The Survivor




    Our paths crossed again today.
The look he flashed seemed to say
‘You're in my way.’
I stepped back. "Sorry." I said
To the grey-white head,
As he padded by.
Been five years since we first met
Quite informally, a kitten yet,
But certainly not one you would pet.
Such scruffy coat and scrawny limb
Suggested someone had just discarded him.
     As winter drew nigh, I began to worry
About the feline. Would he be furry
Enough to survive?
By Christmas time he was endowed
In long fur, like a fluffy cloud,
And a determined look.
At the time, I supposed the thing to do
Was call the local pound who
Would ‘rescue’ him.
But, it was Saturday. Phone was flat.
No one would come to get the cat.
So, that was that.
     Later on, I saw a documentary
Film put on by some agency
Relating the cruelty
Shown by those,
Devoid of sense, chose
To just release a pet.
Such animals were ‘collected’
To be inspected
And “kept for adoption”.
     The film was meant to draw a tear
From viewers who would then fear
To mistreat their pets.
But, then came the section,
Where there was a selection
From the resident innocents
Incarcerated in cages,
Seemingly for ‘ages’,
And, because there was no room
In the unfeeling tomb,
Their existence was very,
(Quite arbitrarily),
Cut short.
They were doomed.
Termination was the choice.
     About two weeks is the time allotted
For an inmate who is slotted
For adoption
Or destruction.
(Whatever comes first.)
If someone is looking for a pet,
They’d better make a choice real quick
It dies.
No one cries
Or dare criticize
Such operations
Where baleful eyes
Do not despise
The executioners.
No one came.
Was there a given name
For the dog: 
The beautiful,
Chosen to be the ‘star’
Of the macabre film?
Who cared.
So, someone, strong and able,
Laid the dog upon the table.
The large,
The trusting face
And wagging tail
Ne’er gave a trace
Of resistance.
So, while the aide gave assistance,
The ‘doctor’ administered
The single,
     The lady stroked the dying head,
Looked at the camera, and said
“I hope you all can see
What happens when pets run free?”
The point, attempting to be made,
Was lost in that final thrust.
It was obvious: Do not trust
An outgrown dog or loving cat
To such an outfit that
Sentences it to destruction.
The programme emphasized
How cats were euthanized
Even sooner than the dogs!
Some consolation!
What a malediction!
“There’s just not room in our facility
To keep the pets!  Don’t you see?”
Elimination is the ONLY way
To curb the pets that run away!”
     In truth, the message
Resounding hard and fast
Was: if you want your pet to last
Don’t call the city pound.
You will only compound
The transient situation.
For me,
There seemed to be
A contradiction
In the video prediction
In the official registry.
The film spoke volumes on its own,
In contrast to the image shown
As the ‘protector of animals’.
     All these visions passed before me
While I watched the cat. He
Didn’t look any worse for wear.
As a matter of fact, I could swear
He looked much fitter.
Obviously, he was no quitter.
He had a confidential manner,
Almost like he owned the manor
When he strolled by.
     Well, it’s been five years now
Since we met.  Somehow
He has adjusted to his lot in life,
Wandering around without much strife.
Bothers no one. Minds his business.
Where he goes, I cannot guess.
One conclusion can be drawn today:
He’s lasted longer around
Here, than with the city pound.


  © J. Graham Ducker 2001