[I’ve lived to see the apple tree bear fruit]

I’ve lived to see the apple tree bear fruit
the honeysuckle learn to climb the pipe
and when my shaking pen had left me mute
I got a book and taught myself to type!

My hair is almost white – like last week’s snow
I’ve wrinkles in my wrinkles, so it seems
not hard to see I haven’t miles to go
before I’m lost beyond the land of dreams…

…screw this:
I feel too sad and decrepit for any sonnet.
I was dumb to let a dog into this stage of my life.
Only the loss of all my teeth
[all at once, like a spilled box of chicklets]
would make me feel older
than having to give up my pup
because patience  and strength
are no longer equal
to that task either!

I feel so sorry for myself
it would be a waste to feel sorry for me
[got no use for misplaced compassion]

I feel like a numbskull, a total failure
and I’m deeply worried
about finding a home
for an animal who deserved better…

come to think of it
they all deserve better, don’t they.

come to think of it
I shouldn’t complain…
I’ll probably live long enough to finish that sonnet.

– – – –

Why am I worried? Consider these FACTS & FIGURES
• Number of cats and dogs born every day in the U.S.: 70,000
• Number of stray cats and dogs living in the U.S.: 70 million
• Number of animal shelters in the U.S.: 4,000 – 6,000
• Number of cats and dogs entering U.S. shelters each year: 6 – 8 million

• Number of cats and dogs euthanized by U.S. shelters each year: 3 – 4 million (nearly 10,000 animals killed every day)

• Number of cats and dogs adopted by U.S. shelters each year: 3 – 4 million
• Average age of animals entering U.S. shelters: under 18 months old
• Percentage of animals entering U.S. shelters that are healthy and adoptable: 90%

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