A woman has shared the touching poem that she received alongside her rescue dog’s paperwork after adopting her from the shelter.
In July, Hope Ervin, 21, from Illinois, and her boyfriend, adopted a Shiba Inu named Sylvie from Paws Jackson, an animal shelter in Jacksonville, Illinois.
Last month, when Ervin took Sylvie to work, she found a poem about adopted pets and their baggage included with the dog’s paperwork from the shelter, which she later shared on Facebook.
“I took Sylvie to work with me today. I opened up the envelope that came with her from the shelter that had her vaccination records in it. This poem was inside. Made me cry like a big baby. This really touches my heart because she was abandoned several times, and was a part of a puppy mill,” Ervin captioned a photo of the poem written by Evelyn Colbath in 1995 and titled “Baggage”.
In the poem, written from the perspective of a newly adopted pet, Colbath describes the animal’s happiness at finding a home, but also its baggage, loneliness, heartache and loss from being in a shelter and given up by previous owners.
“I loved them, the others, the ones who left me, But I wasn’t good enough; for they didn’t want me. Will you add to my baggage? Will you help me unpack? Or will you just look at my things and take me right back?” the poem reads in part. “Do you have time to help me unpack? To put away my baggage; to never repack?
“I pray that you do; I’m so tired, you see. But I come with baggage; will you still want me?”
On Facebook, the poem and Sylvie’s story has touched Ervin’s followers, with many praising her for rescuing the dog.
“Omg my heart. I’m so glad you guys got her and finally gave her such a good home,” one person commented, while another said: “Tears of joy for this precious girl who can finally feel safe and loved. Thanks for sharing this incredible poem, which should be posted in every shelter in the nation. Bless you for giving her the life and love that all animals hope to have one day. They don’t ask to be born.”
Someone else added: “Great poem. Adoption is the best way to get a pet.”
Speaking to Fox News, Ervin said that the part of the poem that resonated with her most was the portion where the animal asks “Will you still want me?” as she said the line made her cry considering Sylvie’s difficult early years being moved around various shelters.
“The last part, where it says ‘Will you still want me?’ that really made me cry,” she said. “Because [Sylvie] has been moved around so much in her life and all she really knew was a crate.”
As for the poem’s origin, Lisa Jackson, one of the shelter’s co-founders, told the outlet that they include the poem in the paperwork of every dog that is adopted.
According to Jackson, the shelter has been doing the sweet gesture since its inception in honour of a woman who helped launch Paws Jackson, and plans to continue with every animal adopted.
“When Paws started, she found that poem and one of her requests was that we always put one of those in every adoption envelope,” Jackson said. “And that was 10 years ago.
“It’ll be in every envelope for as long as Paws exists.”