In Memory of G.I. Jane

| December 16, 2011 | 1 Comment


What comes to your mind when you hear the word puppy mill? What about dog fights or animal cruelty? Whenever I watch Animal Cops, or any other type of show that’s about people saving animals, at first I think about how lucky some animals are that they get a second chance at a new home and a new life, but then I think about what type of cruel person would subject their friendly natured pet to this kind of abuse? How could they torture, starve, or abandon these creatures and treat him or her like they’re nothing better than the floor they walk on, or the trash piled high in the dumpster? Ever since I was little, I’ve seen strays walking around the streets like skeletons nosing around the dried up grass, the rotten dumpsters, or even in sewage lined lakes in search of food, water, and any shelter that they find.

My family rescued a dog that had been abandoned. We had named her G.I. Jane, Janey for short. She was a golden retriever lab mix, retired from the army as a bomb searching dog. She had velveteen soft ears and cool brown eyes that were so rich and deep that it felt like if you didn’t keep your bearings, you could get lost in them. She was the kind of dog that would jump on top of you if she felt any sadness or heartache just so that you would know that she wouldn’t tell anyone if you cried or had done something bad that you couldn’t explain to anyone else. She never held a grudge or snapped at anyone when she got upset. Whenever you would rub her ears, she would sigh with satisfaction that would rumble throughout her belly and warm the inside of your heart. After a long morning jog or after she would play with our other dog, Bruiser, the corners of her mouth would pull up into a silly grin that would make you laugh no matter what type of mood you were in. She was a thermal blanket that would crowd my left side of my body all night long and a personal alarm for my mom in the morning. She was the only dog I knew that understood German and English commands. She was the only creature I knew that seemed to get high off of running for a good mile or so. It was unfortunate that not everyone could see Janey the way I did.

Janey was tied up in a back yard, left to become weak and malnourished. My sister’s boyfriend was there to look at landscaping his client’s yard and found her emaciated. She also had parts of her coat tinged with rusty dried blood from cuts and scrapes found on her face from when she had tried to escape her neglect. For at least three weeks, the house had been abandoned along with Janey. She was a skeleton with muscles and a thin layer of hide to protect her from the freezing cold and dreary winter. We had rescued her from a backyard prison. If she had been left there another night, she would most likely have frozen to death from the harsh cold front that had arrived that evening.

It surprised me that even though she was abandoned by a human she still showed us love, dedication, and compassion throughout her life as a member of our family. It was painful seeing how even though she had been left for dead she had still fought for her life and still had the strength to keep going. Some might call it instinct, but I believe that she was running on hope and the will to live. It’s impressive that a simple yet complex creature such as a dog will fight for his or her life, and yet when some humans get upset and feel that it’s the end of the road for them, they might just hurt themselves, turn to drugs, or maybe even surrender to death.

Janey fought against the urge to give up, and because of that will, she brought more joy into my family’s life as well as mine. She was a friend, a play mate for our other dog, an alarm for my mom, and blanket for me, but most importantly, she was family.

When you look into a dog’s eyes, what do you see? Do you see a strong sense of hope, pride, or joy? How about a tragic story full of pain and sorrow with glimpses of hope? Have you looked into a dog’s eyes and seen the innocence of a new born puppy that hasn’t learned the hardships of pain? When I looked into Janey’s eyes, they glistened with hope and joy like a bright constellation star with a sorrow filled past.

This has been Janey’s story, and there are many other animals that share these same hardships. They don’t have a voice, but you have the ability to give them one by volunteering, reporting abused or neglected animals, or even something as simple as spreading the word about animal neglect.


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  1. Amaya Hoover says:

    This was so poetic. Absolutely loved it. 🙂

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