'I became your best friend . . . how could you?'
A letter 'written' by an abandoned dog to his owner before being put down has been sent to SPCA members as part of the campaign to stop pets being left.
The piece, entitled How could you? by American writer Jim Willis, was e-mailed to about 2,000 SPCA members last week.
Written from the dog's perspective, it says: 'When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh . . . I became your best friend.'
However, the owner eventually loses his affection for the dog, and takes it to a vet to be put down.
'She [the vet] placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry . . . she expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured 'how could you'?
'Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said, 'I'm so sorry'.'
Dr Margaret Bradley, the SPCA's chief veterinary surgeon, told a similar tale, from real life. She said she always apologised to animals on the operating table before putting them down.
'I look into their eyes and say 'I'm sorry' and tell them I do not want to do it and I do it just because we do not have any other option,' she said.