Looking at the human-animal relationship, from the perspective of the animal.
This is a guest post from Virginia Ingram. Virginia is becoming more involved in the animal rescue movement. As such, she knows only too well how vital it is to give so many precious animals a second chance.
In a very real sense we, as in mankind, owe our humanity to dogs and other animals. As I wrote here in the essay What is love?
“But understanding animals and empathizing with them also triggered other changes in humanity’s evolution, Shipman said.
All those things allow people to live with people. Once people have domesticated animals, they start to live in stable groups. They have fields, crops and more permanent dwellings.”
We owe so much!
So with that in mind, here is Virginia’s guest post.
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Recently I started to question the time I spend on the internet reading articles, essays and recommendations of books about all things concerned with animals. I receive animal stories from friends, acquaintances and business associates from all corners of the globe. I love to get them because, well….. hey, I really enjoy them!
After I read them I forward them to others who I think will also enjoy them. They make me feel warm and fuzzy. They are enlightening, poignant, humorous, inspiring and sometimes heart-rending. I find I cannot ignore any cute email containing animal pictures even though I may have already seen it a dozen times before. Give me a story about a dog who ate a popsicle and to me ‘that’s entertainment’ as they say. We human beings love to feel moved by great stories and these communications are full of it. I am such a sap when it comes to animal stories; so many of us are.
But here is the rub. What do the animals get out of it?
We chuckle and get our jollies from these incredible beings from a distance on the World Wide Web but the fact of the matter is that so many of these wonderful creatures end up unwanted, uncared for or even starved and beaten in shelters across the world.
What gives? Why is there such a disconnect? How can we love animals from a distance and not be concerned with the abuses that go on in our own environment?
We know that there are those who don’t understand that animals have feelings and emotions, that they experience deep loss and sadness as well as happiness and joy. What can we do raise to the consciousness of human beings who don’t get it?
I think it involves sticking our collective necks out. I think that we need to be ready to risk some things. It might involve changing or damaging a relationship with someone who is acting in irresponsible ways towards animals. We need to be ready to risk it.
Do you see it on your own street? Maybe it’s a neighbor who leaves their dog on a chain in the yard on weekends regardless of weather or exposure to other animals. Maybe it’s the guy next door who ‘forgets’ to feed his animal.
Let’s stand up for these animals who have no voice. Let’s be advocates for these amazing creatures who cannot be their own advocate. Let’s hold humans accountable. Let’s risk a friendship and say something, make that difficult phone call on behalf of a animal. Let’s talk to people about animal issues and problems. Let’s try to change the weak laws that do not properly address animal cruelty. Let’s summon our courage and do the unpopular things which will enhance the quality of life for these precious beings.
Can you imagine how animals feel when they have been turned over to an animal shelter by the person whom they loved more than themselves? Trust me, the sense of abandonment and fear, the bewilderment in their eye is excruciating to observe. I have seen it not from the distance of my computer but in person. Let’s DO something to change all this. It’s time to get involved.
By all means keep the cute emails going but for every minute we spend on the internet, reading the books and enjoying the emails let’s put the same amount of time into getting something done to improve the lives of animals. Stand up, walk out the door, volunteer or donate money. We can help the suffering. We can make a difference.
Powerful words indeed. Don’t know about you but I read a strength of feeling that was very moving. A clear message that we must never turn the head, never just ‘tut tut’ but do something. Even if only befriending a stray animal. Because one might argue that even that feral dog without a home is demonstrating something all of us on this green planet need to understand; living a sustainable life!
Finally, living proof of what we can give an animal when we care and love it. The dog in the picture below is Loopy, a dog that Jean rescued in Mexico many years ago. She was so badly hurt by humans that it took Jean six months before Loopy would let Jean touch and hug her.
When I came on the scene, my gender was against me. It took me twelve months before Loopy trusted me. Now she will come to me and let me place my face against hers in the most loving, caring embrace that one can imagine.
So why the fearful look on Loopy’s face as she turns away from the camera? Somehow the camera is reminding Loopy of some sort of weapon that was used to beat her!
As Virginia so lovingly wrote, “We can help the suffering. We can make a difference.“