"God help the outcasts,
Show them the mercy
they don't find on earth;
God help my people,
we look to you still;
God help the outcasts,
or nobody will." 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame,

Lakeshore LouieAs I sat serenely at the deserted lakeshore
Eagerly listening to nature's sunrise serenade
I soon felt something gently brush up against me
Under the tall tree's thick early morning shade

I looked down and soon saw a truly forlorn creature
It was emaciated and had extremely sad haunted eyes
Its fur was muddy dirty flea-riddled and badly matted
And I soon heard its very plaintive heart-wrenching cries

It was a small brown tiger-striped cat
Who truly looked to be in need of a good friend
So I gingerly picked it up and carried it to my truck
As it desperately clung to my side without end

I soon wrapped this poor starving creature
In a thick blanket that I keep inside my truck
And it slowly began purring somewhat contentedly
Believing it had finally found some compassion and luck

As I drove this extremely frightened waif to my vet's office
I sensed its anguish and began talking to it soothingly
I also told my new friend and travelling companion
That I had decided to name him Lakeshore Louie

My veterinarian carefully examined this forlorn furry creature
And told me that Louie had been on his own for a very long time
He had been a house pet and then obviously abandoned by the lake
Which we both knew was a far too frequent and hideous human crime

I don't know if I'll end up keeping my new pal Lakeshore Louie
But if I don't keep him I have pledged to find him a loving new home
I believe that we all have a duty to help out our neighbours whenever we can
Especially those neighbours who are homeless starving and in this world so alone

Very sadly to me, both spring and summer, traditional moving times for most people, find many re-locating humans callously 'dumping' thousands of their once cherished pets, in the false believe that they can now take care of themselves.

They dump them in forest preserves, by lakeshores, on America's highways and back roads, near a neighbour’s residence that has pets, and they even leave them in empty homes and apartments - to fend for themselves.  These humans are much too busy to even have the decency to drop them off at a local animal shelter - or perhaps, much too embarrassed.

And many of these once pampered pets don't have either the hunting skills or the cunning to survive very long on their own.

My cat, Gabby, was found in a vacant hi-rise apartment - with no food or water.

My cat, Monty, was dumped at a restaurant parking lot - probably after his owners enjoyed their last meal in town, before moving on - without him.

My tiny dog, Blanca, was left in a big city alley.

My giant mutt, Turbo, was found aimlessly wandering a desolate desert highway.

And my cat, Patty, about to give birth, was tossed into a dumpster behind a factory.

Not very long ago, I stopped at a tollbooth on the highway, and the toll collector asked me if I wanted a puppy - a moving van had just come by, and someone inside it had hideously tossed a box containing six German shepherd pups onto the pavement before speeding away.  This compassionate woman had rushed out in heavy traffic to scoop them up before they were crushed.

Every spring and summer, America's animal shelters are over-flowing with these woefully abandoned creatures - these truly innocent, frightened, modern day outcasts - and the majority of them will be sadly euthanized.

Perhaps you can find it in your heart to adopt one of them.

And please help any of your homeless neighbours in need - both the human, and the nonhuman kind.

"I don't know if you can hear me,
Or if you're even there;
I don't know if you would listen
To a lonely gypsy's prayer;
Yes, I know I'm just an outcast,
I shouldn't speak to you;
But, still, I see your face, and I wonder,
Were you once an outcast, too?"

©2005, Ed Kostro

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