You are the reason rescues exist, why thousands of dogs die everyday in shelters, homeless and unwanted.
You are the backyard breeder or puppy miller, who looks at a dog and sees dollar signs, who cares nothing for the inevitable decline in the dog's health after having litter upon litter of puppies, nor for the countless dogs who will now die in shelters because the puppies you breed have taken up their homes.
You are the supporter of these backyard breeders and puppy mills, willing to pay $500 or more for a puppy rather than $90 for a rescued dog, because having a pedigree to show off to friends is more important than saving the life of a true and loyal companion.
You are the one who trains dogs to fight, whether for sport or protection, thus abusing your dog and bringing the call for the extermination of an entire breed of perfectly wonderful dogs.
You are the one who thinks nothing of putting your dog to sleep because it doesn't go with the furniture, or it urinates on the carpet, while at the same time balking at the thought of spanking an unruly child.
You are the one who dumps your dog at the shelter when you move, because you're too lazy to find pet-friendly housing.
You are the one who keeps your dog tied up outside, only bothering to provide the occasional bowls of food and water and possibly a tree for shade, because after all, it is just a dog, right?
To the 90 year old woman in the nursing home, abandoned by her family, yearning for companionship, stroking the fur of a new friend with the words "Therapy Dog" on its side, it's not just a dog.
To the young child who has become literate by reading aloud to a dog in the classroom, it's not just a dog.
To the person with skin cancer who had it detected by a dog when the doctors couldn't, it's not just a dog.
To the blind man who now can see through his companion, it's not just a dog.
To anyone who has been in bed, sick with the flu, and has felt the warmth of that cold nose as he curls up between your legs to give you comfort, it's not just a dog.
To anyone who comes home from a hard day of work to be greeted by someone who's so happy to see you they can't stop wiggling, it's not just a dog.
To anyone who has cried at Old Yeller, because they know what it's like to lose their best friend, to know that their friend is suffering and though it may be hard, the best thing to do is to help them go peacefully, it's not just a dog.
When you say, "It's just a dog," you really mean, "Why should I care about it? Dogs aren't important. They're useless. They don't give anything to us, so why should I give them anything in return? Why do I have to care about their feelings? They don't matter in the grand scheme of things. It's just a dog."
To everyone who says, "It's just a dog," I just have this to say to you:
You're just a human.