Treat me kindly, my beloved friend,
for no heart in all the world is greater than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick,
for though I should 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 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 may 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 taken gently.
I shall leave this earth knowing with the last breath I draw
that my fate was always safest in your hands