The following is a slightly edited copy of a comment I just left on the great Animatch site under Cougar’s profile. Cougar is a purebred Boxer who was handed over to this awesome shelter and for whom they currently need any kind of monetary support as there are lots of fees associated with his ongoing medical care. You can read all the details in his profile, but I’ll just say that Cougar was brought in with an ear infection that had been left for so long that it had spread through his body so that he now needs a SECOND surgery since he was brought in to fix his knee which was badly affected. They don’t know at this point whether he will ever fully recuperate from the ordeal. Unbelievable. The comment thread is worth reading, if only for the whole discussion about whether or not it’s appropriate to blame Cougar’s previous owners, and might also explain why I launched into such a long diatribe about animal activism. Here is the message I posted:
Stories like Cougar’s make me hopping mad, but I think that’s precisely the reason why they need to be told—to remind us that there are too many animals out there being poorly looked after (if at all) and that we humans as a collective—not just animal lovers—have a responsibility towards making their lives at the very least bearable. This is the very same responsibility we have to help people in developing countries achieve decent standards of living. I strongly believe that word of mouth about why neutering and spaying are important are steps in the right direction. But I also think that as long as humanity doesn’t achieve a higher state of consciousness (which though I am hopeful, will probably take a “little while” longer…), there will need to be laws in place to punish those who behave so irresponsibly towards animals so that theses matters will be taken seriously and not endured in silence.
Those who want to be “nice” and “pleasant” and choose to forgive abusive and neglectful owners are doing the victims the same disservice as those who choose to ignore abuse of women and children. Animals in particular don’t have the option of bettering their own lives as we humans do, and we MUST take actions as a society to enforce the decent treatment of animals. The situation as it is currently makes me think of what things were like back in the ‘50’s when alcoholism, smoking and corporal punishment (to name just those) were all taken for granted as things that were acceptable and “normal”, even if not necessarily talked about. I wasn’t around then, but I choose to be vocal about my opinions on controversial matters because it is the only form of activism I can engage in at the moment and I refuse to sit back and stay quiet about situations that could relatively easily be turned around if enough of us choose to say what needs to be said.
To get things to change, you first have to TALK about the real situation without trying to make it any prettier. If it’s ugly and painful or even disgusting, it must be said. Then those who have the energy and stamina to fight the good fight can find the support they need (via petitions and the like) to sway politicians to put policies in place to effect REAL change. This will only happen we enough of us speak up and form large collectives.
Helen, Joanne & Co., [Animatch founder and volunteers] I salute you for not only making these animals a priority in your lives but also for being able to keep your cool with those responsible for the horrible mistreatment of these helpless creatures so that at least they will be brought to shelters like yours instead of being abandoned and left to fend for themselves. I will also put money where my mouth is as soon as my next pay cheque comes in to help poor Courageous Cougar.
I think the Animatch adoption fees are more than reasonable considering some people are willing to dish out THOUSANDS of dollars to “reputable” breeders for the simple privilege of knowing their adoptee is a “purebred”. But then somehow, some of the very same people seem to have no qualms about opening the door and letting puppy wander off when they find he/she is too much trouble to have around. How else can you explain so many purebred dogs finding themselves in shelters? No matter what the dog’s pedigree is, adopting another living being comes with real responsibilities, not the least of which, financial, and the costs shelters face need to be covered by those who benefit from the services provided with such compassion and dedication. I strongly urge those reading this to consider pet insurance. For a reasonable monthly cost, you can plan for those times when your pet will need serious medical intervention, which will inevitably happen if you keep your animal “till death do us part”—of natural causes, I should add. [Because opting to have an animal “put down”—a hypocritical euphemism if there ever was one—just because vet bills might get too high is simply not an acceptable alternative. Imagine if we did that with people!]
This is a long and rambling one, but I felt these things needed to be said. I certainly wouldn’t wish upon the previous owners of Cougar to cross my path because, as nice a person as I can be most of the time, I wouldn’t mind delivering a swift kick in the shins [to start with!] to cruel abusers like that. THAT’s what they are—because neglect is one of the most pernicious forms of abuse—of course that wouldn’t help anything at all, but I do strongly believe that Karma comes back and bites those who’ve disrespected the natural order of things [and that gives me some measure of comfort at least].
I’ve said my peace and stand by every single word herein.
Cougar’s photo by David, Animatch’s volunteer animal photographer.
See lots more fantastic dog photos by David on the site.