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Tim Geen, Animal Cruelty Investigator for the Tulsa SPCA, is retiring at the end of December. When I think of Tim and the impact he has made on the dogs, cats, and humans in Tulsa over the past 12 years, I am overcome with gratitude. Many of us say we love animals and would do anything for them; Tim not only talked the talk, he walked the walk. He worked tirelessly to build relationships with those who needed us most and met them where they were. Rather than judgment and condemnation, he offered assistance and compassion. Everyone in the animal welfare community knows Tim as a champion for all dogs and cats who cannot defend themselves. There is a cornerstone brick outside our shelter with a proverb etched in it that states, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beasts.” Tim has embodied this in all he does. Back in 1971, Tim wrote a touching poem which beautifully sums up why he dedicated much of his career to animal welfare. It was published then, and it is our privilege to publish it below once more. Happy Retirement, Tim! From all of us at Tulsa SPCA, and the thousands of you have impacted, thank you.
–Mindy Tiner, CEO
“I remember bringing you home. You were so very small with your tiny paws and soft fur. You bounced around the room with eyes flashing and ears flopping. Once in a while you’d let out a little bark just to let me know this was your territory. You were beautiful to me. Making a mess of the house became your passion, and when I scolded you, you just put your head down and looked at me with those innocent eyes, as if to say, “I’m sorry and I’ll try to do better.” As you got older you protected me by looking out the window and barking at everything going by. When I had a tough day at work you would be waiting for me with your tail wagging just to say, “welcome home, I missed you.” You never had a bad day and I could always count on you to be there for me. You were my strength. When I sat down to read or watch TV, you would hop on my lap looking for attention. You never asked for anything more than to have me pat your head so you could fall asleep resting your head on my leg. Sometimes I would always smile holding you. As you got older you moved around more slowly. Then one day old age finally took its toll, and you could no longer stand on those old, shaky legs. You were lying so still when I knelt beside you to hug you and try to make you young again. You looked at me as if to say you were tired and after all these years of asking for nothing, you had to ask me for one last favor. I seemed to lose all my strength, then, and I knew what you were asking. With tears I could not hold back, I drove you for the last time to the doctors. At the animal hospital I held you so gently as skilled hands would now grant you your wish. Strangely, you had the strength to look at me and lick my hand as if to say, “my fate was ever safest with you and thank you for taking care of me all my life.” I could only think, “no, little one, thank you for taking care of me.”
**A version of this blog is soon to be published in the Tulsa World. Stay tuned to our social media and to your local paper for more!