Ten Commandments Of Animal Guardianship 1. When you adopt me my life is likely to last only 15 to 20 years. Please don't forsake me, any separation from you is painful. 2. Please give me time to understand what it is you want from me. Change can be more difficult for me than for you. 3. Please don't be angry with me for a long time, and don't lock me up alone as punishment. You have your human family, your friends, your entertainment and I ONLY HAVE YOU!!! 4. Please trust me and help me to trust you . . . it is crucial for mine as well as your well being. 5. Talk to me . . . even if you think I don't understand your words I understand your voice and love when you speak to me and stroke me. 6. Before you hit me remember that I have teeth and claws and could easily hurt you but I choose not to bite and scratch you because I love you. (Besides, why would I want to come back to you next time I may wander off a little too far and you call me back, then hit me when I do come to you?!?) 7. Be aware, that however you treat me, I LOVE YOU BUT I WILL NEVER FORGET!!! 8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative or bad, ask yourself if maybe something is wrong and their is another reason for my behavior. Perhaps I am sick, hot, old or just plain tired, frustrated and weak. PLEASE TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE ME AND PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE. 9. Please take care of me when I get old and don't abandon me, for you too will grow old. Please notice when I am ill because I need you to take me to the vet for help when I am ill, just as you need to see a doctor. 10. Go with me on the most difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch" or "Do it when I leave" because I need you with me even at the end of my journeys. Please always do what is best for me even if it is unbearable for you to do so because I love you and trust that you will not drop me off to die with strangers once you walk away.