Adopt a homeless friend this holiday season....

Sonnet for the Shelter Beast

by Elizabeth Allen, Author. Poet. Animal Lover. 

In this season of thankfulness, our AHELP animal loving community hopes that you will open your heart and welcome a homeless or relinquished animal family member into your home. As we close November, “Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month”, please consider a tried-and-true companion through some of our favorites: Old Dog Haven, Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, Save our Seniors, Purrfect Pals and Homeward Pet.

Many thanks to published author and AHELPer Elizabeth Allen who wrote this beautiful prose on the plight of homeless animals across their lifespans.


Elizabeth Allen's book Manifesting Mongrel is the captivating story of hospice care for her rescued Chihuahua Juno, pictured here, together in the year before his passing. (Credit: Elizabeth Allen)

~Sonnet for the Shelter Beast ~ excerpt from the upcoming book, All The Peace I Might Find..

In the brightness of the day and the mystic shadows of the night, when all is said, done, right, perfection lands upon the sleeping soul as man no longer reaps nor sows his desires like brightly colored buttons upon the shores of new lands. Within this time and space all the animals that stood in line to leave before it was their time, shuffle back and forth between both lands, silently kissing the forgiven hands of the strangers that stilled their hearts, as the last single breath enclosed around them both. Not like peace. Like karma. There must remain compassion and compassion alone for the souls that leave, those that go onwards to the God of Shelter Animals – before their time. Those that didn’t, couldn’t remain for reasons too torrid, too rude to explain. I for one can only extend understanding and compassion for that reaching hand that held the animal one last time, in comfort and in hope that this would not hurt nor pain and that those who remained would somehow find a home on this plane. And as I hope for no more kills, I can faintly hear a collective agreement, a sigh of compassion upon the celestial hills and in the holy scriptures of all books that proclaim enlightenment is theirs, the written word breathes sorrow and peace into a universal breath that covers the earth, touching all, even if for now it cannot be felt. Even if for now, they are asleep. For until we lift the animal up rightly where it belongs, enlightenment is theirs alone and the leash is around our necks and the story our bone as the muffled cries of promises broken shootout in a cannonball fashion across the bloody terrain of the human heart, informing us kindly, we are no longer alone, nor apart. The union found only in surrender to love as the only path, the only way, cannot be described, try as hard as I may. It is beyond space and time, felt in the breath of surrender by the beast, and in the holy rhyme, that gives birth upon stainless steel that knows not how to comfort but tries and fails, a human crime. And it is undoubtedly within this sliver of time, that life and love reveals itself to us as one and the same. Indivisible. Joy and pain.


Elizabeth Allen is an educator, speaker and writer on the subject of animal hospice, pet loss bereavement and grief. She is a poet and a novelist. She has a background in holistic veterinary medicine, animal nutrition and pet environmentalism. She supports pet owners with end-of-life care and options for their companion animals, and assists them in planning their pet’s transition. “I am a soul friend to all animals, a wordsmith, a truth-seeker, a lover of tea, a bit of a run-on-sentence maniac and a spiritual being lost in the constant unfolding beauty of the human-animal bond.” She is the author of When Love Crosses Over, Manifesting Mongrel, and the upcoming book, All the Peace I Might Find.

Elizabeth is an AHELP community member and volunteer offering pet bereavement counseling from her home of San Diego to our greater Seattle and AHELP Project Facebook communities.

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  • Tara Thomas