Put the Old Dog Down

People who starve cats and let dogs thirst

are guilty of a monstrous raving cruelty.

And yet, to watch them suffer

and not to help them die is just as bad.

Animals, priests tell us, have no souls

so hastening their end does not condemn us

to follow them to hell. We have no qualms

when babies are to die before they live

but scream our protest when the silent few

are eased from purgatory by consent.

Who would be a doctor when the pack

of baying dogs make murderers of those

who care to kill with kindness? Why

make lawyers fat with rectitude

and rich with sorrow’s spoils? Let

the children live and put the old dog down.

It’s time the little puppies had their chance.

First published in Reach Poetry

I am playing Devil’s Advocate here.  I do NOT support the legalisation of assisted dying in the UK and, while I believe that safe, legal abortions should be available in some circumstances, I think too many are performed and the unborn-child is perceived as a thing rather than as a potential human being.  I do think it is ridiculous that a healthy foetus which would be born as a healthy baby should be killed when the born child would be regarded as precious and vulnerable and to be protected at all costs while, for example, a terminally ill adult who is of sound mind has to go to court to ask to be allowed to die or, in some cases, to be allowed to live.


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