1. My life is likely to last only 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful for me.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me; don’t be impatient, short-tempered, or irritable.
3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back. It is crucial for my well-being. Respect is earned, not given as an inalienable right.
4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment; I am not capable of understanding why. I only know I have been rejected. You have your work, entertainment, and friends, but I only have you.
5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice and your tone. You only have to look at my tail.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I’ll never forget it, and if it’s cruel, it may affect me forever.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak. It may be I am just dog-tired.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too will grow old and will also need love, care, comfort, and attention.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.
© Stan Rawlinson 1993