maybe I was right... They said they didn't have time, and if "Time" means Love, how did they lose it? Did I do something wrong?

God, I think my new friends are sending me to you. Do you have "Time"? May I sit on the couch?

Am I a good Dog, God?
Is it "Time"?

-----Joan C. Fremo

Brassbrigade Labradors
1997 - 2005 Tina Kirkland and Tonya Stroud-Snair
No content may be used without permission

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