Mixed Emotions.

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I need to talk about my love of animals again….shocker. As this blog (hopefully) evolves, I will add more subject matter, but, seems I still have a lot to say about my beloved house pets. Actually, not just mine, but, the idea of pets, in general. The pet care industry makes huge profits every year….this year the estimate is $50 billion. Most of the people I know either have animals, have had at least one pet over the years or, at the very least are nice to mine. Not a single person I know has ever abused or neglected a house pet….and yet, it seems that this is not that rare of an occurrence.
In one of my first posts, I mentioned a dog named  Patrick, who was starved and thrown away. I, like many people, was completely appalled and deeply saddened by his story. Turns out (little did I know), that his story is not all that uncommon, and as disgusting as his story is…it is pretty mild compared to some of the others I have seen since. Patrick’s story changed the way I use Facebook and opened my eyes to things that, while I would rather not see, I simply cannot ignore. Facebook has TONS of pages devoted to rescue groups, shelters, animal abuse, volunteer organizations and just about anything else you can imagine related to animals in need. I subscribe to many of these pages now, and while my heart is broken daily by what I see, I can’t stop looking and doing what I can to help. I have never been much of a preacher, and tend to keep my views to myself and in some ways, this is no different. Though I may post some things on my page related to this issue, I keep the more disturbing ones limited to other animal-related pages, or just with friends who I know are interested. It’s hard, because I want to help…but, I also don’t want to shove this down people’s throats. Some people don’t care, some people don’t want to know…and the truth is, even on some of the animal welfare pages, there are people who can’t handle it. I can’t handle it sometimes. I definitely couldn’t handle it two weeks ago. But, as times goes on, I am able to remember why I started paying attention in the first place. I look at these animals and think to myself that I can’t possibly imagine my own dogs or cats being purposely hurt, cut, burned, hung, dragged, starved, beaten, and, yes, some are even sexually abused *a big WTF here*. The other day, I accidentally stepped on Trixie’s foot and the cry she let out stayed in my head all day. It was awful. I cannot imagine that there are people who intentionally hurt animals, because it makes them laugh, relieves their anger or pent-up sexual frustration….or better yet, because they are “bored”. And yet there are seemingly large numbers of those types of people. I tell you this not to shock you, but, in the hopes that you will give it some thought and, maybe, do something in your own little way. Right now, I am not in the position where I can do anything grand…but, I am in a position where I can do little things. Like…. tell you about it, sponsor a spay for a cat to help population control, donate a few Kongs for shelter dogs.
That is the sad part of this post. I hope it makes you think…and feel like you can do something. Because you can, one dog or cat at a time. If you want to, that is. You may not, and that is fine, too. Just knowing that something exists can help. You just never know where something might lead you. By the way, all of this applies to humans, too. Abuse and neglect of the disabled, children, the elderly all happen way too often, in my opinion. I fight to end those things in my own little way, too. Ask my former boss, Amy, about how I screamed at a negligent Philadelphia DHS worker a few years ago on behalf of a 17 year old boy with no place to call home.
Now for the hopeful part…..when I was little I wanted to be a dog breeder. I always brought stray dogs and cats home. When I was in my 30’s, I had a dog-walking and pet-sitting business. I got out of it for a number of reasons, but, had partners who continue to run it very successfully and have branched out in so many ways that I love to see. This is part of that “you never know where something may lead” thing. It’s cool, I love seeing what they have done. I was involved in creating Baltimore City’s first dog park, I sat briefly on a committee that was involved in deciding the fate of “vicious dogs”. What I have found is that there are numerous directions life can lead you. For me, though, the most significant way in which I have been involved in animal welfare is in my own home. I ensure their safety, physical and mental health and try to give as much unconditional love as I can. Of course, the animals are better at this than me: it is their specialty. So, where might all this lead? I have no idea. But, one of the things that breaks my heart the most is seeing elderly dogs placed in shelters. Now, having lived with Sugar and her “issues” as she declined, I can tell you, living with an elderly dog is not easy. But, I cannot imagine putting her in a shelter at the end of her life to die alone. So, one of the things I am thinking of is starting some kind of rescue or “sanctuary” for these dogs, in which they get to spend the end of their lives comfortably and surrounded by love. I am not sure of where to begin to do this. But, what I am sure of is that there is a need. The knowledge can’t be undone…and the need can only be undone with action.
So,what about those mixed emotions? Well, first, it is the title of a Stones song…and I am on a Stones kick, for obvious reasons. But, beyond that, where animals are concerned, I truly have them. A mixture of sadness for those in need and hope for changing the future for some.
Who knows where life will lead? I certainly don’t…but, I am hopeful that it leads me closer to creating happier lives for animals….one dog or cat at a time.

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2 responses »

  1. I do recall the neglegent DHS worker…..unfortunately that happens a little too often too. I think your next job should be animal related, maybe open a shelter. Speaking of abuse, you would be horrified if I told you about a client Steve has right now who has a history of unthinkable abuse but I will not give you the details. It is a sick world we live in.

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