By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only


Dear Friends,

Consider the two-way love affair between you and your
dog, cat, or parakeet.  Did the bird sing when you entered
the room?  Did the cat brush up against your leg, purring
with her pleasure in pleasing you?  Did your dog cry
when sad, or jump with joy, his tail unable to contain the
excitement in seeing you come home after being away
from your presence for just one hour?

Do animals feel?  Do pigs smell death and hear cries of
those who are slaughtered before them?  Do calves cry
when separated from their mothers?  Do animals feel pain?
Read the poem below and imagine the animal's perspective.

The House Dog’s Grave
Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)

I’ve changed my ways a little; I cannot now Run with you in
the evenings along the shore, Except in a kind of dream; and
you, If you dream a moment, You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door Where I used
to scratch to go out or in, And you’d soon open; leave on
the kitchen floor The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, All the nights through I
lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet Outside
your window where firelight so often plays, And where you
sit to read– And I fear often grieving for me– Every night
your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard To think of you
ever dying. A little dog would get tired, living so long. I
hope that when you are lying Under the ground like me your
lives will appear As good and joyful as mine. No, dears,
that’s too much hope: You are not so well cared for as I
have been. And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew. Your minds are perhaps too active,
too many-sided... But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

If you are the master of your home and your emotions,
read this poem as tribute to your pet.  Instead of hugging
a tree, hug a vegetarian.  These strange people have the
wisdom to recognize that animals have emotions similar
to ours.  They choose not to eat creatures who feel pain.

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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